Tags: Bush | Signs | 'Pro | Family' | Aid | Bill

Bush Signs 'Pro Family' Aid Bill

Friday, 18 January 2002 12:00 AM

"The legislation reaffirms our country's commitment to helping children grow up in secure and loving families by encouraging adoption (and) by helping young adults make their way in life after they leave foster care," Bush said during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House.

Bush also proposed $505 million, an increase of $130 million, for the Promoting Safe and Stable Families Program and other support programs as part of his fiscal year 2003 budget plan. The funding would allow states to promote family reunification in cases where children must be temporarily removed from the home. It would also promote adoption of children who cannot return home safely.

"Advocates for adoption, many of whom are in this room, know that when you find a loving family, it makes a huge difference in a child's life, and know that our national goal must be to find a loving family for every child that needs one," Bush said.

The measure also aims to promote healthy marriages and help families cope with substance abuse.

"The family is the foundation of this society. And here's what I know. It's the place where we find deep human fulfillment, and where we find love. It is where the character of our nation is shaped, and where values are forged. Families provide us with comfort and encouragement, compassion and hope, mutual support and unconditional love. No family is perfect, but every family is important," Bush said.

Some women's and children's rights advocates are opposing what they term as emerging "pro-family" language in both initiatives from the White House and from Congress, which is set to reauthorize welfare legislation this year. They say such initiatives can encourage women to stay in or return to abusive relationships, particularly if their doing so is linked to state or federal assistance payments.

Bush's proposal would also set aside $25 million for secular and religious organizations to provide mentoring services through the Mentoring Children of Prisoners program. Bush said it was part of the "armies of compassion" strategy he touted during his presidential campaign.

More than 2 million of the nation's 72 million children have at least one parent in prison, according to the U.S. Department of Justice statistics.

"These children don't see their parents every day, but, like all children, need help with homework, someone to play catch with, someone to hug them," Bush said.

The White House said the children of inmates should not be penalized for crimes their parents committed, but rather should receive extra help.

The measure tags $60 million for the Independent Living Program that provides support for youths age 18 to 23 who grew up in foster care but are "aging out" of the system. Bush's proposal establishes a program that would provide education and vocational training vouchers up to $5,000 per person annually, and it would allow states to extend a safety net of benefits for those who were never adopted to ease their transition to adulthood and self-sufficiency.

Copyright 2002 by United Press International. All rights reserved.

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The legislation reaffirms our country's commitment to helping children grow up in secure and loving families by encouraging adoption (and) by helping young adults make their way in life after they leave foster care, Bush said during a ceremony in the East Room of the White...
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2002-00-18
Friday, 18 January 2002 12:00 AM
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