National Panel On Child Issues Begins Its Work

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Washington--The National Commission on Children, a Congressionally created body charged with studying the problems of the young and making policy recommendations to deal with them, officially began its work here last week.

Senator John D. Rockfeller 4th of West Virginia, the commission's chairman, said in describing the group's mission, "It will be a challenge to review budgets and federal policies to determine how they interact and impact our children."

The commission was created by the Congress in late 1987, but was not funded until 1988. Last week's meeting was its first and was primarily organizational in nature.

The panel will hold public forums and undertake other activities aimed at compiling a report listing specific policy recommendations for the President and the Congress in the areas of education, health, social services, income security, and tax policy.

The commission's members were appointed by the President, the Senate, and the House. Each was allowed to select 12 panelists.

President Reagan appointed 11 commissioners, and President Bush is expected soon to fill the final slot.

Among the commission's members are Gov. Bill Clinton of Arkansas, California Superintendent of Public Instruction Bill Honig, the entertainer Bill Cosby, former Senator Lowell P. Weicker Jr., and Mary Hatwood Futrell, president of the National Education Association.

Robert L. Woodson, founder of the National Center for Neighborhood Enterprise, also serves on the panel. Mr. Woodson, a Reagan appointee, last week reportedly turned down an offer to serve as undersecretary of Housing and Urban Development or in some other position within hud.

At the commission meeting, Mr. Woodson said he would like to "declare a moratorium on failure studies," urging instead that the body study why, for example, "50 percent of teenage girls are not becoming pregnant."

The panel is expected to hold a series of hearings in various cities and to commission several studies from the General Accounting Office, the research arm of the Congress, before presenting its report in September of 1990.--rrw

Vol. 08, Issue 21

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