THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary (New York, New York) ________________________________________________________________________ For Immediate Release June 17, 2000
June 16, 2000
MEMORANDUM FOR THE ATTORNEY GENERAL
THE SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE THE SECRETARY OF LABOR THE SECRETARY OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES THE SECRETARY OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT THE SECRETARY OF EDUCATION
SUBJECT: Joint Guidance on Supporting Responsible Fatherhood Efforts
One of the fundamental goals of my Administration has been to strengthen fathers' involvement in their children's lives. In support of that goal, I directed all executive departments and agencies to review their policies, programs, and initiatives to ensure that they supported men in their role as fathers. The review concluded that the Federal Government can play an important role by providing coordinated guidance and resources that support responsible fatherhood to individuals and State and local governments.
Under the leadership of Vice President Gore, my Administration has made significant progress in promoting greater father involvement, within the Federal workforce as well as through Federal programs and resources, and through partnerships with States and communities, foundations, and the research community.
As you know, my Budget for Fiscal Year 2001 substantially expands our efforts to promote responsible fatherhood and strengthen families. The Budget proposes $255 million for the first year of a new "Fathers Work/Families Win" initiative to promote responsible fatherhood and support working families, allows States to simplify child support distribution rules, provides incentives to States that pass through more child support payments directly to families, and extends Welfare-to-Work grants to help noncustodial parents move into lasting unsubsidized jobs. In addition, my Budget proposes to increase the Earned Income Tax Credit by nearly $24 billion over 10 years, providing an additional work incentive of as much as $1,200 in tax relief to an estimated 6.8 million hardworking mothers and fathers.
Recent research indicates that promoting and rewarding work for low-income families can support marital stability, increase employment and earnings, reduce domestic violence, and improve children's behavior and school performance. In addition, research confirms that child support is an impor-tant factor in lifting children out of poverty. There is also evidence that a large proportion of unmarried fathers are involved with their children at birth, but that these relationships tend to weaken over time. And employed fathers are more likely to be able to support their children financially and emotionally.
These results, as well as the 1995 review, show the importance of providing Federal guidance and resources to States that can support responsible fatherhood, work, and family. Therefore, I direct the Secretary of Health and Human Services, in conjunction with the Secretaries of Labor, Agriculture, Education, Housing and Urban Development, and the Attorney General, to develop and provide, within 90 days of the date of this memorandum, coordinated guidance on Federal resources and opportunities for promoting responsible fatherhood.
This guidance should:
(1) clearly identify existing resources available, including Federal
welfare reform block grant funds, Welfare-to-Work and workforce development resources, educational resources, paternity establishment and child support, Food Stamp Employment and Training, and low-income housing and community development funds;
(2) help States, local governments, community- and faith-based
organizations, fatherhood practitioners, and families, identify and use Federal resources and opportunities to strengthen the many roles of fathers in families;
(3) clarify the extent to which existing policies and practices,
including child support policies, can be modified to help ensure available resources effectively serve lower-income fathers;
(4) identify opportunities to build on and sustain the involvement of
fathers in low-income, unmarried parent, "fragile families"; and
(5) list contact information to help interested parties access
information on a regular basis.
This guidance should be accessible, and made available through the websites of Federal agencies, as well as in printed form.
WILLIAM J. CLINTON
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