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Rockefeller Commission Report


ROCKEFELLER COMMISSION REPORT. The National Commission on Children, created by Congress in 1987, began its deliberations two years later and presented its report in 1991. Chaired by Senator John D. "Jay" Rockefeller IV of West Virginia, the commission was broadly based and included representatives of all levels of government, business and civic leaders, and child welfare administrators. Its purpose was to "assess the status of children and families in the United States and propose new directions for policy and program development." The resulting assessment was bleak: one in five children lived in poverty, two out of five were at risk for failure in school, one out of four was being raised by a single parent, and millions were involved in sexual promiscuity, drug and alcohol abuse, and crime. The commission recommended early intervention, support through government programs and workplace benefits, and a general shoring up of families. Most controversial among the recommendations were a proposed $1,000-per-child tax credit and a proposal that employers provide unpaid parental leave for births, adoptions, and other family emergencies. The commission proposed new federal spending of $52 to $56 billion annually, which gave rise to substantial public criticism.


Downs, Susan. Child Welfare and Family Services: Policies and Practice. Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 2000.

Harr, John Ensor. The Rockefeller Conscience: An American Family in Public and Private. New York: Scribners, 1991.

Stein, Theodore. Child Welfare and the Law. Washington, D.C.: CWLA Press, 1998.

EllenGray/a. g.

See alsoLost Generation ; National Urban League ; Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children ; Youth Movements .

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