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Memorandum on the White House Task Force for Disadvantaged Youth

December 20, 2002

Memorandum for the Attorney General, the Secretary of Agriculture, the Secretary of Labor, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, the Secretary of Education, the Director of National Drug Control Policy, the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, the Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy, the Assistant to the President and Director of the USA Freedom Corps, the Deputy Assistant to the President and Director of the Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, the Chief Executive Officer of the Corporation for National and Community Service

Subject: White House Task Force for Disadvantaged Youth

An unacceptably large number of American youth fail each year to develop the academic, social, and citizenship skills necessary to succeed in our country. For example, 60 percent of fourth graders from low-income families cannot read at grade level, more than 2.6 million teens use illicit substances each month, and 400,000 teens commit violent crimes each year. Many of these young people grow up in economic and social environments that place them at a significant disadvantage.

The Federal Government has spent billions of dollars over the last 30 years in a variety of programs to address these issues. A 1998 analysis by the General Accounting Office has pointed out that there were 117 Federal programs administered by 15 departments aimed at disadvantaged youth. Some of these programs have been very successful. However, overall, the Federal Government's efforts and programs to assist disadvantaged young people have been fragmented and not as successful as hoped.

Consistent with my interest in improving the effectiveness of Federal programs in general, and in programs for disadvantaged youth in particular, in fostering ways that citizen service can bring about important change, I hereby direct the following:

Section 1. Establishment of Task Force.

(a) There is hereby established, within the Executive Office of the President, the "White House Task Force for Disadvantaged Youth" ("Task Force"). The Task Force shall consist of:

(i) the Attorney General, Secretary of Agriculture, Secretary of Labor, Secretary of Health and Human Services, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Secretary of Education, Director of National Drug Control Policy, Director of the Office of Management and Budget, Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy, Assistant to the President and Director of the USA Freedom Corps, Deputy Assistant to the President and Director of the Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS); and

(ii) such other Federal officials as the Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy may from time to time, on my behalf, designate.

(b) The Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy, or in that Assistant's absence, the Assistant to the President and Director of the USA Freedom Corps, shall serve as Chairman of the Task Force. The Chairman shall convene and preside at meetings of the Task Force, determine its agenda, direct its work and, as appropriate with particular subject matters, establish and direct subgroups of the Task Force that shall consist exclusively of the Task Force members.

(c) A member of the Task Force may designate, to perform the Task Force or Task Force subgroup functions of the member, any person who is part of the member's agency and who is an officer appointed by the President with the advice and consent of the Senate, or a member of the Senior Executive Service (or, in the case of the CNCS, an employee of the CNCS designated by the CEO of the CNCS).

Sec. 2. Functions of the Task Force. The Task Force shall develop, and submit in accordance with section 3 through the Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy for my approval, a comprehensive Federal response, under existing authorities and programs, to the problems of youth failure, with a focus on enhanced agency accountability and effectiveness. Objectives shall include: (a) coordinating interagency efforts to address the problems of failure among disadvantaged youth; (b) developing a unified research plan to identify effective practices that help disadvantaged youth; (c) incorporating positive youth development practices that help disadvantaged youth; and (d) analyzing and quantifying the impact of Federal efforts aimed at disadvantaged youth. These objectives shall be carried out consistent with my Administration's implementation of performance-based budgeting.

Sec. 3. Reports. In performing its functions, the Task Force shall present to me, through the Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy:

(a) not later than April 30, 2003, a preliminary report of their initial overall assessment of the Federal response to failure among disadvantaged youth under existing authorities and programs, including a work plan that details the goals and objectives for the Task Force and evaluates the potential for expanding successful Federal disadvantaged youth programs through program consolidation, redirection of resources, and elimination of ineffective programs; and

(b) not later than October 1, 2003, a final report describing the actions of the Task Force to respond to the problem of youth failure and submitting for my approval the comprehensive Federal response to which section 2 refers.

Sec. 4. Termination. The Task Force shall terminate 30 days after the date of the submission of the final report as described in section 3(b) of this memorandum.

Sec. 5. General. (a) Agencies and the CNCS shall assist and provide information to the Task Force consistent with applicable law as may be necessary to carry out the functions of the Task Force. To the extent permitted by law, the CNCS shall provide funding and administrative support for the Task Force.

(b) As used in this memorandum, the term "agency" means an executive department or agency of the Federal Government.

(c) Nothing in this memorandum shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect the functions of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget relating to budget, administrative, or legislative proposals.

(d) This memorandum is intended only to improve the internal management of the Federal Government and is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or equity by a party against the United States, its departments, agencies, instrumentalities or entities, its officers or employees, or any other person.

GEORGE W. BUSH

NOTE: This memorandum was released by the Office of the Press Secretary on December 23.

George W. Bush, Memorandum on the White House Task Force for Disadvantaged Youth Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/212696

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