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CWLA: Rep. Ryan's 2012 Budget Proposal Will Hurt Children

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Shawn Flaherty

WASHINGTON, DC - The Child Welfare League of America (CWLA), the nation's oldest and largest membership-based child welfare organization, is speaking out against House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan's (R-WI) 2012 budget proposal, arguing that the budget goes too far in proposing steep cuts to Medicaid and other social safety net programs, which would also eliminate the Medicaid expansion included in the Affordable Care Act (ACA). CWLA is urging its membership of more than 1,000 child welfare leaders to call and share their opposition with Congressional members.

"Rep. Ryan proposes taking a machete to the safety net for vulnerable children. The advances we've seen in helping poor children and their families become successful, contributing members of our society are at risk if this budget gets passed," explained Christine James-Brown, CEO, CWLA. "What does this say about our nation if we are unable or unwilling to care for our most poor and vulnerable? Shame on us."

At least two-thirds of the cuts proposed in the Ryan budget would be made to programs that serve low-income children and families. In addition, the Ryan budget would cut non-security discretionary spending in 2012 by $100 billion below President Barack Obama's proposed budget, rolling non-security spending back to $360 billion, which is less than 2008 levels. These funding levels would then be frozen in place for five years. The Ryan budget calls for $5.8 trillion in cuts to federal spending over 10 years, including almost $1.6 trillion in cuts to non-security discretionary spending, $771 billion in cuts to Medicaid, and $715 billion in cuts to other mandatory spending programs.

Under the House plan, Medicaid would not only be cut, but the program's status as an entitlement would end and be replaced with state block grants. Furthermore, the House budget repeals the ACA. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Plan, commonly known as food stamps, would also be capped and converted into a block grant beginning in 2015. It would then be indexed only for inflation and population growth with no guarantees that it would keep up with demand.

The Ryan budget was voted on and passed out of the House Budget Committee on a party-line vote, and will be voted on by the full House this week. CWLA sent an urgent request to its membership to call Congress and voice their opposition.

CWLA's recent legislative wish list encouraged support for the ACA, including implementing the full array of improvements called for in the bill. In addition, the wish list called for: continued support for the 2008 Fostering Connections Act to reform the child welfare system; federal investments in services and supports for children since abuse and neglect rates are starting to rise; and support of a White House Conference on Children and Youth, a long-overdue means to convene a national discourse on the topic of vulnerable children.

About CWLA CWLA is a powerful coalition of hundreds of private and public agencies serving vulnerable children and families since 1920. Through its programs, publications, conferences, professional development, and consultation, CWLA speaks with authority and candor about the status and the needs of American children, young people, and families. As the nationally recognized standard-setter for child welfare services, CWLA provides direct support to agencies that serve children and families, improving the quality of the services they provide to more than nine million children every year.

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