Howard Dean on Families & Children
Former VT Governor; Former Democratic Candidate for President
Think long-term to benefit our children
Perhaps the greatest problem in American politics today is that so many people in Washington tend to think in two and four year cycles. We don't think long term, yet children are a long term proposition.
Politicians set their clocks by election cycles. Too often their solutions to problems are two- and four-year fixes. But most of our problems require a vision that looks far into the future, fixes that must work long after that election cycle is history.
I learned that lesson day-by-day over my 11 years as Governor of Vermont. Budget decisions I made in the my first term impacted budget decisions I made in my tenth term.
Environmental protections I fought for in my early years will benefit my children and grandchildren far into the future. I stopped framing my decisions in a two-year viewfinder, but soon began looking five, ten and even 100 years into the future.
Source: Campaign web site, DeanForAmerica.com, "On the Issues"
Nov 30, 2002
Encourage fathers' participation in child-raising.
Dean adopted the National Governors Association position paper:
The IssueGrowing evidence suggests that children from families in which fathers do not contribute their time and support endure a number of risk factors. Children with absent fathers are more likely to drop out of school, become teenage parents, develop drug or alcohol problems, or become involved in violent criminal behavior. Congress and the administration have recently proposed a number of federal programs to support state and local fatherhood initiatives.
NGA’s Position Governors believe that government at all levels can and should take immediate action to help reduce the number of out-of-wedlock pregnancies and encourage active participation by fathers of all ages in raising their children. Governors have played a leadership role at both the national and state level in developing and implementing comprehensive strategies to strengthen the role of fathers in their childrens’ lives. While many Governors are using Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and other federal program funds to support state-specific fatherhood initiatives, additional investment in fatherhood would broaden the population of fathers that can be served. Governors believe that there should be support of and coordination between existing programs and any new federal funding stream designated for fatherhood initiatives and that these new initiatives should not be funded at the expense of another vital human service program.
Source: National Governors Association "Issues / Positions" 01-NGA12 on Sep 7, 2001
Federal funds & state involvement in fatherhood initiatives.
Dean adopted the National Governors Association policy:
The nation’s Governors recognize that governments at all levels can and should take immediate action including:
- providing additional education and information about the importance of fathers participating in raising their children;
- establishing a nongovernmental national clearinghouse to collect and disseminate information regarding responsible fatherhood;
- expanding efforts to prevent unintended and out-of-wedlock teen pregnancies;
- providing children with appropriate adult male role models, such as mentors, in the absence of a caring father;
- ensuring that young men are given opportunities to feel successful and valued, which will lead to the development of self-confidence and preparation for fatherhood;
- encouraging the involvement of the community, including the religious community, civic community, business community, and mentors in addressing the importance of father involvement;
- developing strategies that include both parents in activities focused on their children, such as training service providers and educators to include both parents in their service delivery;
- working with private employers and the education community to provide education and job training opportunities to unemployed, underemployed, and low-skilled fathers; and
- paternity establishment and child support enforcement efforts.
Any new federal funding stream designated for fatherhood initiatives should:
Source: NGA policy HR-28. Fatherhood Policy 01-NGA6 on Aug 15, 2001
- support programs in states, at the discretion of each Governor, that encourage appropriate involvement of both parents in the life of a child, with priority given to programs that specifically address the issue of fatherhood;
- be coordinated with existing fatherhood programs, as well as with other federal funds that can be used for fatherhood initiatives, such as TANF; and
- not be funded at the expense of another vital human service program.