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April 23, 1998: Affordable, Safe, High-Quality Child Care

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For any American who by choice or by necessity becomes a working parent, child care is a concern -- available, affordable, safe, high-quality child care. For five years I have committed my administration to that goal. We are making substantial strides toward achieving it. But we must move further, and push harder, to build a strong and healthy America in the 21st century.

- President Bill Clinton
April 23, 1998

Today, President Clinton calls on Congress to take action to make child care better, safer, and more affordable for America's working families. In a Rose Garden ceremony, the President releases two reports highlighting private sector efforts to provide child care assistance to workers. These reports show that providing child care is good for workers, good for businesses, and good for the economy.

More than ever, America's parents are working: three out of five mothers with children under age six work outside the home. Yet a recent study found that only one percent of revenues for child care and early education come from the private sector.

Investing In Child Care -- Good Business Sense. At the White House Conference on Child Care last October, President Clinton asked Secretary Rubin to convene a group of business and labor leaders to look at child care problems facing working parents and to identify best practices in the private sector and in public-private partnerships. Today, the Treasury Working Group on Child Care releases a new report, Investing in Child Care, that finds:

  • Child care problems can reduce productivity and profits. The Working Group report finds that businesses benefit from providing child care assistance -- through increased productivity, lower turnover, better recruitment, reduced absenteeism, and improved morale.
Increasing Private Sector Involvement. Today, the Department of Labor releases a new report, Meeting the Needs of Today's Workforce: Child Care Best Practices, which examines best practices initiated by businesses, government agencies, unions, not-for-profits, and business/community partnerships to meet the demands of employees who are also parents. The key finding of the report is that, in today's global economy, providing child care and other family-friendly policies helps companies recruit and retain the best workforce for the future. The President also announces a new commitment by the Department of Labor to serve as a clearinghouse for businesses interested in child care, and to set up a business-to-business mentoring program on child care.

Calling For Congressional Action. Millions of Americans, struggling to be both good parents and good workers, rely on child care and after-school programs for part of each day. As part of his balanced budget request, the President called for significant new investments in child care -- to help working families pay for child care, build a good supply of after-school programs, improve the safety and quality of care, and promote early learning. To encourage more private sector investment in child care, the President has proposed a new tax credit for businesses that offer child care services to their employees. Today, the President calls on Congress to put aside partisan differences and take action on child care this year.

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