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Planned Budget Cuts in Children's Programs Undermine Pledge to Leave No Child Behind, According to CWLA

For more information, contact
Joyce Johnson
Phone: 804/492-4519
Cell: 703/980-7641

March 23, 2001, Washington, D.C. -- The Child Welfare League of America today called on President Bush to modify his planned cuts to programs that provide services to abused and neglected children, and instead, to address fully the needs of America's children and present a budget to Congress next month that truly "leaves no child behind."

In reacting to reports of the President's budget that is to be released in April, CWLA Executive Director Shay Bilchik said, "Cutting federal programs to prevent and investigate child abuse and neglect for the most vulnerable children in our society is an outrage. These programs protect abused and neglected children, provide needed child care for working families, and help to ensure that no child will be left behind."

The New York Times article of March 23, 2001, states that President Bush intends to propose in his 2002 budget an 18 percent cut in child abuse and neglect prevention program funding and a $200 million cut in child care program funding. Bilchik called the planned cuts "alarming." The New York Times article detailed that the President's budget will include a $15.7 million cut out of a total of $87.5 million spent on child abuse protection and treatment programs. The President's budget will also propose a cut in child care services. Currently, these funds are used to help low-income families pay for the cost of child care.

"If this administration is truly committed to making sure no child is forgotten or left behind, then that commitment must extend to investing in children, not cutting essential programs that provide protection and quality care," said Bilchik. "It is morally wrong that within a matter of days after two shootings at high schools in San Diego, the administration's budget plan is that we will provide less money to protect and nurture our children. Now is the time to bolster support for every aspect of their lives. When all the research indicates that investing in early childhood programs pays big dividends in the future health and well-being of children, now is not the time to cut funding."

In 1998, there were 2.8 million reports of child abuse and neglect. Fatalities from child maltreatment remain high, with an estimated 1,100 children dying from abuse or neglect.

"It is unfortunate that when it comes to addressing the needs of our most vulnerable children, we talk in terms of cutting $15 million or shifting child care funds from one pot to the other, but when we talk about tax cuts or increasing defense spending, we talk about hundreds of billions or trillions of dollars," said Bilchik. "Now is not the time to finance huge tax cuts at the expense of our children."

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