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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release November 12, 1998


                             November 12, 1998

Today, President Clinton will announce nearly $60 million in new grants to establish or expand after-school programs. In addition, the President will announce new data revealing the pressing need for affordable child care for America's low-income working families.

The President Secured $200 Million for After-School Programs. As part of the budget agreement passed last month, President Clinton won his full funding request of $200 million for after-school programs through the 21st Century Community Learning Center program -- marking a substantial increase from $40 million in FY 1998. With this $200 million, 250,000 children will be able to participate in after-school programs that keep them safe and help them learn.

$60 Million in New Grants Will Support After-School Initiatives in Communities Throughout The Country. Today, the President will announce nearly $60 million in new grants to establish 21st Century Community Learning Center school-based after-school programs. The $60 million will fund 183 grants to about 600 schools in 44 states and the District of Columbia, and will help meet the huge demand for after-school programs. At least 5 million children -- and as many as 15 million -- are left alone at home on a given day. Experts agree that school-age children who are unsupervised after school are far more likely to use alcohol, drugs, and tobacco, commit crimes, receive poor grades, and drop out of school than those who are involved in supervised, constructive activities. Today's grant recipients originally applied to the program last fiscal year under one of the most highly competitive programs ever managed by the U.S. Department of Education. The Department received nearly 2,000 applications, requesting $500 million to fund programs in over 6,000 schools in every state in the country. Today's new grants will allow the Department of Education to fund many more of the qualified applicants. Of the remaining $140 million appropriated for FY 1999, $40 million will fund renewed grants for last year's recipients, and $100 million will be administered by the Department of Education through a new after-school grant competition.

New Data Show That While 1.25 Million Children Receive Child Care Subsidies, Many Eligible Children Are Not Receiving Assistance. The President also will release new data showing that in FY 1997 states provided child care assistance to 1.25 million low-income children out of a total of 10 million children eligible for child care assistance. The President fought to include in the welfare law an increase of $4 billion in child care subsidies to low-income working families. This increase is responsible for a quarter million more low-income children receiving child care in FY 1997 than in the previous year. States, however, still have many more applicants than they can serve, and, as a result, some states set eligibility levels far below what is allowed by federal law. For example, in as many as 37 states, a family of three with $28,000 of income is not eligible for a child care subsidy. The data also show that in FY 1997 states committed over 99 percent of their federal block grant funds. State spending on child care rose considerably in FY 1997; including state and federal dollars, states spent $4.2 billion, a 35 percent increase from FY 1996.

The President's Child Care Proposal Would Have Dramatically Increased The Number of Children Receiving Child Care Subsidies. As a part of his FY 1999 balanced budget request, the President proposed a $7.5 billion increase in child care subsidy assistance over five years. These new funds, combined with the child care funds provided in welfare reform, would have enabled the program to serve about one million new low-income children. The President is committed to continuing to work with Congress on a bipartisan basis next year to make child care better, safer, and more affordable for America's working families.