Walk down any street in this city or wander into any public school, visit any shelter for the homeless or a welfare hotel, tour the maternity or pediatric ward of any public hospital and you'll see that New York's children are in trouble, desperate trouble. . . .

The facts about this generation are tragic, but they are also chillingly real. There are 14 million children living in poverty in this country today and more than one and a quarter million children living in poverty in New York State. . . .

And because of unjust federal budget cuts and policies, they are more likley to suffer death and disease, hunger and cold, and abuse or neglect than they were four years ago. . . .

An article of faith that is at the very foundation of our nation, one that has guided us throughout the centuries and molded our vision of democracy, is in grave danger. I am referring to our faith in a better future. . . .

Presidents as differing in philosophy as Coolidge, Eisenhower, Nixon, Carter, Roosevelt and Johnson have had that kind of faith. And because they did, they initiated programs and introduced legislation that gave children futures that held promise. . . .

The task before us is great. We must generate new interest in poor children and a commitment to their futures on the local, state and national levels without letting one substitute for the other. . . .

We can prove that investments in programs for poor children create long-term savings that more than offset short-term costs. The truth is that most of the public programs for children and youth have worked.