Children's Monitor Online
A Public Policy Update from the Child Welfare League of America

   
   
Vol. 19, Issue 23: 6/5/2006   
Headlines

House Moves Forward with Appropriations after Passing Budget Resolution

SSBG Targeted for Cuts

Urban Institute Releases New Data on Child Welfare Financing

CWLA Legislative Alerts Available to Subscribers

Key Upcoming Dates for Congress



House Moves Forward with Appropriations after Passing Budget Resolution

As Members of Congress return this week after a brief Memorial Day break, they face busy legislative schedules highlighted by efforts to make progress on appropriations spending bills--despite the lack of a budget resolution. Both the House of Representatives and the Senate have passed budget resolutions for FY 2007, but they differ significantly, and it's unlikely the chambers will be able to find a common resolution. The House resolution adheres to the President's proposed discretionary budget of $873 billion, in contrast to the Senate resolution, which allocated at least $7.1 billion more for its Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations Subcommittee, and $16 billion more to overall discretionary spending.

Despite the lack of a final budget resolution, the House remains on track to finish all 11 of its FY 2007 spending bills by the July 4th recess. Senate appropriators, however, have delayed setting final Appropriations subcommittee allocations until a discretionary budget cap is deemed. Such a cap is expected to be attached to a conference agreement on the FY 2006 emergency supplemental spending bill (H.R. 4939) to help fund the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan and hurricane recovery.

To date, the House has passed four FY 2007 spending bills--Interior-Environment (H.R. 5386), Military Quality of Life-VA (H.R. 5385), Agriculture (H.R. 5384), and Energy-Water (H.R. 5427). The House will likely try to complete the Homeland Security Appropriations bill this week and then may move to the floor the Legislative Branch and Foreign Operations bills as well.

Of key importance to child welfare services funding, the Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations Subcommittee is scheduled to mark up its bill on June 7. This subcommittee allocates funds for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and is expected to propose a 30% cut to the Social Services Block Grant (SSBG). SSBG represents 11% of all federal funding states receive to provide child abuse prevention, adoption, foster care, child protection, independent and transitional living, and residential services for children and youth. See the next story for more information on SSBG.

CWLA has sent out a legislative alert concerning this potential dramatic cut to a major source of federal funding used to prevent child abuse and support children who have been abused and neglected. In addition, CWLA has partnered with other leading national organizations calling for the House and Senate Labor-HHS-Education Subcommittees to restore the Administration's proposed funding cuts for mental health services, supports, and research, and also to demonstrate strong support by increasing funding for the Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant. The letter sent to House and Senate leadership is available online.

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SSBG Targeted for Cuts

When the Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations Subcommittee meets June 7, it's expected to include in that appropriations bill the President's proposal to make a 30% cut to SSBG.

New data from the Urban Institute (see the next story) indicates SSBG represents 11% of all federal funds spent on child welfare services. Due to its flexible nature, it can be spent on prevention and a range of other services. SSBG is also the biggest federal source of funds for state child protection systems. SSBG also helps to fund state child welfare efforts in adoption, foster care, independent and transitional living, and residential services for children and youth. States allocate approximately $700 million annually in SSBG funds for children and youth involved in child welfare. Nationwide, more than 2.6 million children receive a range of child welfare services funded in part or in total by SSBG.

The President's budget request for FY 2007 proposed to reduce funding for SSBG from $1.7 billion to $1.2 billion. For many years up to 1996, SSBG was funded at $2.8 billion. It was reduced temporarily to $2.3 billion by the TANF law in 1996. Although it was to be restored, Congress further reduced it to $1.7 in the 1998 transportation bill.

The Senate, through a vote earlier this year on a Senate budget resolution, specifically rejected the cut, but the House budget resolution did not. If your member of Congress serves on the Appropriations Committee, he or she holds special influence as the committee determines the fate of SSBG. Please see our May 26 Legislative Alert and contact your member of Congress. The full committee member list is available online.

For more specifics on how your state uses SSBG funds for child welfare, and to determine how large the cut will be in your state, visit CWLA's Advocacy Hot Topics.

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Urban Institute Releases New Data on Child Welfare Financing

The Urban Institute has released the fifth in a series of regular surveys on child welfare financing. The Cost of Protecting Vulnerable Children V indicates that between FY 2002 and FY 2004, combined federal, state, and local spending on a range of child welfare services increased at a rate of 4%. That's a slower increase from previous surveys and less than the increase in inflation over that time. Between 1996 and 2002, spending has increased 34%. Total federal, state, and local spending for FY 2004 was more than $23 billion on a range of child welfare services, including foster care, adoption, child protection, prevention and intervention, and transitional living.

Unlike previous years, in 2004 state and local spending was the major source of the increase, as federal sources such as TANF and SSBG actually went down. Thirteen states experienced a decrease in overall spending for child welfare services. Federal funding represented 49% of total dollars spent, state funding represented 39%, and local dollars represented 12% of overall funding for child welfare.

Title IV-E foster care and adoption assistance represented 50% of federal funds spent, TANF was 20%, SSBG was 11%, Medicaid (nonhealth care) was 10%, and the two IV-B programs were 5%. The report also has a state-by-state breakout of spending by funding source and whether the source of funding has increased since the last survey.

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CWLA Legislative Alerts Available to Subscribers

CWLA's Legislative Alerts provide breaking news, advocacy information, and critically important timely details of legislative battles. In an effort to broaden CWLA's advocacy network on behalf of children, anyone can now subscribe and receive the same information. This effort compliments CWLA's weekly electronic legislative newsletter, the Children's Monitor, which is also available free to any subscriber. We encourage you to register to receive these items directly and to pass on the information to other colleagues, family, and friends.

Subscribe to Legislative Alerts.

Subscribe to Children's Monitor.

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Key Upcoming Dates for Congress

July 1-10: July 4th Break
July 29: House Summer Recess Begins
August 5: Senate Summer Recess Begins
September 5: Congress Returns


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