ECM believes that greater investments in children’s well-being are essential to keep America competitive and to meet our moral obligation to future generations.
Recent health care reform and nutrition legislation are important advances for children, but we now face an environment in which these gains could be repealed and billions could be cut from successful federal programs.
ECM advocates for responsible long-term deficit reduction through a combination of revenue increases and spending cuts that do not harm low-income and vulnerable people.On Monday February 13th, the Obama Administration released its budget proposal for 2013. While not every federal children's program is funded at the levels needed, the budget makes substantial new investments in areas supported by ECM. Specifically:
- Early care and learning – The budget supports a deepening investment in the Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge to build statewide systems of high-quality early learning and development to close the school readiness gap. The budget includes over $8 billion for Head Start and Early Head Start to serve 962,000 children and families, maintaining the expansion which began in 2009. The Budget provides $300 million in new resources to improve child care quality and prepare children for success in school.
- Child nutrition – The budget provides full funding to support the 9.1 million individuals expected to participate in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women Infants and Children (WIC) program. The budget supports continued implementation of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, which increases children's access to healthy meals and snacks.
- Reducing child abuse and neglect – The budget provides $2.5 billion over 10 years in new funding for states that show improvements in measures of child welfare outcomes, including child abuse and neglect. The federal incentives would help states finance innovative services and continuous improvement in foster care.
- Child Poverty – The budget permanently extends expansions of the Child Tax Credit and the Earned Income Tax Credit to provide a larger credit to 11.8 million families with 21.3 million children. The expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit is worth up to $600 for families with three or more children, benefitting 5.8 million families with 12.5 million children.
- Children with Disabilities – The budget provides $8 million for the Special Olympics, which aims to increase participation among people with intellectual disabilities in social relationships and other aspects of community life.
- College Affordability – The budget maintains a commitment to the 10 million students who receive Pell Grants by sustaining the $5,635 maximum award. The budget proposes to make the American Opportunity Tax Credit permanent. AOTC helps more than 9 million students and their families afford the cost of college.
The President's budget proposal now goes to Congress. It represents a good first step, but children need your support if it is to become law. Please contact your Representative and Senators and tell them you support a federal budget that invests in children. This is particularly important in 2012 as Congress must make tough budget choices or every children’s program could be cut by almost 10% next year because of agreements Congress made in 2011. We oppose any effort to cut Head Start, child care, nutrition, or any other program that promotes child well-being. The needs of children are in competition for the same resources with much more powerful forces in the Congress. It is more important than ever to make your voice heard: click here.
See more budget-related articles: