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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release July 15, 1998
                       STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENT
                           ON THE RELEASE OF

Today, my Administration released an important report card on our nation's children, "America's Children: Key National Indicators of Well-Being." Last year, I called for this yearly report to provide the American people with a portrait of our children in critical areas such as health, education, and economic security.

In this second annual report, we find much to be grateful for -- infant mortality is at an all-time low; the number of children with high blood lead levels, which can cause IQ or behavioral problems, has declined dramatically; more toddlers are up-to-date on their immunizations; more children are entering preschool, improving in math, and moving on to graduate from college; teen pregnancy has decreased; and a majority of parents are reporting that their children are in very good or excellent health. These strides reflect strategic investments in our nation's children, which have always been central to my agenda to prepare America for the twenty-first Century.

The report released today also demonstrates that we must now commit ourselves to making further progress for our children. Unfortunately, substance abuse and cigarette smoking among children are at unacceptable levels; reading scores are stagnant; and too many of our nation's children live in poverty.

We have demonstrated that we can work on a bipartisan basis to address the challenges our children face. That's why, as I said yesterday, I am extremely disappointed that some in Congress have taken actions that threaten to undermine the important progress we have made by failing to provide critical investments for our young people. Our children deserve progress, not partisanship. As we pause to consider this report card on our children, I urge Members of Congress to work together to build a stronger future for our nation's children.