President Obama’s budget strengthens commitment to families

obama-header2An op-ed by Michael Petit from the Augusta Free Press.

President Obama released his budget for 2015 this week. In it, he details many important initiatives the administration has for improving the health, education, and safety of America’s children and youth.

They include:

The Preschool for All initiative, a partnership with the states, to provide all low- and moderate-income four-year-olds with access to high-quality preschool, while encouraging states to expand those programs to reach additional children from middle-class families and establish full-day kindergarten policies.

Access to high-quality infant and toddler care to a total of more than 100,000 children through Early Head Start-Child Care Partnerships, and support of Head Start grantees who are expanding program duration and investing in teacher quality, through additional funding in the Opportunity, Growth, and Security Initiative.

An expansion of evidence-based, voluntary home visiting programs, which enable nurses, social workers, and other professionals to connect families to services to support the child’s health, development, ability to learn, and to prevent abuse and neglect.

A substantial commitment to both maintain the number of children served by the Child Care Development Fund and improve the quality of care, with sufficient mandatory funding to support more than 1.4 million children for a full ten years while investing in significant quality improvements.

Help for 100,000 teachers in 500 districts to make effective use of new broadband connectivity as the Administration works to achieve the President’s goal of connecting 99 percent of American students to the digital age through broadband and wireless in schools and libraries.

A modernization of the Child Support Enforcement Program, which touches the lives of one-quarter of the Nation’s children and helps secure contributions toward their financial and emotional well-being from non-custodial parents.

$299 million for the Justice Department’s Juvenile Justice Programs which include evidence-based investments to prevent youth violence.

The ongoing implementation of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 with an increased investment of $35 million in school equipment grants to aid in the provision of healthy meals and continued support for other school-based resources.

$20 billion for the Housing Choice Voucher program to help more than 2.2 million low-income families afford decent housing in neighborhoods of their choice.

A strengthening of Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) by providing tools to States, Territories, and the federal government to fight fraud, waste, and abuse, and make it easier for eligible children to get and maintain coverage. The Budget also includes other program improvements aimed at improving efficiency and effectiveness as States expand Medicaid.

Congress needs to act on the budget and give each proposal an up or down vote. Click here to contact your Member of Congress and tell them to support the children and youth initiatives in the President’s budget.