Hillary Clinton has spent her life fighting for children—here are 8 ways she’s changed their lives.
And she’s not done.
Election Day is around the corner. While millions of Americans have voted already, this is our last chance to make the case for why Hillary Clinton should be our country’s next president. Help spread the word to your friends (it’s best coming from you). Read this article, share it, and make a plan to vote today.
Over the past five decades, Hillary Clinton has gone from campus activist to Democratic Party presidential nominee; law student to secretary of state. But even amid all of this change, one thing about Hillary has remained a constant: Her dedication to defending and protecting America’s children.
Well before she entered the public eye, Hillary believed that “no matter when they’re born—no matter to whom they are born—our children’s future is shaped both by the values of their parents and the policies of their nation.”
And she has worked tirelessly over her career—as a lawyer, first lady, senator, and secretary of state—to improve the lives of as many kids as she could.
Here are eight ways Hillary changed the lives of America’s children:
1) In 1973: Hillary went to work at the Children’s Defense Fund
During law school, Hillary spent a summer researching the education, health and living conditions of migrant children and families—which helped spark a lifelong mission to ensure that our country provides for all children.
So, after graduating from Yale Law, she went to work for the Children’s Defense Fund, where she went door-to-door in New Bedford, Massachusetts to help collect stories about why so many children, especially those with disabilities, were not attending school. That research helped build the case for a groundbreaking law that required public schools to provide better educational opportunities for these students.
2) In 1977: Hillary co-founded one of Arkansas’ early child advocacy groups.
As one of the founders of Arkansas Advocates for Children, Hillary helped establish an organization that has expanded opportunities for kids, particularly those in the welfare system, for 35 years—through juvenile criminal justice reform, children’s health care, and education.
3) In 1979: Hillary became a strong advocate for the state’s only pediatric hospital, helping start Arkansas’ first advanced nursery for premature or ill infants.
As a fundraiser and board member for the only children’s hospital in Arkansas, Hillary helped grow the relatively small institution into the establishment it is today—a hospital that has proudly trained a generation of pediatricians. In 1980, Hillary even went as far as to fly to New York—while pregnant with Chelsea—to help the hospital secure a good enough bond rating to borrow the money it needed to expand. And over her time on the board, she also helped create the state’s first advanced neonatal clinic.
4) In 1983: Hillary helped reform and improve Arkansas’s public school system.
After being appointed to the Arkansas Education Standards Committee, Hillary made it her mission as first lady to learn everything she could about the public school system—so she could reform with input from real families.
This research ultimately led her and a team of educators to help create policies aimed at better preparing Arkansas’ students to enter the workforce—because, in her words, it was “time we started getting a little fanatic about math and science.” In the years that followed, Arkansas’ school system saw dramatic improvements.
5) In 1985: Hillary helped establish the Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters (HIPPY) program in Arkansas.
As first lady of Arkansas, Hillary wanted to help parents prepare their children for school—so she started researching. Eventually, she came across a preschool program that had started in Israel, which she brought to Arkansas. The program, HIPPY, immediately took off, and has spread across the country in the time since—now helping over 15,000 families in almost 140 communities give their preschool aged children educational enrichment.
6) In 1997: Hillary worked with Republicans and Democrats to pass the Children’s Health Insurance Program, giving 8 million children health coverage.
After a long battle to pass universal health care—which ultimately failed—as first lady, Hillary refused to give up. And eventually, her hard work paid off when Congress passed the bipartisan Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). CHIP slashed the uninsured rate among American children in half, and the program now provides healthcare to over 8 million kids.
7) Starting in 2001: Hillary helped write laws aimed at improving education and further protecting children’s health.
As soon as Hillary was elected to the Senate, she got to work on all manners of legislation for America’s children—ranging from bills aimed at recruiting and retaining high-quality educators, to ones that improved the safety of pediatric medication.
8) Starting in 2009: Hillary fought against the exploitation of children—especially young girls—around the world.
Representing America on the global stage as secretary of state, Hillary stood up against sex trafficking and led the fight for a U.N. Security Council resolution to combat sexual violence against women and children in conflict zones. She also worked to advance LGBT rights abroad, which helped communicate to some of the world’s most vulnerable children that their sexual orientation should never be held against them.
Hillary’s always fought for children—and she has no plans of slowing down in the White House. As president, she’ll advocate for the issues she’s worked on her whole life, like:
- Making early childhood education a birthright—by expanding preschool, increasing child care investments, giving a RAISE to America’s child care workforce, investing in Early Head Start, awarding scholarships, and more.
- Implementing federal paid family and medical leave, so that our workplace rules incorporate an understanding of what it’s like to raise a family in the 21st Century.
- Establishing affordable childcare and universal pre-K.
- Providing support for the 17 million children coping with mental health problems, making sure to promote early diagnosis and intervention.
- Improving K-12 education, by modernizing teaching; expanding access to computer science; rebuilding America’s schools; and dismantling the school-to-prison pipeline.
You can read more about her plans on our issue pages.