The President’s FY 2017 Budget Proposal: Critical Investments for Children & Families

This time last year, there was uncertainty about the future of federal spending on many crucial programs for children and families. With a possible government shutdown looming and sequestration’s spending caps about to take full effect, the budgetary outlook for children’s programs was bleak.

To our relief, in the fall Congress reached an agreement to raise the spending caps, then passed an appropriations bill and extended several tax credits that working families count on.

Last week, President Obama released a budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2017 that sets the country on the right track by expanding resources for existing kids’ programs and launching bold new initiatives to support working families.

Image courtesy of the Children’s Defense Fund.

Education from Pre-K through College

The President’s proposal doubles down on two existing education programs: the Preschool Development Grants, which help states expand access to high-quality preschool programs, and the Community College Promise, which offers two years of community college free for responsible students. In addition, the President’s budget commits $5.5 billion to helping young people get their first job.

Working Families

The President’s budget takes several important steps to help working families stay out of poverty. The proposal increases funding for child care $82 billion over ten years, while also fully funding the implementation of the Child Care Development Block Grant that was reauthorized last year.

The budget supports the President’s goal of ending family homelessness by 2020 by dedicating $11 billion to housing subsidies and vouchers. In addition, it increases resources for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, with a special focus on the lowest-income families with children.

Safety and Permanence

The President’s budget proposes an expansion of funding for child welfare programs, specifically directed at developing the child welfare workforce. The request also prioritizes family preservation and permanence, and offers states funding to continue foster care until age 21 and transitional services until 23. In addition, the President proposed a new initiative, administered jointly by the Administration for Children and Families and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, to improve health care services for children in foster care and reduce the over-prescribing of psychotropic drugs to children in state custody.

Overall, the investments in the President’s budget would reduce poverty and increase opportunity for our kids. As the House of Representatives considers the budget, we hope they will continue to prioritize equitable access to education, support for working families, and efforts to promote safety and stability for children. Please contact your member of Congress to encourage them to move forward with a budget that puts kids first.