Earlier this week America lost Sargent Shriver, an extraordinary champion of our country's most vulnerable children and families.
He is perhaps best remembered as the person President Johnson chose in February of 1964 to lead the War on Poverty as Director of the Office of Economic Opportunity. Mr. Shriver developed a multi-faceted campaign designed not only to address problems of economic hardship, but also to bolster the efforts of those struggling to assure civil rights for all Americans. It would become one of the most important initiatives of the Johnson Administration and led to the creation of programs such as Head Start, now a part of ACF.
At the time, Mr. Shriver laid out a philosophy remarkably similar to our mission today. "The War on Poverty," he said, "is a means of making life available for any and all pursuers. It does not try to make men good -- because that is moralizing. It does not try to give men what they want -- because that is catering. It does not try to give men false hopes -- because that is deception. Instead, the War on Poverty tries only to create the conditions by which the good life can be lived -- and that is humanism."
Sargent Shriver's dedication and commitment ensured that millions of disadvantaged children and their families had an equal opportunity to succeed. The Administration for Children and Families continues to live Sargent Shriver's vision daily as we work to promote the economic and social well-being of families, children, individuals and communities across the country.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family as we continue to implement his vision of an America where all can prosper.
Acting Assistant Secretary for Children and Families