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Office of the Vice President

For Immediate Release March 29, 2000
                         RESPONSIBLE FATHERHOOD

Washington, D.C.--Vice President Gore announced today that Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Donna Shalala has approved waivers in ten states to promote responsible fatherhood by helping more fathers provide emotional and financial support to their children. The waivers are part of a demonstration project that aims to help young, low-income, never-married fathers obtain employment, make child support payments and learn parenting skills.

"I commend the millions of single mothers who are working hard to raise their children as well as the millions of fathers who are giving their children the financial and emotional support they need and deserve," Vice President Gore said. "But, our nation will continue to suffer social and economic consequences unless all fathers do more to help share the responsibility of parenthood, and America must do more to support them in this role."

The project provides state-run child support enforcement agencies and community-based organizations, including faith based groups, the flexibility to promote responsible fatherhood and strengthen families through activities such as employment and education services, "team" parenting and building supportive relationships between parents, substance abuse and anger management services, awareness of domestic violence issues, transportation assistance, and establishment of paternity, in addition to regular child support enforcement services.

Promoting responsible fatherhood has been a top priority of the Clinton-Gore Administration. Vice President Gore has worked for many years to strengthen the role of fathers in their children's lives and at his third annual Family Reunion Conference in 1994 he challenged men to become actively involved in their children's lives and to provide emotional as well as financial support. In 1999, $15.5 billion was collected for children by the child support enforcement program, nearly doubling the amount collected in 1992. In its FY 2001 budget, the Administration includes new measures to collect more child support from parents who can afford to pay, ensure that more child support goes directly to families, and launch a new Fathers Work/Families Win initiative to help more "deadbroke" fathers and low-income working families work and support their children.

"These waivers will strengthen families and communities by helping more 'deadbroke' dads take responsibility for their children" Vice President Gore said. "Promoting responsible fatherhood is one of the most important things we can do to reduce child poverty."

HHS has partnered with the Ford and Mott Foundations, the Lily Endowment and the Community Foundations in Philadelphia and Indianapolis to provide more than $15 million in federal and private funding over three years for the project. The waivers will give states flexibility to use federal funds for a broader set of activities than those usually funded under the child support enforcement program. This initiative will be piloted in Baltimore, MD; Boston, MA; Chester County, PA; Chicago, IL; Denver, CO; Indianapolis, IN; Los Angeles, CA; Milwaukee/Racine, WI; Minneapolis, MN; and New York City, NY. Technical assistance for the sites is being provided by The National Center for Strategic Nonprofit Planning and Community Leadership.