On Wednesday, First Focus sponsored a summit on Capitol Hill focused on how children’s programs have fared in the federal budget. Speakers included Congresswoman Rose DeLauro (D-CT), New York Times columnist David Brooks, and Bruce Lesley, First Focus’ President. First Focus also released their annual budget summary, Children’s Budget 2012. One of the main focuses of the discussion was the impact that discretionary spending cuts in the past two years have had on children’s programs as well as the threat that the looming sequestration cuts pose to these programs, topics which CWLA has covered extensively through our These Cuts Won’t Heal campaign.
In addition, Child Trends released its new report on local, state, and federal spending on child abuse and neglect. Among the key findings in the report are that between fiscal years 2008-2010 while total spending increased, mainly through increased federal support authorized in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the rate of growth decreased. Furthermore, in 2008, for the first time, state spending on child welfare exceeded federal spending, due in large part to the continuing decrease in the penetration rates for federal IV-E foster care payments. Finally, the report notes the critical role that the Social Services Block Grant plays in the increases in federal spending, highlighting the harmful impact that cutting or eliminating that program would have on the child welfare system, as called for in this year’s House budget.