Guide to Government Services
- Grades: 3–5, 6–8
Every American citizen is entitled to seek services from the Executive Branch. After all, government was created for your needs, not the other way around. The following tells you what services are available from the 13 departments in the Executive Branch.
Department: Department of Agriculture, 14th St. and Independence Ave. SW, Washington, D.C. 20250
Head: Secretary of Agriculture
Services: Helps provide electricity and telephone services in rural areas. Inspects plants and animals for evidence of disease. Finds markets for farm crops. Pays farmers subsidies when their crops bring too low a price.
People Most Often Helped: Farmers, conservation groups
Department: Department of Commerce, 14th St. between Constitution Ave. and E St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20230
Head: Secretary of Commerce
Services: Collects information on U.S. industries. Helps find foreign markets for American goods. Protects and develops ocean's resources. Runs National Weather Service. Issues patents for new inventions. Counts the population and gathers other statistics to aid in business and government planning.
People Most Often Helped: Business people, scientists, professors, lawyers
Department: Department of Defense, The Pentagon, Washington, D.C.
Head: Secretary of Defense
Services: Plans defense of U.S. against possible attack. Builds new weapons systems. Runs Army, Navy and Air Force. Advises President on military problems.
People Most Often Helped: Aircraft and weapons manufacturers, friendly foreign governments
Department: Department of Education, 400 Maryland Ave. SW, Washington, D.C. 20202
Head: Secretary of Education
Services: Oversees all federal assistance to education and compliance to civil rights laws in schools receiving assistance. Promotes improvements in education by collecting and disseminating information on successful school programs and encouraging state and local government involvement.
People Most Often Helped: Teachers, school administrators, students
Department: Department of Energy, 1000 Independence Ave., Washington, D.C. 20585
Head: Secretary of Energy
Services: Researches new ways of generating energy. Promotes energy conservation. Runs the nuclear weapons program. Regulates energy production, use, pricing. Tries to protect environment, safeguard consumers.
People Most Often Helped: Oil and gas producers, scientists
Department: Department of Health and Human Services, 200 Independence Av. SW, Washington, D.C. 20201
Head: Secretary of Health and Human Services
Services: Supports research in health. Operates Centers for Disease Control. Helps states fight drug abuse and alcoholism. Inspects food and drugs for health hazards. Helps disabled citizens find work. Collects social security tax and sends monthly checks to those who qualify. Helps pay for medical care for elderly.
People Most Often Helped: Doctors and patients, old people, blind and disabled people, retired workers, unemployed people, poor people
Department: Department of Housing and Urban Development, 451 Seventh St. SW, Washington, D.C. 20410
Head: Secretary of Housing and Urban Development
Services: Provides low-interest loans for construction of housing for the poor, the elderly, and the handicapped. Helps finance community services construction. Helps low income families pay rent and get mortgages for housing. Gives grants for fixing up run-down neighborhoods.
People Most Often Helped: Homeowners, apartment dwellers, local governments, state governments, savings and loan banks, minority groups, real estate people, neighborhood associations
Department: Department of Interior, C. St. between 18th and 19th Sts. NW, Washington, D.C. 20240
Head: Secretary of the Interior
Services: Runs the national parks. Protects fish and wildlife. Searches the U.S. for new mineral resources. Provides information on all lands and waters in U.S. Helps Indians meet needs of health, education, and employment. Manages 450 million acres of mineral and forest lands. Supports programs of outdoor recreation. Irrigates arid lands.
People Most Often Helped: Tourists and vacationers, Native Americans, conservation groups, mining companies, lumber companies, farmers, scientists
Department: Department of Justice, Constitution Ave. and 10th St., NW, Washington, D.C. 20530
Head: Attorney General
Services: Employs FBI to search out violators of federal law. Argues cases of federal law to the courts. Defends the U.S. government against legal suits. Runs federal prisons. Controls immigration to the U.S. and the granting of citizenship. Assists state and local police with problems of law enforcement.
People Most Often Helped: Civil rights groups, consumer groups, conservation groups, law enforcement groups, lawyers, local and state police, persons seeking citizenship
Department: Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Ave. NW, Washington, D.C. 20210
Head: Secretary of Labor
Services: Supports employment bureaus, run by the states. Provides job training for youth, veterans, and unemployed workers. Pays the states for giving workers unemployment benefits. Helps to settle disputes between unions and businesses. Sets up standards of safety in factories and office buildings. Gathers statistics on nation's labor force.
People Most Often Helped: Wage earners, labor unions, unemployed people, youth, business people
Department: Department of State, 2201 C St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20520
Head: Secretary of State
Services: Advises President on foreign policy. Negotiates treaties and agreements with foreign nations. Collects information about foreign nations. Issues passports to Americans traveling abroad. Represents U.S. abroad and in international agencies.
People Most Often Helped: Businesspeople with interests in foreign trade, tourists, foreign governments
Department: Department of Transportation, 400 Seventh St. SW, Washington, D.C. 20590
Head: Secretary of Transportation
Services: Runs the Coast Guard, which makes ports and harbors safe for navigation. Controls planes, airports, and air traffic through Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Builds federal highways and aids building of state highways. Gives financial help to the nation's railroads. Gives money to states and cities for mass transit systems (buses and subways). Sets up standards of highway safety.
People Most Often Helped: Airlines, railroads, road construction companies, state governments, boat owners, shipping companies
Department: Department of the Treasury, 1500 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Washington, D.C. 20220
Head: Secretary of the Treasury
Services: Collects income taxes through internal Revenue Service (IRS). Coins and prints money (Bureau of the Mint). Runs Secret Service for guarding President and Vice-President and protecting money against counterfeiting. Sells U.S. Savings Bonds. Supervises national banks. Collects duty on imported goods. Enforces regulations and laws on all foreign goods brought into the U.S.
People Most Often Helped: Bankers, accountants, law enforcement groups, importers
Adapted from The Presidency, Congress, and the Supreme Court, Scholastic Inc., 1989.