Children & Families

A strong advocate for West Virginia's children and families, Senator Jay Rockefeller has worked throughout his career in public service to help strengthen their quality of life. He has fought to increase access to health care for all West Virginians, especially for children; improve early childhood education and family wellness; raise awareness of adoption and child welfare services; and protect children from indecent and violent content in the media and cyberbullying.

In the early 1990s, Senator Rockefeller was tapped to serve as chairman of the bipartisan National Commission on Children, which examined federal programs aimed at improving overall child wellbeing, from birth through adolescence. It focused on a broad range of issues including income security, health care, education, and family values. With Senator Rockefeller's support many of the recommendations from the Commission's bipartisan report became law, including a bold refundable child tax credit and a major expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). Another key recommendation of the Commission was later turned into law by Senator Rockefeller through the landmark 1997 Children's Health Insurance Program, which has provided millions of low-income children with access to health care.

A longtime supporter of Head Start and child nutrition programs, Senator Rockefeller has worked to ensure that West Virginia's network Head Start programs have the resources they need to be effective in their communities. Senator Rockefeller also was successful in securing $1.6 billion nationwide for a home visiting grant program that provides new parents with support and education on the importance of child development so all children have a healthy start.

Additionally, Senator Rockefeller has held roundtables with groups of West Virginia parents, law enforcement, educators, and children's service professionals to talk about the importance of enhanced privacy measures for our children on the Internet. Before becoming Chairman on the Commerce Committee, Senator Rockefeller fought for years to protect children from inappropriate content on television and introduced legislation to inform the American public and safeguard children from increasing depictions of indecent and gratuitous and excessive violent material on television.