Launch of the Leadership To Address the Issue of Childhood Drinking
In response to this national public health threat, Leadership To Keep Children Alcohol Free was conceived in the spring of 1999 and launched in 2000 by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, in partnership with The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), to bring the scope and dangers of early alcohol use to the public’s attention and to mobilize National, State, and local action to prevent it. This multiyear, multimillion-dollar initiative provided support to participating Governors’ spouses, who convey the initiative’s messages within their States and nationally through State policy briefings, outreach to and through the media, broad distribution of educational materials and public service announcements, and personal appearances. Both the RWJ and NIAAA funding ended in 2007.
The Leadership To Keep Children Alcohol Free initiative evolved into an incorporated, non-partisan, non-profit organization in 2004 to further the work of the Leadership Initiative. The Foundation is composed of current and former Governor's spouses who have an interest in its mission. Its mission is to support the efforts of current Governor's spouses or their representatives, both in their states and nationally, to prevent or reduce childhood drinking, especially among the 9-15 year old population.
Leadership membership is composed of Governors' spouses or their designate, who are also prosecutors, judges, educators, business leaders, substance abuse prevention specialists, and parents. They often act as a point of contact in their state conveying news about their state's underage drinking prevention initiatives, and also taking information back to their consitituencies. The Leadership initiative provides members with a source of information to use as they reach out to these audiences. Leadership outreach occurs through the Leadership Web site, through a set of informative materials (see publications), and through the Weekly Update, an email digest of current articles and research important to the field of underage drinking."
The Leadership To Keep Children Alcohol Free Foundation views the issue of childhood drinking as a significant public health issue. Therefore, we strive to engage all levels of society (national, state, and local) and all sectors of the community (parents, educators, community members, elected officials, doctors and judges, etc) working together to keep children from drinking alcohol.
Childhood drinking is a national priority.
Support the efforts of the Governors' spouses, in their state and nationally, to prevent and reduce childhood drinking, especially among youth, 9-15 years old.
Prompt national, state and local action to reduce or eliminate childhood drinking by:
- increasing the perception of harm and social disapproval of childhood drinking;
- initiating and sustaining national conversation on childhood drinking;
- educating the public about the incidence and impact of early alcohol use by children between 9 and 15 years of age;
- energizing the public to address these issues within their families, schools and communities in a sustained way that seeks to elicit change; and
- focusing the attention of state and national policymakers and opinion leaders on the seriouslness of the early onset of alcohol use.