The Clinton Presidency:|
Strengthening American Families
In 1992, the economy was stagnant. Middle class families were working
harder for less money. Unemployment reached 7.5 percent, the highest
level in 8 years, with record layoffs doubling or tripling unemployment
rates in many communities. Family wages lost ground to inflation
between 1988-92, yet the federal government failed to move to create
jobs, raise wages, and put America back to work. New jobs were being
created at the slowest rate in decades. Because losing a job meant
losing the family's health insurance, middle class families could lose
their savings, their homes or become trapped in a broken welfare system
trying to cover health costs.
Moving Families from Welfare to Work
|THEN:||Families became trapped in a broken welfare system.
In 1992 a broken welfare system made it virtually impossible
to move from welfare back to work, trapping families in a cycle of
dependency. There were 13.6 million people on welfare when
President Clinton came to office -- 5.5 percent of the population.
Just seven percent of those on welfare were working. And the
federal government was doing little to encourage parental
responsibility. For example, only $8 billion in child support was
collected through federal and state efforts, and teen birth rates
were increasing dramatically.|
|NOW:|| More families than ever move from welfare to work.
The landmark welfare reform signed by President Clinton in
1996 has transformed the welfare system to one that promotes work
and responsibility, while protecting children.|
Welfare to Work is Helping Americans Build Better Lives
- Under the Clinton-Gore Administration, the welfare rolls have
been cut by nearly 60 percent to the lowest level since 1968,
dropping to 5.8 million people or 2.1 percent of the
population. Today, most recipients are expected to work,
millions of parents have left welfare for jobs, and a record
33 percent of current welfare recipients are now working --
five times as many as in 1992.
- The President launched The Welfare to Work Partnership to
lead the private sector effort to hire people from the
welfare rolls. Now over 20,000 businesses strong, the
Partnership has helped an estimated 1.1 million welfare
recipients move to employment.
- Under Vice President Gore's leadership, the Administration
has also done its fair share, hiring nearly 50,000 welfare
recipients since March 1997 and fostering partnerships with
community and faith-based organizations that help families
move from welfare to work and succeed on the job.
- The Administration has put in place tough child support
enforcement measures to hold absent parents accountable,
while helping low income fathers go to work and meet their
responsibilities and federal and state child support
collections doubled to nearly $16 billion in 1999.
- To help families make the transition from welfare to work and
support low-income working families, the Clinton-Gore
Administration provided nearly 200,000 new housing vouchers,
helped families meet their nutritional needs, improved
transportation options through grants to communities and made
it easier for families to own a reliable car without losing
food stamps, and invested in child care.
"I have made a better life for my girls and myself. Just because a
person was on welfare, doesn't mean that they can't get out and work.
They just need a chance and because of the President's leadership on
this issue, I'm living proof that it can be done."
The Welfare to Work Partnership is Mobilizing the Private Sector to
Provide Job Opportunities for Welfare Recipients
- Rhonda Costa, Salomon Smith Barney, New York, New York. Rhonda
Costa didn't dream much when she was on welfare. She spent her days
trying to pay her bills with a $280 a month welfare check and her nights
shielding her two daughters from stray gunfire in a one-bedroom
apartment. Rhonda decided to change her life after her oldest daughter
told Rhonda to get up and do something with her life. She enrolled with
Wildcat Service Corporation, a New York service provider that trains
welfare recipients for jobs. After a 16-week training course, Rhonda
was hired by Salomon Smith Barney, and through a promotion has been an
office manager for two years and has an assistant of her own. Through
Salomon Smith Barney's tuition reimbursement program, Rhonda is taking a
class at Borough of Manhattan Community College for her business
"As one of the founding members of the Welfare to Work Partnership, I
knew welfare reform was not going to work unless there were jobs in the
private sector open to people leaving welfare. I also knew that United
needed to set an example, so we set a goal of hiring 2,000 people from
welfare by 2000. Our company has now exceeded that goal, because the
President understood how to encourage, cajole, and continually challenge
the private sector to step up to the plate and do their part. Through
the Welfare to Work Partnership, I believe the President achieved the
single most comprehensive mobilization of the private sector in
peacetime -- over 20,000 companies have now hired over 1 million people
who are leaving welfare and taking the first step toward the American
Promoting Responsible Fatherhood
- Gerald Greenwald, Chairman Emeritus, United Airlines and Chairman of
the Board, The Welfare to Work Partnership. United Airlines is one of
the five founding companies of the Welfare to Work Partnership. United
has implemented a volunteer mentoring program with current United
employees that help with workplace questions and offer encouragement.
This strategy has contributed to the company's success in hiring welfare
to work employees, nearly doubling retention rates, and enhancing morale
and creating a better working environment for all United employees.
"With the help of this [fatherhood] program I am proud to say that I am
on my way to a rewarding career in electronics technology and computer
science, and am again paying my child support regularly. I know that
Ricardo is proud of me, and I am glad that I can be a good role model
for him... I want to thank the President for supporting fathers and
programs for fathers like the one I am involved in."
Carlos Rosas, St. Paul, Minnesota. Carlos Rosas enrolled in a
fathers' employment and training program operated by the Ramsey County
Child Support office in October 1996 when he was not earning enough
money to keep up with his child support obligation for his son, Ricardo.
Carlos worked hard to upgrade his skills and increase his earning power
so he could meet his child support responsibilities, save money to send
Ricardo to college, and improve his own future. In May 1999, Carlos
graduated from St. Paul Technical College and immediately landed a job
as an electronics technician. In July 2000, Carlos was hired by Check
Technology Corporation as a Systems Technician.
Helping American Workers with Transportation
"Because of my new, reliable car, I now will be able to get to and
maintain a full-time job...I know that this car will be very helpful in
reaching my goal of leaving public assistance and supporting my family
on my own... I am glad the President understands how important it is for
people like me to have reliable transportation as they are working to
support their families."
Helping Families Succeed on the Job And At Home
- Michael Alexander, of Westfield, New York. Michael is a 25-year-old
single father of two. He lives in an area with very limited public
transportation and since he did not own a car, it had been very
difficult for him to maintain steady employment. Through the help of a
federally-funded, county run program, EARNA CAR, he attended classes
about car maintenance, helped repair a donated car, worked out a
manageable loan payment with the help of a local bank, and was able to
purchase a used vehicle. Since he bought the car, Mr. Alexander has
been able to secure full-time employment and moved from welfare to work.
|NOW:|| Families receive help making ends meet and caring for their
President Clinton has kept his promise to make it easier for
families that work hard and play by the rules to make ends meet and
care for their children.|
Family And Medical Leave Act Helps Working Parents Succeed at Home
- President Clinton signed the Family and Medical Leave Act in
1993 -- the first law he signed as President. Today, more
than 20 million Americans have taken unpaid leave to care for
a newborn child or sick family member.
- To help hard-pressed working families, President Clinton
passed a $500 per child tax credit, a $1 per hour increase in
the minimum wage, and provided tax cuts for 15 million
working families by expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit,
which provides the average family receiving the EITC with
$1,000 per year.
- The Clinton-Gore Administration has significantly expanded
child care opportunities for working families. They have
more than doubled funding for federal child care, which will
provides assistance to 2.2 million families next year. The
welfare reform law signed by President Clinton provided an
additional $4 billion over six years, more than had ever been
spent before, in child care assistance to families moving
from welfare to work and other low-income families. The
Administration has also provided after-school opportunities
to approximately 850,000 children so that more parents know
that their children are in safe learning environment during
the after-school hours, and this year's budget agreement will
expand after-school programs to serve 1.3 million children.
President Clinton and Vice President Gore have nearly doubled
funding for the Head Start program, expanded the program to
more than 160,000 additional children, enacted critical
quality improvements, and created the Early Start program
targeted to development of younger children. In 2001, Head
Start will serve approximately 935,000 children.
- The President fought for and signed new legislation giving
parents new tools to protect their children from media
violence by requiring the installation of anti-violence
screening chips (V-chips) in all new televisions. The
President also worked with the entertainment industry to
create a new ratings system for television programs and the
computer industry to establish ratings for video games.
- The Clinton-Gore Administration also took on the tobacco
industry by developing the first-ever plan to protect our
children from tobacco, and calling on Congress to affirm the
FDA's authority to implement this plan.
- President Clinton signed the Foster Care Independence Act.
This law is designed to help the 20,000 young people who
leave foster care each year when they reach age 18 without an
adoptive family or other guardian. It ensures that these
young people will get the tools they need to make the most of
their lives by providing them better educational
opportunities, access to health care, training, housing
assistance, counseling, and other services.
"There are no precise words to describe what the FMLA meant to our
family . . . Without this law, our family could never have made the
precious memories that we now hold so dear."
-- Kenny Weaver, Father. In 1993, Mr. Weaver learned that a rare,
incurable cancer afflicting his 11-year-old daughter, Melissa, was
worsening. At Melissa's doctor's urging, he immediately asked his
supervisors for 12 weeks of family leave under the Family and Medical
Leave Act. For the next seven weeks, Mr. Weaver and his wife spent
every moment they could with Melissa and her two younger sisters. They
traveled to Chicago to see relatives. They visited the Museum of
Science and Industry. And, through the efforts of the Make-A-Wish
Foundation, they toured the White House and met with President Clinton.
Melissa died six days later, on October 2, 1993. Kenny Weaver says that
without the Family and Medical Leave Act, he would have had to choose
between the emotional needs of his oldest daughter and the economic
needs of his two younger girls. But the law gave him the job security
he needed to share in the last weeks of his daughter's life.
Targeted Tax Cuts Helping Hard-Pressed Working Families
"With the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Child Tax Credit we were able
to pay off our debts, so we could afford the mortgage payments to buy a
home and we bought a used van that we fixed up. The EITC was worth a
mortgage payment for a month. That was a boost that my husband and I
really appreciated. It kind of rewarded the hard work he put in, just
when we really needed it."
Providing Opportunities to Foster Care Children
- Jessica Cupp, Thurmont, Maryland, is a married mother of 2-year-old
triplet girls. The Cupp triplets were born 26 weeks into Jessica's
pregnancy at very low birth weights and with several medical problems.
Jessica was forced to give up her work at a childcare center in order to
care for her own three children. The Cupp family received Earned Income
Tax Credit refunds as well as child tax credits in 1998 and 1999 that
they would not have received had it not been for the 1993 EITC expansion
and the new child tax credit. This money has helped the family to pay
off debt accrued when the triplets were born, to move into a home more
suited for raising 3 children, to trade in their 2-door vehicle for a
van, and has allowed Jessica to stay home and care for their three
"I have several younger foster siblings still at home... I have lots of
hope for their future -- and even more now with the passage of this
bill. I have no doubt that this action will have a positive effect on
the thousands of foster youth who leave care each year -- unable to
return to their families... I really hope that this bill will make the
training and experience that I had, possible for all youth in foster
care around the United States... [President Clinton's] work in passing
this bill has made these things more possible. You did the right
Expanding Access to Quality Health Care
- Kristi Jo Frazier, Cincinnati, Ohio. Kristi Jo is a former foster
child who is studying education at Cincinnati State and Technical
College. She now lives on her own after successfully transitioning from
foster care in July 1998 into independent living.
More Children Have Access to Health Care
|NOW:|| Reform expands access for millions of Americans.|
More than 2.5 million children have received health insurance
as a result of the enactment of the historic State Children's
Health Insurance Program in 1997 -- the largest expansion of health
insurance for children since the creation of the Medicaid program.
The President has also enacted coverage expansions for people with
disabilities who wish to return to work and for the 20,000 foster
care children aging out of Medicaid eligibility every year. The
President's enactment of the bipartisan Health Insurance
Portability and Accountability Act gave Americans insurance
portability protections when they switch or lose jobs. The
President has also enacted legislation that assures that: annual
and lifetime coverage limits can be no different for mental health
coverage than other benefits; new mothers can stay in the hospital;
drive-through mastectomies are eliminated; and genetic
discrimination against many Americans purchasing health insurance
Thanks to the Children's Health Insurance Program
"When we found the Healthy Families program, it was like a miracle. Now
my kids have a regular doctor who knows our family. I don't have to
worry about taking them in for their school physicals or for their
vaccinations. They can run around and climb on things and jump off
things and the only thing I really need to worry about is if they get
their clothes dirty. Because of the Healthy Families program, my
husband and I can make sure that our kids grow up healthy."
Evelyn Alvarado, California, September 7, 1999. Before Evelyn's
children -- Daniel (aged 13), Mary (aged 11), and Samuel (aged 8) --
enrolled her children in California's CHIP program (Healthy Families) in
June 1999, they were uninsured for eight years and only saw the doctor
Allowing Americans with Disabilities to Return to Work
Without Fear of Losing Insurance Coverage
"We have been waiting for so long to see this bill signed -- to watch as
this Administration... opens the door to employment for individuals with
disabilities all over America."
Progress for Working Families
- James Sullivan, New Hampshire, December 16, 1999. James is a C6
quadriplegic (partial use of his arms) who is in his mid thirties. Two
days before he turned 18, he broke his back diving into a wave. He is
willing to give up his SSDI check if he could go back to work and keep
his personal attendant services. If his state takes the Medicaid buy in
option, the Ticket to Work and Work Incentives Improvement Act will
allow him to do just that. He would like to get a job in the
- Expanded Earned Income Tax Credit: The EITC now lifts 4.1 million
working families out of poverty, which is nearly double the number
of people lifted out of poverty by the EITC in 1993. Among
children, the EITC reduced poverty by 17 percent in 1999 -- moving
2.3 million children out of poverty.
- Lower Tax Rates for Middle-Income Families: The total tax burden
dropped from 24.5 percent in 1992 to 22.8 percent and is now at the
lowest rate since 1978. The total Federal tax rate for
middle-income families increased under the previous two
administrations, rising from 23.7 percent in 1980 to 24.5 percent
- Teen Birth Rates Have Dropped To The Lowest Rate In 60 Years: The
number of births to teens declined from 60.7 per 1000 in 1992 to
49.6 in 1999 -- an 18 percent drop.
- Welfare Rolls Cut By Nearly 60 Percent: Welfare rolls have dropped
by 8.3 million -- nearly 60 percent -- since 1993; from 14.1
million people in 1993 to 5.8 million today, to the lowest level
since 1968. The percent of people on welfare in 1999 who were
working in 2000 increased to almost 40 percent -- nearly double the
level in 1992.
- Record Child Support Enforcement Collections: Child support
collections have broken new records, doubling federal and state
collections from $8 billion in 1992 to nearly $16 billion last
- Lowest Child Poverty Rate Since 1979: The child poverty rate has
declined from 22.7 percent to 16.9 percent, a reduction of 25.6
percent -- the biggest six-year drop in nearly 30 years
(1964-1970). Child poverty is now at its lowest rate since 1979.
- Increased Federal Child Care Assistance: Federal investments in
child care have doubled and will help parents provide care for 2.2
million children in FY 2001.
- Expanded Head Start: Head Start will serve approximately 935,000
children in 2001 -- up from just over 700,000 in 1992.
- Adoptions Have Increased: In 1999 alone, 46,000 foster care
children were adopted, an increase of nearly 65 percent since 1996.