Across America, parents share a common dream that their children’s lives will be healthier, happier, and more promising than their own. On Child Health Day, we rededicate ourselves to making that dream a reality and recommit to providing every child with the quality health care, childcare and education they need to thrive.
Supporting our children means first and foremost protecting them. The devastating truth is that guns are currently the number one killer of children in the United States. This is unacceptable, which is why I signed the first major bipartisan law in almost 30 years to keep firearms away from people who pose a danger to themselves and others, and to protect innocent children from rampant gun violence — especially in schools. That’s just the beginning; I will continue to push for an assault weapon ban that restricts access to these dangerous weapons on America’s streets and in our communities. No child should have to live in fear.
At the same time, parents shouldn’t have to lie awake at night wondering how to pay for their child’s treatment or hospital care. Thanks to the American Rescue Plan and other important initiatives by my government, one million children have received health insurance since I took office. My Inflation Reduction Act will also lower health insurance premiums for 13 million Americans. To give hard-working parents more breathing room during the pandemic, I’ve expanded the child tax credit — a measure that’s estimated to have helped reduce child poverty by over 40 percent in the past year. That money transformed the lives of families who all too often have to choose between a paycheck and caring for themselves and their loved ones. Additionally, in September, I convened the first White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition and Health in more than 50 years, where we released a national strategy to create a path to free, healthy school meals for all children — beginning with the Expand free school meals to 9 million more children by 2032.
My administration’s efforts to address the national mental health crisis, particularly among our nation’s youth, build on these important actions. Today, suicide is the second leading cause of death among young people aged 10 to 24, and in recent years there has been an increase in mental health emergencies among young people of all ages. In response, my administration is making it easier for children across America to access mental health specialists through their pediatric offices. We’re helping address the harms of social media use on adolescent mental health and investing billions of dollars to expand access to mental health services and professionals in schools. We also educate states on how to use all federal funds, including Medicaid, to improve the delivery of health care in schools. We’re already making progress. Since July, the number of school social workers has increased by 54 percent compared to the years before the pandemic. During the same period, the number of counselors has increased by 22 percent, and the number of school nurses has also increased by 22 percent.
To protect our children from the COVID-19 pandemic, my government has rolled out vaccines for children as young as 6 months to ensure children and young children are safer in all public spaces, including classrooms and daycare. We’re making affordable high-speed Internet available to every American, so students no longer have to sit in fast-food parking lots just to use the WiFi to do their homework. I secured funding to help replace every single lead pipe in the nation so no one has to question the quality of the water their child is drinking. The Inflation Reduction Act will also replace thousands of diesel school buses with electric buses and save our children from inhaling dangerous fumes.
I know there is still so much work to be done to build a future worthy of our children’s hopes and dreams. We must ensure free, quality preschool for every American child and further reduce health care costs for American families. I continue to call for tax breaks for middle-class parents and new laws that protect our children from violence at school and at home. I will do everything in my power to tackle the climate crisis and leave a healthier planet for future generations. To win the competition for the future, we must continue to build a healthier and safer nation for our children. Our families and our country depend on it.
Congress, by a joint resolution, as amended (36 USC 105), adopted on May 18, 1928, called for the designation of the first Monday of October as Child Health Day and asked the President to issue a proclamation celebrating that day.
THEREFORE, I, JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR., President of the United States of America, by power of authority vested in me by the United States Constitution and laws, hereby proclaim Monday, October 3, 2022: as Child Health Day. I call on families, child health professionals, religious and community organizations, and governments to help keep America’s children safe and healthy.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF I have laid my hand upon this thirtieth day of September, in the year of our Lord two thousand and twenty-two and of the independence of the United States of America on the two hundred and forty-seventh.
JOSEPH R BIDEN JR