Department of Justice Seal


THURSDAY, APRIL 23, 1998 (202) 616-2765

TDD (202) 514-1888




In Aftermath of Jonesboro Tragedy,

Reno Articulates New Challenges

in Reducing Truancy, Gun Violence and Substance Abuse

In a major policy address, Attorney General Janet Reno announced today in Atlanta that a new coalition of national service organizations will work in local communities to reduce youth violence. The "Coalition for America's Children" will meet five new challenges articulated by Reno.

The Coalition is forming at a time of continuing national concern about youth violence and in the wake of the tragedy in Jonesboro. United Way of America is the first organization to take on these challenges. Her announcement took place at the group's Community Leaders' Conference.

"I am very pleased to announce that today, as part of this conference, United Way has agreed to help lead a national coalition of service providers - The Coalition for America's Children - to advance five specific, concrete, measurable goals aimed at improving the health and safe development of our children," said Reno.

"Over the next two years, the Coalition will aim to make a dramatic difference in children's health care, school attendance and after-school enrichment, added Reno. "The Coalition will attack two other problems which impact children of all ages - gun violence and the abuse of alcohol and drugs."

According to Reno, the five goals that United Way has agreed to begin pursuing on behalf of the new Coalition are:

*To reduce truancy by one-third in 200 school districts across the nation;


*To develop new programs in 200 communities aimed both at teaching young people and gun owners about safe and responsible gun ownership and at keeping guns out of the hands of young people who possess them illegally;

*To create constructive, engaging, after-school opportunities for 100,000 children who previously have not had access to these initiatives;

*To ensure that 100,000 more children will participate in effective programs to prevent and discourage alcohol and drug abuse; and

*To enroll 500,000 children - or approximately 10% of the eligible children - in health insurance programs.

"By bringing together concerned adults from parent and teacher groups, from law enforcement, from the medical and religious communities, from academia and from every other group that cares about children, I believe this Coalition can substantially improve our nation in a lasting way," said Reno.

"As we are busy teaching children to be accountable for their actions, let us, too, be accountable to them, marshalling all our best resources and energies to ensuring that they have a chance at a healthy, productive life."