WASHINGTON (AP) _ About half the children at the Housatonic Community Technical College in Bridgeport, Conn., are from single-parent homes, one-third from poor families.

They're just the type of kids that President Clinton hoped would benefit from his $21.7 billion child care proposal, which would provide tax credits to help parents pay for day care and tax incentives for businesses to provide child care for their employees.

Highlighting the importance of early learning, Clinton was visiting the Connecticut facility today as part of a week of events revolving around family and children's issues.

Monday, Clinton called on Congress to act on tobacco legislation this year, and devote some funding to an effort to prevent teen-agers from smoking.

Wednesday, he will focus on women's issues during an observance of International Women's Day, and will take up the youth smoking issue again on Thursday in a speech at the White House before the National Association of Attorneys General.

White House aides said Clinton was drawn to the Housatonic school because it serves so many children who are in poverty or from broken homes.

The Housatonic program has 47 pre-schoolers, ages 3 to 5, about half of whom are the children of faculty, staff or students at the college.

The president also was to address a fund-raising luncheon by the Democratic Business Council in Westport, Conn., before departing for Cincinnati to speak at a private fund-raiser hosted by Stanley Chesley, an attorney who has represented smokers in lawsuits against the tobacco industry.

The two events were expected to raise $850,000, said Democratic National Committee spokeswoman Melissa Bonney.