The Clinton-Gore Administration has supported policies that help parents balance their responsibilities at home and at work, provide teens with greater educational opportunities, engage young people in civic action, and make communities safer and stronger. The Administration's FY 2001 budget and legislative priorities include a wide range of new initiatives for teens and their families.
I. HELPING PARENTS BALANCE THEIR RESPONSIBILITES AT WORK WITH THEIR RESPONSIBILITIES TO THEIR TEENS
Parental Involvement In Schools Pays Off, but Parents need Support from Employers to Stay Involved. The President has called on Congress to allow eligible workers under the Family and Medical Leave Act to take up to 24 hours of additional leave each year to meet certain family obligations, such as participating in school activities, including parent-teacher conferences.
Today More Than Ever, Working Families Struggle with Child Care or After-School Opportunities for their Children and Teenagers.
Helping Over 8 Million Families Pay Child Care Expenses. The Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit provides tax relief to those who, in order to work, pay for the care of a child under 13 or for a disabled dependent or spouse. The President's proposals, which cost $30 billion over 10 years, broaden this tax relief and will help over 8 million families pay their child care expenses.
Universal After-School Opportunities for Children and Teenagers Most In Need. The President's budget includes $1 billion to expand after-school and summer school for students across the nation -- more than doubling the $453 million enacted last year, and representing the largest expansion ever proposed. With this increase, the program can provide every child in every failing school with the chance to participate in quality extended learning programs and work toward higher academic standards. Studies have shown that extended learning programs such as after-school and summer school help improve student achievement in reading and math, as well as increase student safety and reduce juvenile crime. Under the President's proposal, the number of children served will nearly triple, from 850,000 to 2.5 million children.
II. GIVING PARENTS THE TOOLS THEY NEED TO PROTECT THEIR CHILDREN AND TEENAGERS IN THE NEW MEDIA AGE
Parents Need Good Information to Help Monitor and Protect their Children's Usage of Media. The Clinton-Gore Administration has worked with leaders from the entertainment and media industry to ensure support for the creation of a "family friendly" Internet; help parents control what comes into their living room with the V-Chip; and encourage more educational television. With leadership from the First Lady, the President is calling on leaders in the media and entertainment industry to take the next step and come together to adopt a voluntary uniform ratings system. Such a system will give parents easy to understand, uniform information that will enable them to monitor their children's media usage more effectively.
III. BUILDING STRONG SCHOOLS FOR AMERICA'S TEENS
Modernizing Our Schools. At least 2,400 new public schools will be needed nationwide by 2003 to accommodate rising enrollments and relieve overcrowding. This year, the Administration has proposed federal tax credits to pay the interest on nearly $25 billion in state and local bonds to modernize and rebuild up to 6,000 public schools that are overcrowded, out-of-date, and unsafe. In addition, the budget includes a new $1.3 billion school urgent/emergency renovation loan and grant proposal which would support emergency repairs on 5,000 public schools each year for the next five years.
Small, Safe and Successful High Schools. Research shows that smaller high schools can boost academic achievement and extracurricular involvement and lead to fewer discipline problems. The President's budget will include $120 million for a Small Schools Initiative to reinvent high schools on a smaller scale and make them more responsive to student needs. School districts could use this money to create small schools or break up existing large schools into smaller learning communities. School districts receiving grants would be expected to demonstrate increases in student achievement, graduation rates, the number of students pursuing postsecondary options, and decreases in classroom disruptions and violence.
Encouraging Students to Stay in School and Succeed in College. GEAR-UP is a nationwide initiative to encourage disadvantaged young people to have high expectations, stay in school, study hard, and take the right courses to go to and succeed in college. GEAR UP is funded at $200 million in FY 2000, enough to provide services to over 750,000 students. The FY 2001 budget provides a 62.5 percent increase to $325 million, enough to provide services to 1.4 million students. The TRIO programs seek to motivate and prepare students to go to and stay in college. The FY 2001 budget provides $725 million for TRIO, an increase of $80 million to help provide assistance to over 760,000 students, 37,000 more than in 2000.
IV. ENGAGING TEENS IN COMMUNITY SERVICE
Keeping AmeriCorps on Track for 100,000 Members a Year. With a $73 million increase, AmeriCorps will be able to grow to 100,000 new members a year over the next four years. Since the launch of AmeriCorps five years ago, more than 150,000 Americans have served on the front lines in hard-pressed neighborhoods -- tutoring in schools, responding to natural disasters, helping to make our streets safer, building homes, and more. In fact, more Americans have served in AmeriCorps in the last five years than have served in the entire history of the Peace Corps.
Providing Community Coaches. For the first time, the Corporation for National Service will award $5 million in grants to place a "community coach" in nearly 1,000 schools. Community Coaches -- AmeriCorps members, teachers, and counselors -- can help students make the most of their community service and can act as a vital link between the school, the business sector, and the local community. This initiative is modeled after the Community Coaches program pioneered by the national youth leadership non-profit organization "Do Something." "Do Something" is already supporting community coaches in more than 100 schools in 75 communities across the country.
Rewarding Youth Service with Empowerment Grants. The budget also includes $3 million for new Youth Empowerment Grants, competitive fellowships that reward young social entrepreneurs dedicated to solving problems in their communities. The Corporation for National Service will award the grants to community-based organizations that sponsor young people who have designed and developed their own projects. These will include efforts to prevent youth violence, programs to improve civic participation, and initiatives that engage older students in tutoring and mentoring.
Supporting America's Promise: The Alliance for Youth. The budget will include $7.5 million for this national crusade to help all children grow into healthy, strong, and productive adults. America's Promise focuses on five promises for every child: (1) an ongoing relationship with a caring adult -- parent, mentor, tutor or coach; (2) a safe place with structured activities during non-school hours; (3) a healthy start; (4) a marketable skill through effective education; and (5) an opportunity to give back through service.
V. HELPING AMERICA'S MOST VULNERABLE TEENS
Youth Opportunity Grants, Job Training, and Summer Jobs. Youth Opportunity Grants provide comprehensive employment and training assistance to all out-of-school young people in high poverty areas. The President's FY2001 budget provides a 50 percent increase in funding to $375 million, enough to serve an additional 25,000 youth in high poverty areas for a total of 75,000 youth served per year. In addition, the FY2001 budget provides a $25 million increase, to the Youth Training Formula Grants, enough to provide job training and summer job opportunities to nearly 600,000 disadvantaged young people.
Preventing Youth Violence. Over the past year, the country has been traumatized by a spate of school shootings. The President has taken leadership to address the issue of preventing youth violence by establishing a National Campaign against Youth Violence and establishing the White House Council on Youth Violence to coordinate federal efforts. To help communities throughout the country promote a coordinated, comprehensive response to school safety, the President also launched a Safe Schools/Healthy Students initiative. It empowers parents, principals, police, and mental health providers to collaborate on local solutions. An increase of more than $100 million in the initiative will invest a total of $247 million in FY 2001 to help communities throughout the country promote a coordinated, comprehensive response to school and youth violence.
New Opportunities for High School Dropouts. The Youthbuild program, is targeted to 16-24 year old high school dropouts, and provides disadvantaged young adults with education and employment skills through rehabilitating and building housing for low-income and homeless people. The program also helps to expand the supply of housing in these categories. Funded at $42.5 million, the Youthbuild programs provides opportunities for approximately 2,000 trainees in 2000. The FY2001 increases funding by 76 percent to $75 million, enough to serve approximately 3,330 trainees.
Helping to Prevent Teen Pregnancy and Give Teen Mothers a Chance to Succeed. The FY 2001 budget proposes $25 million to support adult-supervised and supportive living arrangements, often called second chance homes, for unmarried teen parents and their children who cannot live at home or with other relatives, including services provided by community and faith-based organizations. This new initiative will be latest of the Administration's efforts to break the cycle of dependency and reduce teen pregnancy, which have resulted in the lowest teen pregnancy rates on record and an 18 percent decline in teen birth rates from 1991 to 1998.
Responsible Reintegration for Young Offenders. The FY 2001 President's Budget includes a new $75 million initiative in the Department of Labor to help young offenders under age 35 to successfully reintegrate into the mainstream society. Competitive grants will be made to partnerships between the criminal justice system and local workforce investment systems. This effort will be operated in conjunction with a $60 million initiative at the Department of Justice that focuses on community safety and the supervision of ex-offenders through "reentry partnerships" and "reentry courts." The Department of Health and Human Services will also target $10 million in targeted capacity expansion grants for substance abuse and mental health services to complement these efforts.
VI. PROMOTING THE HEALTH AND WELL-BEING OF AMERICA'S TEENS
Providing Access to Health Insurance for Children and Teenagers. The President's budget would accelerate enrollment of uninsured children and teenagers eligible for Medicaid and the State Children's Health Insurance Program (S-CHIP) by $5.5 billion over 10 years, allowing for an additional 400,000 uninsured children to be covered. The S-CHIP helps children in families with income too high to be eligible for Medicaid but too low to afford private insurance. Enrollment in S-CHIP doubled to 2 million children in 1999. However, despite this encouraging trend, millions of children remain eligible but unenrolled in both S-CHIP and Medicaid. The Administration's budget includes initiatives that would give states needed tools to increase coverage by:
- Allowing School Lunch Programs to Share Information with Medicaid ($345 million over 10 years). Since 60 percent of uninsured children are in the school lunch program, sharing eligibility information can efficiently help outreach efforts.
- Expanding Sites Authorized to Enroll Children in S-CHIP and Medicaid ($1.2 billion over 10 years). This includes schools, child care resource and referral centers, homeless programs, and other sites.
- Requiring States to Make their Medicaid and S-CHIP Enrollment Equally Simple ($4.0 billion over 10 years). Most states have carried over their S-CHIP simplification strategies like eliminating assets tests and using mail-in applications into the Medicaid program. This proposal would have all states do so to make enrollment easier for both programs.