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Office of the Vice President

For Immediate Release October 12, 2000
                           AFTER SCHOOL WEEK

After school every day, as many as 15 million children are home alone. Providing children appropriate care and supervision after classes are finished and before the work day ends is one of the most difficult challenges families face. Their concern is deepened by the knowledge that during these after school hours, children are especially vulnerable. Most crimes committed by, and against, our youth occur at this time of day.

After school programs help ensure that our children are supervised, safe, and learning important skills. These programs help children learn arithmetic and history, instead of drug use or delinquency. The President and I have worked to expand after school programs with funding and support. From a $1 million demonstration project in 1997, the 21st Century Community Learning Centers program has grown to provide after school and summer school opportunities for 850,000 school-age children this year. For FY 2001, the President's budget calls on Congress to more than double funding to $1 billion and to triple the number of students served. Last year, I launched an effort supported by 17 federal agencies to help communities and families take advantage of these opportunities with after school fairs around the country and the website.

Today, in recognition of Afterschool Week, schools, community centers, museums, libraries and parks in communities across the nation are hosting "Lights on Afterschool" activities to educate working families about where their children can go after school. It is our responsibility to help ensure that every child will find that the "lights are on" someplace safe, warm and nurturing every day, after school.