Today, President Bush visited a social services center in
Cincinnati, Ohio, to highlight the life-changing compassion of
America. Every day, the compassionate work of Americans strengthens
marriages and families, transforms the lives of children, and promotes
The United States is a compassionate Nation that supports the
talents and possibilities of every person. The President believes
that the greatest strength of America is found in the hearts and souls
of our citizens.
The President's budget for FY 2005 continues to support the
compassion of America by requesting more than $400 million for programs
to support healthy marriages, research and demonstration projects on
family formation, and initiatives to promote responsible fatherhood.
The President's budget for FY 2005 also supports achieving personal
responsibility through $200 million in funding for his Access to
Recovery drug treatment voucher program, and $75 million in funding to
help former offenders stay away from crime by providing access to job
training, housing options, and transitional services.
Background on Today's Presidential Action
"It is also important to understand that a more hopeful society is
one in which we encourage strong marriages and families. I understand
building and preserving a family is not always possible; I know that.
But it should be a national goal. We ought to aspire for what's best.
And what's best is for our families to remain intact." -- President
George W. Bush, July 29, 2002
Compassionate Welfare Reform. The 1996 Temporary Assistance for
Needy Families (TANF) welfare policy reform encouraged personal
responsibility by promoting work, reduced non-marital births, and
strengthened and supported marriage. The largest welfare caseload
decline in history occurred between the 1996 enactment and 2003 with
the welfare caseload falling 60-percent from 12.2 million recipients to
fewer than 5 million. The President's 2002 TANF welfare
reauthorization proposal builds upon these compassionate reforms and
seeks to make welfare even more focused on achieving independence and
self-reliance, and on supporting the well-being of children and
families. The President has called on Congress to enact the TANF
Healthy Marriage Initiative. Research from the U.S. Census
Bureau, SAMHSA, and private studies indicate that children raised
in two-parent married families are less likely to be poor, less likely
to fail at school, and less likely to have a behavioral problem, when
compared to those who are not. Moreover, as adolescents, they are less
likely to commit crime, develop substance abuse problems, or to commit
suicide. President Bush believes that marriage is one of the unseen
pillars of civilization, and while a two-parent, married family is not
always possible, it should always be the goal. The President's
initiative supports healthy marriage and family development by:
Promoting Healthy Marriages through a dollar-for-dollar matching
grant program with States, with total available funding at $240 million
Building and Preserving Families through research and
demonstration projects focusing on family formation and healthy
marriage activities, with a request in the FY 2005 budget of $120
million in annual funding.
Promoting Responsible Fatherhood through grants to faith-based and
community organizations for skill-based marriage and parenting
education, job training, and other services that help fathers provide
emotional and financial support to children and families. The
President's FY 2005 budget request is $50 million.
Promoting Personal Responsibility. The President's compassionate
initiatives to help addicted Americans and former prisoners become
contributing members of society are intended to actively help citizens
in need while insisting upon accountability and results.
Access to Recovery: In 2003, to help more Americans caught in the
cycle of addiction find needed treatment from the most effective
programs, including faith-based institutions, the President proposed
the Access to Recovery treatment voucher program. The program has been
funded at $100 million in 2004. The President proposes doubling the
Access to Recovery program to $200 million to help 100,000 additional
Americans receive treatment from providers that best meet their needs,
including through faith-based and other community providers. The
President's 2005 Budget includes $4.7 billion for total substance abuse
prevention and treatment programs.
Former Prisoners Contributing to Society: To help former
offenders stay away from crime, a substantial number of
faith-based and community leaders have created resourceful programs to
provide job training, housing options, and transitional services that
help former prisoners become involved and contribute to their
communities. To help these Americans in need, President Bush proposed
in his 2004 State of the Union Address a four-year, $300 million
initiative to provide job training and placement services, transitional
housing assistance, and mentoring for 50,000 former inmates.
Highlights of the President's Compassion Agenda
Compassion for Children
Mentoring for Those in Need: The President believes that people,
especially school-aged children, can find the support they need to help
them succeed through the work of a mentor. The President has proposed a
three-year, $450 million mentoring initiative targeting disadvantaged
youth and the children of prisoners.
Supporting Personal Responsibility through Abstinence Education:
To encourage teens to take personal responsibility for their
actions and to encourage parents to educate their children about the
dangers of early sexual activity, the President announced his
abstinence initiative during the 2004 State of the Union address. The
initiative includes doubling the funding -- from $135 million to more
than $270 million -- for abstinence-only education programs, developing
model abstinence-only education curricula, ensuring the Federal
government is sending a consistent message to teens, and creating a
public education campaign for parents and teens about this important
Protecting Children: The President is committed to protecting
children from those who would prey on them. The President held the
first White House Conference on Missing, Exploited, and Runaway
Children in October 2002; proposed and signed legislation to expand the
AMBER Alert network across America, which notifies the public when a
child in their area is missing; released the "Parent's Guide to Child
Safety;" and signed the PROTECT Act in April 2003, giving law
enforcement additional tools to prevent, investigate, and prosecute
violent crimes against children.
Supporting Adoption and Foster Children: The President believes
that a permanent, safe, and loving home is important for every
child, and he has worked to prevent children from being trapped in the
child welfare system. In addition, he continues to support both
domestic and international adoption. Since taking office, he has
increased the adoption incentives tax credit to $10,000 per child,
launched the www.AdoptUSKids.org website, signed into law the
bipartisan Promoting Safe and Stable Families Amendment Act, provided
Independent Living (education and training) vouchers for young adults
aging out of the foster care system, and created incentives for the
adoption of older foster youth.
Promoting Character Education: Character education provides
children with the tools to develop moral and ethical strength. The
President has requested $25 million for the Character Education
Initiative to encourage schools and school districts to develop
curricula that teach strong values, promote good character, and help
children develop a sense of responsibility to the community.
Compassion for Families
Supporting Self-sufficiency: The President
has offered a proposal that would build on the 1996 welfare
reforms and focus these programs even more strongly on individuals'
efforts to achieve independence and self-reliance and on improving the
well-being of children and families.
Promoting Healthy Marriage: The President has requested $120
million in Federal funds to be matched by $120 million in state
funds for a state-based competitive matching grant program to support
healthy marriages. The President has also $120 million for research,
demonstration projects, and technical assistance on family formation
and healthy marriage activities.
Encouraging Responsible Fatherhood: The President believes it is
important to recognize the critical role that fathers play in the lives
of their families, and has requested $50 million for a new initiative
to promote responsible fatherhood.
Preventing Violence Against Women: The Bush Administration is
committed to preventing domestic violence and addressing its effects on
individuals and families. President Bush has secured historic levels of
funding for Violence Against Women programs at the Justice Department,
overseen an increase in Federal prosecutions for crimes of violence
against women, and has established 12 Family Justice Centers to help
local communities provide comprehensive services under one roof to
victims of domestic violence.
Compassion for Communities
Helping Former Prisoners Become Contributing Members of Society:
President Bush proposed in his 2004 State of the Union Address a
four-year, $300 million initiative to provide job training and
placement services, transitional housing assistance, and mentoring for
Providing Access to Drug Abuse Recovery and Treatment Programs: In
2002, the President set the aggressive goal of reducing national drug
use by youth by 10-percent in two years and 25-percent in five years.
The first of these goals was exceeded, with a reduction of 11-percent.
In 2003, the President proposed the Access to Recovery treatment
voucher program to expand substance abuse treatment capacity to those
who need it. The program is now funded at $100 million and the
President proposes doubling the program to $200 million per year. The
President's 2005 budget includes $4.7 billion for substance abuse
prevention and treatment programs overall.
Combating Chronic Homelessness: The Bush Administration is working
to end chronic homelessness by 2012 by funding homelessness
prevention and intervention programs and spearheading the President's
new $70 million Samaritan Initiative, which was introduced in Congress
in March 2004.
Encouraging Healthy Behavior: The President's HealthierUS
Initiative encourages Americans to take steps to prevent and
control chronic diseases and obesity through simple improvements in
physical activity, diet, and behavior. The Initiative includes the
Steps to a HealthierUS program, for which the President requested $125
million in FY 2005.
Removing Barriers for Americans with Disabilities: Announced in
February 2001, the New Freedom Initiative is the President's plan to
tear down the remaining barriers to full integration into American life
that many of the Nation's 54 million citizens with disabilities still
face. By increasing access through technology, expanding educational
opportunities for youth with disabilities, integrating Americans with
disabilities into the workforce, and promoting full access to community
life, the New Freedom Initiative offers people with disabilities
opportunities equal to their fellow citizens.
Calling Americans to Service: The President has made it a priority
to encourage Americans to dedicate at least two years or 4,000
hours over the course of their lifetimes to volunteer service and civic
involvement. To help Americans answer his call, the President created
the USA Freedom Corps; requested slightly over $1 billion in the FY
2005 Budget for funding for the Corporation for National and Community
Service, including $415 million for AmeriCorps programs and $150
million to support AmeriCorps education awards, $225 million for
SeniorCorps, $20 million for Silver Scholarships for older Americans
who volunteer 500 hours of service tutoring and mentoring students in
exchange for a $1,000 scholarship; and has overseen the highest
enrollment in the Peace Corps in 28 years. Between 2002 and 2003, the
number of Americans volunteering increased from 59.8 million to 63.8