THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
NATIONAL CHILDREN'S DAY, 1998
BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
One of the most important measures of our success as a Nation is the well-being of our children. As a society, we have no more important responsibility than to help our families raise healthy, happy, loving children in an environment that allows kids to reach their full potential. My Administration is committed to this goal, and we have made significant progress over the past five and a half years through initiatives and legislation designed to strengthen families, protect our children's health, and invest in their education.
By providing a tax credit of $500 per child to 26 million families, increasing the minimum wage, and cutting taxes through extending the Earned Income Tax Credit, we have helped millions of working families. We have dramatically increased Federal funding for child care and proposed additional subsidies and tax credits to help families pay for such care.
Through the Family and Medical Leave Act, we have made it easier for working parents to take as much as 12 weeks of unpaid leave to care for a new baby or a sick child without jeopardizing their jobs. And the landmark Adoption and Safe Families Act I signed into law last year helps the thousands of children in foster care by working to reunite them with their families, where possible, or move them more quickly into secure, permanent adoptive families when that is the best option.
To meet our commitment to the health of all our children, we have extended health care coverage to millions of previously uninsured children through the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), the largest national investment in children's health care in more than 30 years. Children with health insurance get a healthier start in life because they receive regular checkups and routine immunizations. We are working with the States to ensure that every child eligible for CHIP is enrolled, and we are focusing on enrolling the more than 4 million uninsured children who are currently eligible for health coverage under the Medicaid program.
To empower America's children with the skills and knowledge they need to make the most of their lives, our Nation has also made the largest investment in education in more than a generation. Today, more than 800,000 children are enrolled in Head Start, receiving the attention and training they need to start school ready to learn. We are also working with the Congress to pass legislation that will provide public schools with more teachers, smaller class sizes, new or renovated buildings, and the latest in information technology.
Children are our greatest blessing, and raising them well is the most challenging and rewarding task any of us will ever undertake. On National Children's Day, let us recommit ourselves -- as loving parents and caring citizens -- to ensure that all of America's children grow up in truly nurturing environments where their needs are met and where they have every opportunity to make the most of their lives.
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 October 11, 1998, as National Children's Day. I urge the American people to express their love and appreciation for children on this day and on every day throughout the year. I invite Federal officials, local governments, communities, and particularly all American families to join together in observing this day with appropriate ceremonies and activities that honor our Nation's children. I also urge all Americans to reflect upon the importance of children to our families, the importance of strong families to our children, and the importance of each to America.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this ninth day of October, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and ninety-eight, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and twenty-third.
WILLIAM J. CLINTON
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