Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Parenting and the President - Part 7 - The Bush Years and the Formation of NEPI

As indicated in Part 6 of this series (September 23, 2009), efforts to create a Presidential Commission on Effective Parenting were moving along nicely in the Clinton White House until the Monica Lewinski scandal stopped everything.

During the George W. Bush years, I and the Center for the Improvement of Child Caring again attempted to encourage the president to become a champion of effective parenting but did so with many similarly committed people and organizations.

A Well-Developed Initiative Proposed

This time we were proposing a carefully developed Effective Parenting Initiative that was based on a comprehensive conceptualization of the central roles that effective parenting and parenting education play in promoting the healthy growth of America’s children, and in preventing such costly and tragic domestic problems as child abuse and neglect, drug abuse, juvenile delinquency, school drop out, as well as a variety of other health, mental health, learning and social problems.

The Initiative included a Department or White House Office of Effective Parenting, along with a National Council, a Research Institute, a Training Center and a Clearinghouse to educate the public. Our contacts in the Bush administration were very positively disposed but indicated that the ideas needed to be shaped as having originated with the president and the first lady, not from Dr. Alvy and CICC. We adhered to their suggestions for nearly a year, rewriting the Initiative as coming directly from the president. Then there was to be a White House Briefing with the Domestic Policy Council leadership which would be the first official step in adopting the Initiative.

Here again, we were on the brink of a briefing that eventually could turn all of these efforts into policies that would be promoted by the president of the United States.

This briefing was to take place in December 2005 while I was in Washington for a national convention. But two weeks before I left for DC, I received a call from our contact in the Bush administration and was informed that the briefing had to be cancelled because key members of the Domestic Policy Council were suddenly called away from Washington.

At that point it seemed wise to use the trip to Washington to meet with other elected officials from both parties to see if they wanted to be involved with such an Initiative. Meetings were speedily arranged with the staffs of Senators from New York, Massachusetts, Wisconsin and a member of the House of Representatives from Nebraska. The meetings were held and the staffs of all these Congressional leaders were very positively disposed toward the basic ideas and the the reasons for having such an Initiative. They also indicated that it would require a long time to move such ideas through congress but the president could move them forward right now by issuing an Executive Order.

Formation of The National Effective Parenting Initiative (NEPI)

The thought of eventually having to move these ideas through Congress, with elected officials from every state having to be convinced of their merit, led us to conclude that this work required many, many more Dr. Alvys and CICCs to make it happen. That realization led to the founding and formation of an advocacy and membership organization which we called the National Effective Parenting Initiative (NEPI) and which officially started in September 2006.

After founding NEPI and getting the support of many of our nation's top parenting authorities and organizations, I called our contact person in the Bush administration to inform him of the creation of NEPI and to see if the previously cancelled White House Briefing could be re-scheduled.

Within a week I got a call back with an invitation to come to Washington in December 2006 to lead such a White House Briefing. This immediate action undoubtedly had to do with both our contacts positive attitudes toward what was being proposed and also with the fact that more people and more organizations were doing the proposing.

The next article in this series will be concerned with the actual briefing and what it led to.


How You Can Be Involved...

You can participate by commenting on this and future articles in The Parenting and the President series.

You can become supportive through letting the world know that it would be a better place if all children were raised by effective and sensitive parents who receive excellent parenting education. You can express such sentiments through signing our online Effective Parenting Petition (check here).

And /or you can become a member and supporter of the NEPI, the National Effective Parenting Initiative.

There are three types of memberships available, each of which has its own series of educational benefits and involvement opportunities. Click on the membership type you are most interested in learning about:

Your membership dues are not only used to provide the member benefits but to also support the various advocacy actions that are needed to bring these important matters to the attention of the president and the public in general. This entire effort is of a grassroots nature and membership dues, and funds that have been contributed to CICC over the years, are the only monies that are supporting it now.

For those of you who want to make a financial contribution but do not want to become members of NEPI, you can support this grassroots effort by making a tax-deductible contribution to CICC.

Click here to donate.

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