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Memorandum on the Welfare Initiative for Teen Parents

May 10, 1996

Memorandum for the Secretary of Health and Human Services

Subject: Welfare Initiative Regarding Teen Parents

This memorandum will confirm my directive to you to implement the plan I announced on Saturday, May 4, 1996, to help teen parents break free of the cycle of welfare dependency by living at home, staying in school, and getting the education they need to get good jobs.

I direct you to exercise your legal authority to take the following steps to implement that plan:

(1) require States to submit plans describing how they will ensure that teen parents stay in school and prepare for employment;

(2) require teen parents who have dropped out of school to sign personal responsibility plans that spell out how such teens are going to move towards supporting and caring for themselves and their children, including attendance at school;

(3) allow States to reward with cash allowances teen parents who stay in school and graduate, as well as require States to sanction teens who do not;

(4) challenge States to use the authority they have to require minor mothers to live at home; and

(5) monitor State performance in the foregoing areas.

You have advised me that you have legal authority to take these actions under titles IV-A and IV-F of the Social Security Act.

The plan I have outlined will help assure that the welfare system requires teen parents to follow responsible paths to independence. Its swift implementation is vital to achieving our goal of further instilling the American values of work, family, and personal responsibility into our welfare system.


William J. Clinton, Memorandum on the Welfare Initiative for Teen Parents Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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