Washington, D.C. – Marian Wright Edelman, president of the Children’s Defense Fund said, “The President’s budget would change the odds for children and give them a better opportunity to succeed in America. Children do not come in pieces. Food, shelter, health care and other supports from the earliest years would offer hope and opportunity for a better future to millions of children and create a stronger workforce for our nation tomorrow. Children only have one childhood. Shamefully more than 15.5 million children are poor in America—the world’s largest economy. And the younger children are the poorer they are during the years of greatest brain development. It’s long past time for political leaders at every level to end the stress and scourge of child poverty in rich America and truly make our country a land of opportunity for all.”
The expanded investments in programs proposed in the President’s Budget to benefit children and families include:
- Significant investments to support our youngest learners; $82 billion over 10 years in quality child care to ensure all low-income families with infants and toddlers can access affordable, safe and high-quality care; $75 billion over 10 years in a federal-state partnership to ensure all 4-year-olds from low-income families have quality early learning opportunities and encourages states to increase access to preschool for children from middle-class families and full-day kindergarten.
- A $12 billion investment over 10 years to create a permanent Summer Electronic Benefits Transfer for Children program for those eligible for free and reduced price meals during the school year building on successful U.S. Department of Agriculture pilot programs.
- Extends funding for Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) through 2019 to ensure comprehensive, affordable coverage for more than 8 million children in working families not eligible for Medicaid, and makes enrollment easier for children by making permanent the Express Lane Eligibility for Medicaid and CHIP.
- $11 billion investment over 10 years with a goal of ending homelessness for families with children by 2020 including nearly $9 billion for housing vouchers which the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development found offer homeless families measurably better outcomes than other interventions. An estimated 64,000 families with 123,000 children are homeless on any given night in America.
- Increased investments in K-12 education programs to address inequities for children, especially vulnerable children under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA); $500 million investment for new Student Support and Academic Enrichment program; $450 million increased investment for Title I; $120 million new investment in Stronger Together Grants Program to increase socioeconomic diversity in schools; $55 million investment for Promise Neighborhoods and others. Proposals to support teachers and principals in ensuring student success including a new $1 billion investment in RESPECT: Best Job in the World to increase compensation and investment opportunities to improve teacher instruction and school climate.
- $616 million in new guaranteed investments over 10 years for critical prevention services to keep children safely in families and out of foster care. A new $76 million investment in FY 2017 would reduce congregate care by promoting family-based care for children with behavioral and mental health needs which would save $68 million over 10 years.
- An increased investment of at least $40 million to prevent delinquency and to establish community partnerships to help youths in the juvenile justice system and those at risk of entering – including children of incarcerated parents and children exposed to violence.
The Children’s Defense Fund Leave No Child Behind® mission is to ensure every child a Healthy Start, a Head Start, a Fair Start, a Safe Start and a Moral Start in life and successful passage to adulthood with the help of caring families and communities.