Friday, February 19, 2010

Prevent Child Abuse America Legislative Update.

President Obama’s FY 2011 Budget Request

Earlier this month, President Obama released his comprehensive budget request for FY 2011. Despite freezing the overall non-defense discretionary spending level, the President’s proposal does include a number of much needed investments in children, including increases to Child Care, Head Start and Early Head Start, Promise Neighborhoods, and early learning initiatives. It also includes proposed increases to funds within the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. Many states utilize TANF to fund prevention services, such as home visiting.

The request marks the beginning of the annual federal budget process. Congress will take the proposals into consideration as it develops a Budget Resolution setting the overall revenue and spending parameters for the year.

Core Prevention Funding

The following are recommendations in the budget request for programs that either specifically identify child abuse and neglect prevention as a core purpose, or are flexible funding sources that states have used to fund prevention efforts.

Home Visiting State Grant Program
Last year, the President proposed new mandatory funding for a state grant program for home visiting. As a result of this request, a grant program was included in the health care reform bills passed by the House and the Senate. Congress and the Administration are still working towards an agreement on differences between the House and Senate health care reform bills. The FY 2011 budget request assumes that Congress will pass health care reform, and therefore the new home visiting state grant program. Officials from the Administration explained that because of this assumption, the Administration did not specifically identify the home visiting state grant program in the FY 2011 budget request.

CAPTA Funded at $107 Million - $10 Million increase
The Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) embodies the federal commitment to preventing child maltreatment, but has not been funded adequately to meet the demand for community-based prevention programs.

Level Funds CAPTA Community-based Grants (CBCAP) at $41 Million
CBCAP helps states develop and implement effective approaches to preventing child abuse and neglect. CBCAP is currently authorized at $80 million.

Level Funds CAPTA State Grants at $27 Million
State grants provide funds for states to improve child protective services. CAPTA State Grants are currently authorized at $84 million.

Increases CAPTA Discretionary Grants to $39 Million
CAPTA discretionary research and demonstration grants pay for valuable data collection, technical assistance, and grant-funded research and demonstration projects. The $10 million increase is to be directed towards a new competitive grant program to encourage states to use evidence-based practices for preventing child abuse and neglect.

Home Visiting Project: In FY 2009, $13.5 million was included in the CAPTA discretionary grant to support the 2nd year of a 5 year evidence-based home visiting initiative. Funding to continue the initiative was included in the House and Senate FY 2010 appropriations bills, but was dropped when the bills were merged. Legislators cited the state program for home visiting included in health care reform as the reason for zeroing out the funding, even though the programs serve distinct purposes and passage of the new state grant program is not assured. The 17 grantees are funded through September 30, 2010. Prevent Child Abuse America is working to identify opportunities to restore funding for the project.

MCH Block Grant Increased by $11 Million
The President requests funding the Maternal Child Health (MCH) Block Grant at $673 million in FY 2011, an $11 million increase over current funding. MCHB provides funding to states to improve the health, safety, and well-being of mothers and children.

PSSF Level Funded at $368 Million
The Promoting Safe and Stable Families (PSSF) grant program helps states pay for family support, family preservation, family reunification, and adoption support. States must spend at least 20% of their grant on each of the four categories, making it the largest dedicated source of funding for prevention. PSSF is divided into a discretionary funding stream, which is subject to annual appropriations, and a mandatory funding stream, which is funded without having to be appropriated each year.

Mandatory Funding Request: The President requests $305 billion in mandatory funding for PSSF, which is the fully authorized level, and the level provided in FY 2010.

Discretionary Funding Request: The President requests $63 million in discretionary funding for PSSF, the same level of funding provided in FY 2010, and $137 million below the fully authorized level of $200 million.

SSBG Fully Funded at $1.7 Billion
HHS reports that the Social Services Block Grant (SSBG) funded preventive services for 20 percent of the total child recipients of preventive services in 2007. SSBG is a mandatory grant to states, meaning that it does not go through the annual appropriations process. Despite that, SSBG has been cut in appropriations bills in past years. The request for full funding should offer protection against cuts this year.

TANF Funding Extended and Increased
The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program’s authorization expires this year. The President’s budget requests that the TANF Block Grant ($16.7 billion), Supplemental Grants ($319 million), and Contingency Fund ($1.855 billion) be extended through FY 2011 and makes the following additional policy recommendations:

New $500 Million Fatherhood, Marriage, and Families Innovation Fund
The President proposes eliminating the Healthy Marriage and Responsible Fatherhood Fund, currently funded at $150 million, and establishing a new Fatherhood, Marriage, and Families Innovation Fund. The fund would be distributed as 3-year competitive grants to states to support the development, implementation and evaluation of:

a) Comprehensive fatherhood programs that rely on strong partnerships with community-based organizations. Examples given include expanding service provided through child support enforcement offices, funding comprehensive fatherhood programs, and eliminating barriers to employment; and

b) Demonstrations geared towards improving child outcomes by improving outcomes for custodial parents with serious barriers to self-sufficiency. Examples given include home visiting, subsidized employment, transitional jobs, and mental health and substance abuse treatment.

Priority will be given to states proposing activities supported by strong evidence. The programs will have to be rigorously evaluated. The fund would be mandatory, so it would not have to go through the annual appropriations process once it is authorized by Congress.

TANF Emergency Fund Extended and Purposes Expanded
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA/stimulus bill) enacted last year provided $5 billion over 2 years for a TANF Emergency Fund. The budget request provides $2.5 billion to extend the Fund through FY 2011 to help pay for increased expenditures on cash assistance, employment-related services, and other related services. More details on the Administration’s request to expand the purpose of the fund are expected in the coming weeks.

Additional Funding for Children and Families

Programs in this category represent funding that is not traditionally utilized for prevention services, but provides critical support to children and families. Also included are new initiatives that have the potential to be utilized for prevention, but more information is needed. The list is not exhaustive, but is meant to highlight programs that Prevent Child Abuse America and our Chapter and Healthy Families networks have identified as having particular relevance to our goal of fostering healthy child development.

Child Care Increased by $1.6 Billion: The Child Care Development Fund (CCDF) consists of a mandatory funding stream and a discretionary funding stream. The President’s request increases child care mandatory funding by $800 million, to $3.7 billion and calls for mandatory funding to be adjusted for inflation after FY 2011. The President also requests that discretionary funding be increased by $800 million to $2.9 billion. The budget request lays out principles for reauthorizing CCDF, including improving quality, expanding professional development opportunities, and promoting coordination across early childhood programs.

Early Learning Challenge Fund Proposed: The President requests $9.3 billion over 10 years for a new Early Learning Challenge Fund to make competitive grants to states to improve the quality of early learning programs. Managed by the Department of Education, the initiative would provide grants to states for the development of a statewide infrastructure of integrated early learning supports and services for children, from birth through age five. The President first recommended the creation of the fund in his FY 2010 budget request. The House passed legislation authorizing the fund in 2009. A companion Senate bill has not yet been introduced.

Federal Foster Care Assistance Temporarily Increased: ARRA included a temporary 6.2 percent increase to the federal matching rate (FMAP) for title IV-E foster care and adoption assistance. The FY 2011 budget request extends the temporary FMAP increase through June 2011.

Head Start and Early Head Start Increased by $989 Million: The President’s FY 2011 budget request provides $8.2 billion to Head Start and Early Head Start. The request maintains the expansion provided under ARRA and provides a cost of living increase for grantees.

Healthy Start Increased by $5 Million: The President requests $110 million for Healthy Start in FY 2011, a $5 million increase over current levels. Healthy Start provides services to reduce risk factors that contribute to infant mortality.

Literacy Programs Consolidated, Overall Funding Increased to $450 Million: The FY 2011 budget zeroes out funding for Even Start, Early Reading First, Striving Readers, Literacy Through School Libraries, National Writing Project, Reading is Fundamental, and Ready-To-Learn Television, totaling $413.3 million. That funding is then applied towards a new $450 million competitive state literacy grant program.

Promise Neighborhoods Increased by $200 Million: The Promise Neighborhoods competitive grants were initiated last year for community-based organizations to develop and implement plans for comprehensive neighborhood programs modeled after the Harlem Children’s Zone. The initiative is designed to improve education and life outcomes through providing entire neighborhoods with comprehensive services from birth through college. Congress provided $10 million for the Promise Neighborhoods in FY 2010. The President is requesting that Congress authorize the program and provide $210 million in FY 2011.

Strengthening Communities Fund Eliminated: ARRA provided $50 million for a competitive grant to build the capacity of nonprofit and governmental organizations that partner with faith-based and community-based organizations. The fund replaced the Compassion Capital Fund, which had been funded at $48 million in FY 2009. The President’s request does not continue funding for the recovery program in FY 2011.

WIC Increased by $350 Million: The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) provides low-income at-risk pregnant and post-partum women, infants, and children with vouchers for nutritious supplemental food packages, nutrition education and counseling, and health and immunization referrals. WIC was funded at $7.25 billion in FY 2010. The President is requesting $7.6 billion in FY 2011.

Next Steps

The House and Senate will soon begin drafting Budget Resolutions that will provide the broad spending and revenue framework for FY 2011. Once approved, Congress will act on annual appropriations bills for discretionary funding and authorizing legislation for mandatory funding.

We expect this to be a difficult budget year and Members of Congress will need to hear from their constituents about the value and benefits of federal investments in prevention.

Prevent Child Abuse America will send requests for action to the Prevent Child Abuse Chapter and Healthy Families networks throughout the year. If you are not a member of one of these networks, but want to help, please let us know.

Any questions can be directed to Bridget Gavaghan at 312.663.3520, ext. 819 or at

No comments: