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Hillary Clinton on Families & Children

Secretary of State; previously Democratic Senator (NY)


Our generation is blessed by extra years with aging parents

When I became Secretary of State, Mom was just about to turn 90. She had been living with us in Washington for the past few years, ever since being alone in her apartment overlooking the zoo on Connecticut Av. became too much. Like so many Americans of my generation, I felt both blessed to have these extra years with an aging parent and very responsible for making sure she was comfortable and well cared for. Mom gave me so much unconditional love and support when I was growing up in Park Ridge IL; now it was my turn to support her. Of course I never would have let her hear me describe it that way. Dorothy Rodham was a fiercely independent woman. She couldn't bear the thought of being a burden to anyone.

Having her so close became a source of great comfort to me, especially in the difficult period after the end of the 2008 campaign. I'd come home from a long day at the Senate or the State Department, slide in next to her at the small table in our breakfast nook, and let everything just pour out.

Source: Hard Choices, by Hillary Clinton, Vogue Magazine excerpts , May 31, 2014

Grew AR Children's Hospital to one of nation's 10 largest

Hillary cofounded the Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families; served on the board of our Children's Hospital and helped with its fund-raising drive (it became one of the nation's ten largest children's hospitals in a state with o 2.8 million people); brought an excellent preschool program form Israel to poor families in our state; headed a task force that increased access to health care for people in small towns and rural areas; and chaired a committee that devel standards for our schools.

Hillary did the things she did because she wanted to make a difference. And she did then because it made her happy to see another baby in a small town get health care, another young child smiling at her pre ceremony, another student from a rural area become the first in his family to go to college, another woman break through the glass ceiling at a law firm.

Source: Giving, by Bill Clinton, p. xi , Sep 4, 2007

Struggling families are invisible to Bush administration

Hillary Clinton: As I travel around America, I hear from so many people who feel like they’re just invisible to their government

Voice-over Announcer: Hillary Clinton has spent her life standing up for people others don’t see.

Hillary Clinton: You know, if you’re a family that is struggling, and you don’t have health care well you are invisible to this President. If you’re a single mom trying to find affordable child care so you can go to work, well you’re invisible too. And I never thought I would see that our soldiers who serve in Iraq and Afghanistan would be treated as though they were invisible as well.

Hillary: Americans from all walks of life across our country may be invisible to this President, but they’re not invisible to me and they won’t be invisible to the next President of the United States.

Source: AdWatch: TV advertisement in Iowa , Aug 13, 2007

1980s: her church founded largest daycare in Arkansas

While she was a member of the church in the 1980s, the congregation purchased a building to expand its day care center into what became the Gertrude Remmel Butler Child Development Center.

Hillary clearly supported the center, which was consistent with her deep interest in child care. She personally donated funds to the center, which today serves more than 300 children in full-time & after-school child care, children of working parents in downtown Little Rock. It is the largest state-licensed child care facility in the state of Arkansas, housing a huge staff of more than 70. The facility in many ways reflects the vision for communal support that Hillary would later outline in her book It Takes a Village.

Source: God and Hillary Clinton, by Paul Kengor, p. 62 , Jul 18, 2007

Family planning & child spacing is international human right

Hillary went to Beijing in 1995 and gave one of the most memorable speeches of her career. This was an address presumably for the purpose of reaffirming the theme, which was that “human rights are women’s rights” and “women’s rights are human rights.” The only time she used the word abortion was to denounce the host Chinese government for forcing women to have abortions against their will. That condemnation demonstrated Hillary’s ability to venture headfirst into confrontation.

Others, however, were not so easily satisfied. While Hillary did not actually use the word abortion elsewhere in her talk, she used substitute phrases like family planning. Most alarming to her detractors, she affirmed an international “right to determine freely the number and spacing of the children” that a woman desires, implying without stating that abortion was a basic human right. In fact, an international news agency later reported that she had called abortion a human right.

Source: God and Hillary Clinton, by Paul Kengor, p.146-148 , Jul 18, 2007

Mother’s difficult childhood sparked concern for kids

In this book and my autobiography, Living History, I wrote about my own mother’s difficult childhood. Abandoned by her teenage parents, mistreated by her grandparents, she was forced to go work as a mother’s helper when she was thirteen. Caring for another family’s younger children while attending high school may sound harsh, but the experience of living in a strong, loving family gave my mother the tools she would need later when caring for her own home and children.

Learning about my mother’s childhood sparked my strong conviction that every child deserves a chance to live up to her God-given potential and that we should never quit on any child.

We all depend on adults whom we know and on those we may not to help us inform, support, or protect our children. In the last ten years, science has proven how resilient children can be despite great obstacles. And that’s where other adults may step in, to help nurture children and to provide positive role models.

Source: 2006 intro to It Takes A Village, by H. Clinton, p. xii-xiii , Dec 12, 2006

OpEd: "It Takes A Village" really means big government

Hillary Clinton made a splash several years ago with her book "It Takes a Village." Those are the words at the beginning of an African aphorism that concludes, "to raise a child." And certainly there's a great deal of truth in that aphorism. But here is the key point that cuts through all of the noise of conservatives and liberals debating social policy: Who is the Village?

Certainly Sen. Clinton didn't mean for us to take the aphorism LITERALLY; her book did not focus on the problem of not enough authentic villages. Rather, she intended "the village" to be understood METAPHORICALLY. Liberals like Sen. Clinton see "the village" as society as a whole--influenced by, directed by, supported by, the supposed goodness of big government.

Conservatives see "the village" as, well, the village: the local community, with the family at the center of it. We believe that only strong families can improve the lives of individuals, especially children, and make for healthy communities.

Source: It Takes A Family, by Sen. Rick Santorum, p. 65-67 , Apr 30, 2006

Teen abstinence is the right thing to do

Reaffirming her support for what used to be called teen celibacy Hillary reminded us that the point is to find out if it works. This is how Senator Clinton put it, in a paragraph I never saw quoted in the press.
Source: The Case for Hillary Clinton, by Susan Estrich, p. 55 , Oct 17, 2005

"It Takes a Village" implies family as part of society

Bob Dole, in his acceptance speech at the Republican Convention, had attacked the premise of my book It Takes a Village. He mistakenly used my notion of the village as a metaphor for "the state" and implied that I, and by extension Democrats, favor government intrusions into every aspect of American life. "After the virtual devastation of the American family, we are told that it takes a village, and thus the state, to raise a child," he said. "I am here to tell you it does not take a village to raise a child. It takes a family to raise a child."

Dole missed the point of the book, which is that families are the first line of responsibility for children, but that the village--a metaphor for society as a whole--shares responsibility for the culture, economy and environment in which our children grow up. The policeman walking the beat, the teacher in the classroom, the legislator passing laws and the corporate executive deciding what movies to make all have influence over America's children.

Source: Living History, by Hillary Rodham Clinton, p.375 , Nov 1, 2003

Even welfare children are better off with their parents

Minor controversy erupted over remarks Newt Gingrich made about welfare reform and orphanages. Some Republicans had suggested that the nation could reduce welfare rolls by placing the children of unwed welfare mothers in orphanages.

I thought this was horrible idea. All the work I have done on behalf of children convinced me that they are almost always best off with their families, that poverty is not a disqualification from good parenting, that financial and social support for families with special problems, including poverty, should be a first step before we give up on them and take away their children. Only when children are endangered by abuse and neglect should the government intervene on their behalf.

In a speech before the New York Women's Agenda on Nov. 30, 1994, I criticized Gingrich for promoting legislation that punished children for circumstances over which they had no control.

Gingrich swung back: "I'd ask her to go to Blockbuster and rent the movie Boys Town [an orphanage]."

Source: Living History, by Hillary Rodham Clinton, p.262-263 , Nov 1, 2003

Caution in treating preschoolers with psychiatric drugs

Hillary Clinton announced a new federal program that cautions parents about giving preschool children Ritalin and other psychiatric drugs meant to treat attention-deficit disorders. The first lady said the effort, involving four federal agencies, is not “to bash” the use of such drugs but to provide more information to parents, school officials, social workers and health-care providers. Citing a recent report in the Journal of the American Medical Association, Mrs. Clinton said that from 1991 to 1995, use of Ritalin among US preschoolers increased 150% and antidepressants like Prozac went up more than 200%. “Some of these young people have problems that are symptoms of nothing more than childhood or adolescence,” she said. She emphasized the need to determine whether family therapy and behavior-modification treatment should be used in conjunction with the drugs to help children who exhibit disruptive emotional or mental problems.
Source: CNN.com , Mar 20, 2000

Parents’ dedication improves kids’ lives

My father was a small businessman, who taught us by his example the values of hard work and responsibility, Hillary said of her parents. “My mother organized our daily lives and fed us with her devotion, imagination and great spirit. I learned from them the importance of families: how parents through their dedication enable their children to have a better life. I think that’s the most important lesson I’ve ever learned.”
Source: www.hillary2000.org “About Hillary” , Jan 1, 2000

Boycott violent media and products

There is an opportunity for more parents to act as consumers. Let people know you’re not going to buy products that support shows and things you do not believe in. Don’t buy those violent video games no matter how much your child begs.
Source: School safety discussion in Tonawanda NY , Aug 5, 1999

Send message: It is the job of children to learn

Our students [should] be given the kind of message my father gave my brothers & me when we were growing up: that school was our work. We were expected to do as well as we could. We need to start with a very clear and unambiguous message-that it is the job of children to learn. It is not only something that they should be doing for themselves, it is something they owe their families & their country. If we send that message, it will break through to families and it will break through to students.
Source: Remarks to NEA in Orlando, Florida , Jul 5, 1999

Help “sandwiched” parents care for elderly plus kids

Millions of Americans take care of aged or disabled loved ones every day. Record numbers remain at home with family and friends, putting more and more working adults in the position of nurturing their children while, at the same time, nursing their aging parents. We call this group the “sandwiched” generation.
There is no simple solution to the problem of caring for our aging and disabled loved ones. These initiatives offer a solid first step, and I am gratified by the support they have received from diverse advocacy groups and members of both political parties.
The senior boom is one of the most important challenges our generation and our children will face in the coming century. It is up to us to prove that the infirmities of age need not be the indignities of age. It is up to us to protect our children and grandchildren from the unsustainable burden of caring for us. It is up to us to do everything in our power now to lift the quality of life for every American family.
Source: “Talking It Over” column , Jan 6, 1999

More funds for after-school programs

As many as 15 million children are left alone at home after school each week, and for their parents at work, these hours are filled with fear and uncertainty. The good news is that funding is now available for hundreds of after-school programs. The bad news is that there’s a long way to go. For every successful program that received a grant last week, seven more applied. Every child in America can be constructively engaged after school. Let’s make sure it happens.
Source: “Talking It Over” column , Nov 18, 1998

Keep kids busy from 2PM to 8 PM to avoid trouble

The period between 2 & 8 PM is when children are most likely to get into trouble. This is when most juvenile crime is committed and when a child’s risk of becoming a victim of crime is greatest. After-school programs offer a wonderful opportunity for children not only to be protected and safe after school but to engage in educational activities as well. Successful after-school programs offer children safe places to do their homework, and counseling to help keep them away from drugs and violence.
Source: “Talking It Over” column , Nov 18, 1998

Spend more time with kids to prevent violence

It’s time to turn the TV off & spend more time with our kids. Time is what every child wants and needs. We live in a fast world, where slowing down to spend time with our families is hard to do-unless we make it a priority. Our children are our greatest gift, our greatest responsibility, our greatest test. Never again do I want to wake in the middle of the night to the news that another child has murdered a classmate. It’s time for us to look into our children’s eyes and remember what’s important.
Source: Column: “Talking it Over” , Apr 20, 1998

Teens not ready for sex; provide havens for alternatives

After many years of working with and listening to American adolescents, I don’t believe they are ready for sex or its potential consequences--parenthood, abortion, sexually transmitted diseases--and I think we need to do everything in our power to discourage sexual activity and encourage abstinence. Young people can learn to value the intimacy of friendships with the opposite sex as well as their own, can enjoy being in groups as well as couples. Those kinds of relationships need adult support, including the time it takes to organize gatherings for kids, instead of turning them loose in malls, video arcades, or the streets. Homes, schools, churches, and communities should provide havens for kids who want an alternative. These same entities have to pitch in when it comes to educating kids about sex.
Source: It Takes A Village, by Hillary Clinton, p.149 , Sep 25, 1996

Change what kids see in the media

We are fed a daily diet of sex and violence and social dysfunction and unrealizable fantasies. We live in a disposable, throw-away society, where the yearning for profits and instant gratification overshadows the need for moderation and restraint and investing for the long-term.

I don’t think there is any doubt that if you give children a steady diet of what they get on most programming, it is going to distort their view of the world.

Source: Unique Voice, p.193-94: Brooklyn College Commencement , Jun 1, 1995

Men should be full participants in child-raising

I was just so struck by how, in our country, we talk a lot about family values and how we want parents to take care of their children. And yet, [some parents] talk about how they were forced onto welfare because they couldn’t get insurance, and men who an’t take raises because if they do, they lose the Medicaid eligibility for their children. Mothers talked about how they’d be better off if they divorced their husbands, because then they could get government assistance. That is just wrong.

Women and children need men to be full participants in the raising of children, and men need the opportunity and joy of being those participants in their own families.

The primary obligation of both parents is to take whatever gift God gave you in the person of that little boy or girl and pay attention to that child’s needs, to respond to that child, to stimulate that child, to be there for that child, and to learn the kind of personality your child has so that you’re allowing your child to flourish.

Source: Unique Voice, p.177 & 181: Larry King Live , May 5, 1994

Improving women's lives improves children's lives

[Speech at 1993 international conference]: We have not solved older, deeply rooted problems that continue to diminish the potential of half the world's population. Now it is time to act on behalf of women everywhere.

If we take bold steps to better the lives of women, we will be taking bold steps to better the lives of children and families too. Families rely on mothers and wives for emotional support and care; families rely on women for labor in the home; and increasingly, families rely on women for income needed to raise healthy children and care for other relatives. As long as discrimination and inequities remain so commonplace around the world--as long as girls and woman are valued less, fed less, fed last, overworked, underpaid, not schooled and subjected to violence in and out of their homes--the potential of the human family to create a peaceful, prosperous world will not be realized. Let this conference be our, and the world's, call to action.

Source: A Patriot's Handbook, by Caroline Kennedy, p.339 , Sep 5, 1993

1973: Legal parallels between marriage and slavery

In a 1973 article, "Children Under the Law," she wrote: "The basic rationale for depriving people of rights in a dependency relationship is that certain individuals are incapable or undeserving of the right to take care of themselves.... Along with the family, past and present examples of such arrangements include marriage, slavery and the Indian reservation system."

Although this statement was interpreted by conservatives to have "likened the American family to slavery," it clearly did no such thing It described how the law had historically treated certain classes of people as dependents on others, without the legal right to speak for themselves. And in doing so, it simply reiterated certain well-known facts. Until modern times, married women had few legal rights and were considered legally dependent upon their husbands.

The fact that there were indeed clear parallels between slavery and marriage in the past in terms of the distribution and administration of power was not a radical concept.

Source: The Inside Story, by Judith Warner, p. 205-6 , Aug 1, 1993

No tea and cookies for her, but no insult intended

I could have stayed home & baked cookies & had teas, but what I decided to do is fulfill my profession. The work I have done has been aimed to assure women can make choices. whether it’s a full-time career, motherhood, or some combination.

I’ve made my share of cookies and served hundreds of cups of tea. It never occurred to me that my comment would insult mothers who choose to stay home with their children. Nor did it occur to me that the headlines would reduce me to an anti-family “career woman.”

Source: Unique Voice, p. 46: Campaign speech , Jul 2, 1992


Hillary Clinton on Child Law

Served as chairman of the Children's Defense Fund

Hillary had served as chairman of the Children's Defense Fund, a national advocacy group, and in Arkansas had run a commission to improve the public school system, which had been ranked among the worst in the nation. Her track record on health policy was limited to having helped her husband put together a program expanding medical care into rural areas of Arkansas and serving on the board of the children's hospital in Little Rock. Her knowledge, she later admitted, was that of "a concerned citizen."
Source: For Love of Politics, by Sally Bedell Smith, Chapter 2 , Oct 23, 2007

Support new parents to promote healthy child development

Hillary has spent her lifetime as an effective advocate for parents and children. From her first job out of law school at the Children’s Defense Fund to her time as First Lady of Arkansas and of the United States to her service in the Senate, helping children has been at the center of Hillary’s public life.
Source: 2008 Senate campaign website, hillaryclinton.com, “Issues” , Sep 1, 2007

For teens, not about birth control, but about self-control

The first lady of Arkansas launched a public education campaign to highlight problems faced by modern teens. She singled out sexual content, stating that society was “bombarding kids with sexual messages on TV, in music, everywhere they turn.” In a throwback to the Park Ridge of the 1950s, she said that both parents and churches were failing teenagers in not doing enough to help them just say no to sex. “Adults are not fulfilling their responsibility to talk to young people about the future, about how they should view their lives, about self-discipline and other values they should have.” She stated, “It’s not birth control, but self-control.”
Source: God and Hillary Clinton, by Paul Kengor, p. 77-78 , Jul 18, 2007

1970s: “I want to be a voice for America’s children”

Hillary’s experience at CDF inspired her to focus on children’s rights. This was a fledging area of the law, as the rights of children had traditionally been covered by family law. Beginning in the early 1960s, several courts began carving out case law that decreed that children possessed a number of limited legal rights.

Hillary learned that children needed their own advocates when they were victims. A lawyer filed a lawsuit on behalf of a woman who sued the Connecticut Department of Social Services, attempting to overturn its decision that foster parents were not eligible to adopt. Hillary lost the case, but it introduced Hillary to a new calling. “I realized that what I wanted to do with the law was to give voice to children who were not being heard.”

Hillary’s mom, Dorothy Rodham, had overcome deep emotional scars with the unselfish help of caring adults and now Hillary knew she wanted to give this gift too. “I want to be a voice for America’s children,” she declared.

Source: Her Way, by Jeff Gerth & Don Van Natta, p. 42-43 , Jun 8, 2007

Supported foster care adoptions as First Lady & as Senator

Many of the ideas from the first edition of this book about how to refocus the foster care system on the best interests of the child were later included in the Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997, which I worked on with the late Republican Senator John Chafee of Rhode Island and others. After the passage of that legislation, foster adoptions increased 64% nationwide from 31,030 the year the law passed to 51,000 last year. As First Lady, I met many young people aging out of foster care who had little of the emotional, social, and financial support families provide. I worked on the Foster Care Independence Act of 1999, which provides young people aging out of foster care with support services, including access to health care, educational opportunities, job training, housing assistance, and counseling. In the Senate, we passed a law that provides financial incentives to people who adopt older children.
Source: 2006 intro to It Takes A Village, by H. Clinton, p.299-300 , Dec 12, 2006

I've spent 30 years worrying about impact of media on kids

We're asked [by Hillary's critics] to accept that the real Hillary wouldn't make a speech upbraiding Hollywood for making poison. The fact is, she would; she has; she does. Just this past March, she took on the industry, just as she has for years:

"It is probably the single most commonly mentioned issue to me by young parents, almost no matter where I go, when we start talking about raising children. We start talking about the challenges of parenting today, and all of a sudden people are exchanging their deep concerns about losing control over the raising of their own children, ceding the responsibility of implicating values and behaviors to a multi-dimensional media marketplace that they have no control over and most of us don't really understand because it is moving so fast we can't keep up with it. And so I've spent more than 30 years advocating for children and worrying about the impact of the media."

You don't have to convince Hillary that it's poison, or that parents need help.

Source: The Case for Hillary Clinton, by Susan Estrich, p.111-113 , Oct 11, 2005

Critics misinterpret 70s article on "Children Under the Law"

In Hillary's 1970s Harvard Educational Review article "Children Under the Law," she gave lawyers the go-ahead to "remodel" the family. As Senator, she complains about the "misinterpretation" of her article in "Living History." "Conservative Republicans twist my words to portray me as 'anti-family.' Some claimed that I wanted children to be able to sue their parents if they were told to take out the garbage."

In the original piece, Hillary says, "Ascribing rights to children will force from the judiciary and the legislature institutional support for the child's point of view." In the essay, Hillary reveals her view that the family and marriage are just artificial constructs--policies, really--that can be altered at will: "The basic rationale for depriving people of rights in a dependency relationship is that certain individuals are incapable of the right to take care of themselves. Examples of such arrangements include marriage, slavery, and the Indian reservation system."

Source: Madame Hillary, by R. Emmett Tyrrell, p.129-130 , Feb 25, 2004

1974 article: put abused children into state care

My first article, titled “Children Under the Law,” was published in 1974 in the Harvard Educational Review. My views were shaped by what I had observed as a volunteer for Legal Services representing children in foster care & by my experiences at the Child Study Center in Yale-New Haven Hospital. I advised doctors as they tried to ascertain whether a child should be put into the child welfare system. I come from a strong family and believe in a parent’s presumptive right to raise his or her child as he or she sees fit. But at Yale-New Haven Hospital, I saw children whose parents beat and burned them; who left them alone for days in squalid apartments; who failed and refused to seek necessary medical care. The truth was that certain parents abdicated their rights as parents.

Who would have predicted that during the 1992 presidential campaign, nearly two decades after I wrote the article, conservative Republicans like Marilyn Quayle and Pat Buchanan would twist my words to portray me as “anti-family”?

Source: Living History, by Hillary Clinton, p. 50 , Nov 1, 2003

Leave politics out of Elian decision

I wish everybody would take a deep breath and step back, and let’s try to get this child into a safe, permanent, loving unexploited home and family as soon as possible.
I believe personally that this little boy should be with his father, but I also believe this is not a decision politicians should be making.
Source: New York Times, Page A25 , Apr 4, 2000

Governments can’t love child; but it can help families

No government can love a child, and no policy can substitute for a family’s care. But at the same time, government can either support or undermine families as they cope with moral, social and economic stresses of caring for children.
Source: New York Magazine.com , Apr 3, 2000

Decide Elian’s fate via ongoing INS legal process

Hillary Clinton today opposed congressional action to make Elian Gonzalez a US resident, putting herself at odds with Vice President Gore. “Hillary knows that we must take politics out of this decision,” said her campaign spokesman, echoing President Clinton’s position. “Elian’s future should be determined as quickly as possible through the appropriate, ongoing legal process.” The Immigration and Naturalization Service has ruled that Elian belongs with his Cuban father.
Source: Associated Press in Washington Post, p. A3 , Apr 2, 2000

Treat kids as “child citizens” not “minors” under the law

Her work with Marian Wright Edelman she now calls a “personal turning point.” Hillary spent the summer of 1970 in Washington working on behalf of poor families, some of them in migrant labor camps. Under the tutelage of Edelman, Hillary published her first scholarly article“ Children Under the Law.” At the time, children had almost no legal rights. Hillary argued that “categorizing everyone under 18 or 21 as a minor is artificial and simplistic; it obscures the dramatic differences among children of different ages and the striking similarities between older children and adults.“ She advocated abolishing the legal status of ”minor,“ and with it the presumption that children are legally incompetent. Instead, she argued for a new concept of children as ”child citizens“ who should have all the procedural rights granted adults under the Constitution. This was the turning point at which Hillary declared, ”I want to be a voice for America’s children.“
Source: Hillary’s Choice by Gail Sheehy, p. 86 , Dec 9, 1999

No dividing line between government vs. parents & children

[While writing “It Takes a Village”, Hillary saw that] what happens between parents and children is not separate from what happens between government and governed. There is no dividing line between foreign policy and women’s and children’s issues, no hard and soft issues. Her book was meant to encourage broad support within communities for raising a child. Hillary knew how vital it was to have teachers and mentors as a counterforce to the limitations a child might be unable to escape at home.
Source: Hillary’s Choice by Gail Sheehy, p.272 , Dec 9, 1999

Early-warning hotlines for homicidal & suicidal students

We need more social workers & counselors who are trained to see the early warning signs in the schools. I would like to see nation-wide hotlines where students, and even teachers, can make referrals, anonymously if necessary, to try to bring attention to those students who are on the brink of homicidal or suicidal activity. And we have to do everything possible to keep guns out of the hands of children. There are too many guns & too many children have access to those guns-we have to prevent that.
Source: Remarks to NEA in Orlando, Florida , Jul 5, 1999

Expand Family and Medical Leave Act

In 1993, the first bill my husband signed after taking office went into effect-the Family and Medical Leave Act. I agree that the FMLA should be expanded to include smaller companies because it’s “the right thing to do.” And what about other family obligations? Shouldn’t we recognize the importance of routine commitments, such as parent-teacher conferences or medical appointments? Isn’t it time to expand the FMLA to allow workers 24 hours of leave each year to meet these responsibilities?
Source: “Talking It Over” column , Aug 5, 1998

Raised issues of maternity leave at 1980s Rose Law

Inside the Rose Law firm, Hillary was fighting a new battle of her own. In Feb. 1980, she had given birth to Chelsea. I reiterate--these weren’t Stone Age lawyers Hillary was working with. Many were Ivy League educated, or Rhodes scholars. But in spite o that, they had been brought up in a certain world, and that world was changing. Hillary was the messenger.

They had assumed she would quit “when her husband got a real job.” They had assumed she would quit “when Bill became governor.” Surely she would quit “when she had a baby.” When Hillary gave birth to Chelsea, the partners questioned whether she would be paid for the six weeks she took off. They also thought it was shameful for her to leave her new baby and come back to work.

None of this carping was done in her face, you understand. That wasn’t the Rose firm way. But in private meetings and over lunch, they would say, “Does she really expect to be paid for when she was away?” They criticized her every chance they got.

Source: Friends in High Places, by Webb Hubbell, p. 78-79 , Nov 1, 1997

Family Leave Act is a good start; paid leave better

When I became pregnant in 1979, my law firm did not have a maternity leave policy. I wound up with a four-month maternity leave that enabled me to spend much-needed time getting accustomed to my new role as a mother. But most new parents don’t meet with anything like this kind of accommodation.

The Family and Medical Leave Act guarantees unpaid leave to employees in firms with more than 50 workers. Many parents, however, cannot afford to forgo pay for even a few weeks, and very few employers in America offer paid maternity leave.

Only about half of all female workers of childbearing age are eligible for short-term disability benefits that would cover pregnancy and childbirth, because the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978, while it prohibits discrimination against these conditions, does not mandate coverage where none exists.

Source: It Takes A Village, by Hillary Clinton, p.198-199 , Sep 25, 1996

Against social service agency interference in families

Conservatives have called Hillary Clinton a proponent of more government interference in the home. In fact, time and again in her writings over the years, she has argued that less is best. Although it is true that her idea of granting children competency would have made it easier for the state to remove them from parental control in abuse situations, Hillary Rodham was actually one of the first legal scholars to warn against excessive government interference in family life through social service agencies
Source: The Inside Story, by Judith Warner, p. 208 , Aug 1, 1993

1970s: Learned child law theory at CDF and at Yale

Hillary approached Marian Wright Edelman and asked if she could work during her summer break for the Washington Research Project [the predecessor of Edelman's Children's Defense Fund]. Hillary asked her whether, if she could figure out how to be paid, sh could come to work for her. Edelman said of course.

Edelman sent her to work with Senator Walter Mondale's subcommittee, which was studying the conditions of workers in migrant labor camps. She did interviews with workers and their families, assessing the hardships their children suffered. She later studied the problems posed by segregated academies that were fighting for tax-exempt status under the Nixon Administration. She returned to New Haven afterward with her interest in children now backed by professional experience and a sense of her own potential for accomplishment.

At that point Hillary sought out faculty members with whom she could further her interests in children's legal theory and increase her knowledge of child development.

Source: The Inside Story, by Judith Warner, p. 61 , Aug 1, 1993

1973: Researched "Beyond the Best Interest of the Child"

Hillary studied children's rights at Yale's Child Study Center. And she also helped research a book, Beyond the Best Interests of the Child, which was published in 1973. The thesis of the book was to set standards for evaluating the best interests of the child in regard to conflicts in custody placement.

Working with other faculty members, Hillary participated in direct observations of children at play. She assisted the center's nursery school teachers, observed while diagnostic tests were conducted, and took part in a reading seminar on child development literature. She applied herself to learning what she could about children's development goals and needs with as much rigor as she had earlier directed to the field of law. Her focus was particularly directed at normal childhood development and its variations. She impressed her instructors with her understanding of, and compassion for, the complexity and depth of children's lives.

Source: The Inside Story, by Judith Warner, p. 62 , Aug 1, 1993

1973: Create legal scale of graduated maturity for children

Children had virtually no legal rights when Hillary wrote her 1973 article. The "dependency relationship" that children necessarily had with their parents assumed that non-delinquents did not have a separate right to independent legal counsel. This, Hillary Rodham argued, was a gross oversight, and deprived children of a fair chance to have their special needs and interests recognized by the law.

She suggested abolishing the legal status of minority, and that all procedural rights guaranteed to adults under the Constitution should be granted to children whenever the state moves against them. She made the point that the legal reasoning that characterizes as "minor" everyone under 18 or 21 was artificial and simplistic and did not take into account the dramatic differences in competency among children of different ages. Hillary argued in favor of creating a scale of graduated maturity, through which the increasing competence of children would be taken into account.

Source: The Inside Story, by Judith Warner, p. 206-7 , Aug 1, 1993

1979: Child's future shouldn't be unilaterally by parents

A frequently quoted statement of Hillary Rodham's comes from a chapter in a 1979 book Children's Rights: Contemporary Perspectives: "Decisions about motherhood and abortion, schooling, cosmetic surgery, treatment of venereal disease, or employment & others where the decision or lack of one will significantly affect the child's future should not be made unilaterally by parents." This was taken by conservatives to mean that she favored teenagers suing their parents to have a nose job or liposuction. But in fact, "there's nothing in her articles that addresses the issue of children suing their parents." The citation at issue was actually part of a longer paragraph that sought to limit the kinds of "extreme cases" in which courts might intrude in resolving conflicts between children's rights and their parents. The whole issue of court or government intervention in to the private sphere of the home is one in which her views have been particularly distorted.
Source: The Inside Story, by Judith Warner, p. 207-8 , Aug 1, 1993


Hillary Clinton on It Takes a Village

A family is a child’s first school

We need to do more to help our families prepare their children. A family is a child’s first school. The parents are a child’s first teacher. We need to support it through nurse visitation or social work or child care, & do more with the pre-kindergarten program. This has to fit into an overall innovation agenda because we can’t just say, go to school longer. We need to do what happened when I was in school and Sputnik went up, and our teacher said, your president wants you to study math and science.
Source: 2007 Democratic debate at Drexel University , Oct 30, 2007

Hillary’s “village” criticized as Big Government

When Hillary explains her views on the “village” [from her book “It Takes a Village”], Hillary tries to have it both ways. She wants people to believe she is promoting the values of Middle American when she is promoting an extreme agenda that would use the power of government to reeducate people to behave in accordance with her feminist values.

When Bob Dole noted that Hillary’s “village” was in fact big government, Hillary feigned umbrage. “He mistakenly used my notion of the village as a metaphor for the state and implied that I, and by extension Democrats, favor government intrusion into every aspect of life.”

But Dole was not mistaken. Here are a few things you will find in Hillary’s village: Universal health care; Parent education featuring home visitors; Government programs to tell children what to eat; Government-funded TV; Government-funded preschool/day care starting at three or younger. This is good?

Source: The Extreme Makeover, by Bay Buchanan, p.153-157 , May 14, 2007

Chelsea benefited from “village” & from two parents

When I wrote It Takes a Village ten years ago, our daughter Chelsea, a lively teen, was engaged with school, church, ballet, and friends. Now that Chelsea is grown up, I look back and see more clearly than ever how much we benefited from the village every step of the way and how much better off she is for having not just two parents, but other caring adults in her corner. And I have yet to meet a parent who didn’t feel the same way.
Source: 2006 intro to It Takes A Village, by H. Clinton, p. xi-xii , Dec 12, 2006

It takes a village to raise a child, in interdependent world

The African proverb “It takes a village to raise a child” summed up for me the commonplace conclusion that, like it or not, we are living in an interdependent world where what our children hear, see, feel, and learn will affect how they grow up and who they turn out to be. The five years since 9/11 have reinforced one of my main points: How children are raised anywhere can impact our lives and our children’s futures.
Source: 2006 intro to It Takes A Village, by H. Clinton, p. xii , Dec 12, 2006

It Takes a Village and a president who believes

We have learned that to raise a happy, healthy, and hopeful child, it takes a family, it takes teachers, it takes clergy, it takes business people, it takes community leaders, it takes those who protect our health and safety, it takes all of us.

. Yes, it takes a village.

And it takes a president. It takes a president who believes not only in the potential of his own child, but of all children--who believes not only in the strength of his own family, but of the American family, who believes not only in the promise of each of us as individuals, but in our promise together as a nation

Source: What Every American Should Know, by the ACU, p. 68 , Sep 30, 2005

Leave no child behind; it still takes a village

When I worked for the Children’s Defense Fund, we had a trademark: Leave no child behind. We’ve made great progress in the last eight years, but we still have a lot of work to do. Because when a child can’t go to school without fearing guns and violence -- that’s a child left behind. When a child’s illness is not treated because a hard-working parent can’t afford health insurance -- that’s a child left behind. When a child struggles to learn in an overcrowded classroom -- that’s a child left behind.

What will it take to make sure no child in America is left behind in the 21st century? It takes responsible parents who put their own children first. It takes all of us -- teachers, workers, business owners, community leaders and people of faith. You know, I still believe it takes a village.

Source: Address to the Democratic National Convention , Aug 14, 2000

Community support is key to valuing families

The theme of her book, [“It Takes a Village”, is] community support. She [illustrates with] a personal story: “There I was, trying to breast-feed my baby [Chelsea], and all of a sudden she starts foaming at the nose. The nurse surveyed the scene and said, ‘Mrs. Clinton, it would help if you lifted her head up.’ All those years of education, all those degrees, it was no help. For all the talk about family values in this country, we do so little to value families.”
Source: Hillary’s Choice by Gail Sheehy, p.288 , Dec 9, 1999

Society is responsible for alienation that causes violence

Q: Do you hold the parents accountable for the actions that their children have committed in Littleton & Springfield? A: Everyone has to be responsible for his or her own actions, so the individuals who have committed these crimes have to be held responsible. But we have to ask ourselves, what is it that leads a young person to feel so alienated, to feel so much hatred, to have unmet needs that would push them over the brink to do this. So I think we have to hold people responsible.
Source: ABC’s “Good Morning America” , Jun 4, 1999

“It Takes a Village” is about relationships, not geography

When I am talking about “It Takes a Village”, I’m obviously not talking just about or even primarily about geographical villages any longer, but about the network of relationships and values that do connect us and binds us together.
Source: Speech at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government , Oct 4, 1996

Children are not rugged individualists

Children are not rugged individualists. They depend on the adults they know and on thousands more who make decisions every day that affect their well-being. All of us, whether we acknowledge it or not, are responsible for deciding whether our children are raised in a nation that doesn’t just espouse family values but values families & children.

I have spent much of the past 25 years working to improve the lives of children. My work has taught me that they need more of our time, energy, and resources. But no experience brought home the lesson as vividly as becoming a mother myself.

When Chelsea Victoria Clinton lay in my arms for the first time, I was overwhelmed by the love and responsibility I felt for her. Despite all the books I had read, all the children I had studied and advocated for, nothing had prepared me for the sheer miracle of her being.

Source: It Takes A Village, by Hillary Clinton, p. 1 , Sep 25, 1996

Give parents tools to balance work and family.

Clinton adopted the manifesto, "A New Agenda for the New Decade":

Strengthen America’s Families
While the steady reduction in the number of two-parent families of the last 40 years has slowed, more than one-third of our children still live in one- or no-parent families. There is a high correlation between a childhood spent with inadequate parental support and an adulthood spent in poverty or in prison.

To strengthen families, we must redouble efforts to reduce out-of-wedlock pregnancies, make work pay, eliminate tax policies that inadvertently penalize marriage, and require absent fathers to pay child support while offering them new opportunities to find work. Because every child needs the attention of at least one caring and competent adult, we should create an “extended family” of adult volunteer mentors.

Family breakdown is not the only challenge we face. As two-worker families have become the norm, harried parents have less time to spend on their most important job: raising their children. Moreover, parents and schools often find themselves contending with sex- and violence-saturated messages coming from an all-pervasive mass entertainment media.

We should continue public efforts to give parents tools to balance work and family and shield their children from harmful outside influences. For example, we should encourage employers to adopt family-friendly policies and practices such as parental leave, flex-time, and telecommuting. Public officials should speak out about violence in our culture and should press the entertainment media to adopt self-policing codes aimed at protecting children.

Source: The Hyde Park Declaration 00-DLC4 on Aug 1, 2000

Rated 0% by the Christian Coalition: an anti-Family-Value voting record.

Clinton scores 0% by the Christian Coalition on family issues

The Christian Coalition was founded in 1989 by Dr. Pat Robertson to give Christians a voice in government. We represent millions of people of faith and enable them to have a strong, unified voice in the conversation we call democracy.

    Our Five-Fold Mission:
  1. Represent the pro-family point of view before local councils, school boards, state legislatures, and Congress
  2. Speak out in the public arena and in the media
  3. Train leaders for effective social and political action
  4. Inform pro-family voters about timely issues and legislation
  5. Protest anti-Christian bigotry and defend the rights of people of faith.
Our ratings are based on the votes the organization considered most important; the numbers reflect the percentage of time the representative voted the organization's preferred position.
Source: CC website 03n-CC on Dec 31, 2003

Ban high lead levels in children's toys.

Clinton co-sponsored banning high lead levels in children's toys

OFFICIAL CONGRESSIONAL SUMMARY: A bill to direct the Consumer Product Safety Commission to classify certain children's products containing lead to be banned hazardous substances.

SPONSOR'S INTRODUCTORY REMARKS: Sen. OBAMA: The unfortunate reality for many children--particularly in low-income and minority households--is the continued presence of high blood lead levels. Lead is a highly toxic substance that can produce a range of health problems in young children, including IQ deficiencies, hyperactivity, and damage to the kidneys, brain and bone marrow.

We know that lead poisoning is completely preventable. As the Nation has increased efforts to reduce environmental lead exposure, the number of children with high blood levels has steadily dropped. Restricting lead in gasoline and paint represent two major accomplishments in this regard. But much work remains to be done.

Disturbingly, lead is present in a number of toys and other frequently used objects by young children. About half of tested lunch boxes have unsafe levels of lead. In 2004, there were 3 recalls of nearly 150 million pieces of toy jewelry because of toxic levels of lead. And the Consumer Product Safety Commission has dragged its feet in aggressively addressing the problem of lead in toys.

It's a national disgrace that toys that could pose a serious and significant danger to children are readily available in our department stores and markets. The Lead Free Toys Act of 2005 will help us keep our children safe and healthy, and contribute to national efforts to reduce lead exposure.

LEGISLATIVE OUTCOME:Referred to Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation; never came to a vote.

Source: Lead Free Toys Act (S.2048/H.R.668) 05-S2048 on Nov 17, 2005

Sponsored bill against renting violent video games to kids.

Clinton sponsored disallowing violent-rated video game rentals to children

OFFICIAL CONGRESSIONAL SUMMARY:

SPONSOR'S INTRODUCTORY REMARKS: Sen. CLINTON: I rise today to introduce a bill to help parents protect their children against violent and sexual media. I stand with the parents and children of the Nation, all of whom are being victimized by a culture of violence.

As parents, we monitor the kind of people who interact with our children. If somebody is exposing our children to material we find inappropriate, we remove our children from that person. Yet our children spend more time consuming media than doing anything else but sleeping and attending school. Media culture is like having a stranger in your house, and it exerts a major influence over your children.

This bill would take an important step towards helping parents protect their children against influences they often find to be inappropriate--violent and sexually explicit video games. Quite simply, the bill would put teeth into the video game industry's rating system, which specifies which video games are inappropriate for young people under 17. By fining retailers who do not abide by the ratings system, this bill sends a message that the ratings system is to be taken seriously.

LEGISLATIVE OUTCOME:Referred to Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation; never came to a vote.

Source: Family Entertainment Protection Act (S.2126) 05-S2126 on Dec 16, 2005

Call for a White House Conference on Children and Youth.

Clinton co-sponsored calling for a White House Conference on Children and Youth

The White House Conference on Children and Youth in 2010 Act - Directs the President to call a White House Conference on Children and Youth in 2010 to: (1) encourage improvements in each state and local child welfare system; and (2) develop recommendations for actions to implement express policy regarding federal, state, and local programs. The Congress finds the following:

  1. In 2005 there were over 3,000,000 reports of child abuse and neglect, and only 60% of the children from the substantiated reports received follow-up services and 20% were placed in foster care as a result of an investigation.
  2. Almost 500,000 children and youth were in foster care at the end of 2004 and nearly 800,000 spent at least some time in foster care throughout the year.
  3. There is an over-representation of certain populations, including Native Americans and African-Americans, in the child welfare system.
  4. The State courts make key decisions in the lives of children involved in the child welfare system, including decisions of whether children have been victims of child abuse, whether parental rights should be terminated, and whether children should be reunified with their families, adopted, or placed in other settings.
Source: Conference on Children and Youth in 2010 Act (S2771/HR5461) 08-S2771 on Mar 13, 2008

Other candidates on Families & Children: Hillary Clinton on other issues:
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