THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
NATIONAL CHILD ABUSE PREVENTION MONTH, 1996
BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
America is a country of many blessings -- a rich land, a thriving democracy, a diverse and determined people. Our culture is built on faith in freedom and on the spirit of community. In a Nation of such infinite promise, the continuing problem of child abuse is a national tragedy. When any American child experiences the horrors of physical or emotional abuse, the future of our Nation also suffers. We must always remember that today's children will be tomorrow's leaders, educators, and parents, and we must help them to look forward with hope and enthusiasm to the future.
My Administration is working hard to make this country a better place for all our children. Although domestic violence and child abuse are primarily matters for State and local authorities, we have taken significant steps at the Federal level to prevent the conditions that can lead to abuse. Both the National Child Protection Act of 1993 and the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 contain provisions that help communities identify offenders who may pose a threat to children's well-being.
In addition, our Family Preservation and Family Support Services were designed to give parents the tools they need to keep their families intact and raise healthy, happy children. These include parenting classes, programs that send a visitor to the homes of first-time parents to provide support and guidance, and early developmental screening of children. Bipartisan support for this initiative -- the first Federal investment in child welfare protection in more than a decade -- has enabled States to use resources flexibly and creatively to strengthen families and work to reduce child abuse.
But government alone cannot end mistreatment. Social service agencies, schools, religious organizations, law enforcement agencies, businesses, and concerned citizens are all working to help children live up to their full potential. These efforts to provide loving and protective environments for our Nation's children exemplify the finest traditions of service and compassion. This month and throughout the year, let us each do everything we can to strengthen families and ease the pain of abused children. Together, we can make an investment in the future by putting the needs of our most precious and vulnerable citizens first.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, WILLIAM J. CLINTON, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim April 1996, as National Child Abuse Prevention Month. I call upon all Americans to observe this month with appropriate ceremonies, programs, and activities that raise awareness of the need to help our children lead happy, productive lives.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this eighth day of April, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and ninety-six, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and twentieth.
WILLIAM J. CLINTON
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