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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release January 26, 1998
                   The President Announces New Commitment 
             to Expand After-School Care For America's Children

January 26, 1998

[W]e must make sure that every child has a safe and enriching place to go after school... I am proposing the expansion of before and after school programs to help some 500,000 children say no to drugs and alcohol and crime, and yes to reading, soccer, computers and a brighter future for themselves.

The President today provided further details of his after-school initiative, which will make a $2 billion investment in quality after-school programs. He also announced one of the largest private donations ever made to public education: a gift by C.S. Mott Foundation of up to $55 million over 5 years -- the use of which will be closely coordinated with the Department of Education -- to enhance the quality of before- and after-school programs.

Announcing the Details of the After-School Initiative -- the Largest Single Investment Targeted to After-School Ever: As part of his historic child care initiative, the President has made quality after-school programs a national priority. That is why he proposed a dramatic expansion of the Department of Education's 21st Century Community Learning Center Program, which will help school-community partnerships create or expand before- and after-school programs. The President today announced the details of this proposal, including: a provision for a local match, which will leverage the funds from this new federal initiative to invest $2 billion overall for after-school programs; better targeting of funds to high-need communities; a requirement that schools work closely with community organizations in establishing these programs; and a set-aside of up to 10 percent of funds for community organizations to establish or expand their own after-school programs.

These efforts will provide quality care for school-age children in a cost-effective manner by primarily using public schools and their existing resources. The expansion of the 21st Century Learning Center Program will promote learning and enrichment programs in such areas as computer skills, the arts, drama, music, community service, and the basic skills. The President's budget will request $200 million per year, for a total of $1 billion over five years. These funds, combined with state match, will provide care for up to 500,000 children each year. For FY 1998, the program is funded at $40 million a year.

Announcing an Historic Public-Private Partnership: The President also announced a donation by the C.S. Mott Foundation of up to $55 million over 5 years for before- and after-school programs. Mott will work closely with Department of Education officials responsible for the 21st Century Community Learning Center Program in making the best possible use of these funds. Through Mott's generosity, the Department of Education will offer regional conferences, beginning next week, to help communities nationwide learn about quality after-school care and take advantage of new federal funds for before- and after-school programs.

Addressing the Huge Demands for After-School Programs: An estimated five million school-age children spend time as latchkey kids without adult supervision during a typical week. Research indicates that during these unsupervised hours children are more likely to engage in at-risk behavior, such as crime, drugs, and alcohol use. In fact, according to FBI statistics, most juvenile crime takes place between the hours of 3 pm and 8 pm. While young people need a safe place after school, only about 1.7 million children from kindergarten through grade 8 were enrolled in 49,500 formal before- and after-school programs of any type. Programs in schools are even more scarce: 70 percent of all public elementary and combined schools do not offer such programs.

Highlighting A Program That Makes A Difference: Later today, the First Lady will travel to the Harriett Tubman School in New York City to tour their Virtual Y Program. In addition to its strong focus on building academic skills, the Virtual Y Program also provides a safe and stimulating environment during the hours of the day when children are most at risk. During this visit, the First Lady will discuss how the Administration's after-school initiative will help ensure that children across the country have access to programs as enriching as the after-school program at the Harriett Tubman School.