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CWLA Urges Congress: Don't Deprive Children of Food

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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 taking issue with the latest, severe budget cuts proposed by the House Appropriations Committee to food assistance, which will harm vulnerable children especially those in or at risk of entering the child welfare system.

"Clearly we need to reduce our budget deficit, but not by depriving babies of food. Many children who are the victims of abuse and neglect rely on food and nutrition programs. These draconian cuts will make their lives worse and only add to their burden," explained Christine James-Brown, CEO, CWLA. "When coupled with all the other proposed cuts, this nation's safety net will have serious holes in it."

This past week, the House Appropriations Committee passed legislation (H.R. 2112) that slashes funding for food and nutrition programs, including:
  • $51 million less for the Emergency Food Assistance program
  • $2 billion less for SNAP (food stamps) reserve fund
  • $51 million cut in Emergency Food Assistance program, capping it at $200 million
  • $38 million less for the Commodity Supplemental Food Program
  • $650 million decrease in WIC, a nutrition program helping low-income and at-risk children and pregnant mothers, could affect over a quarter million pregnant women.
Children being served by the child welfare system already face many challenges, including the trauma of abuse and neglect, poor health status and developmental delays. CWLA is concerned that reducing food and nutritional support will exacerbate these issues, making it more difficult for vulnerable children to recover and make progress. The cuts to food assistance are part of a long list of proposed cuts to programs that promote economic security, two-thirds of which serve low-income children and families, including Medicaid.

The budget tightening comes at a time when the needs of vulnerable children are growing. That's why CWLA has also voiced continued support for the health care bill, the 2008 Fostering Connections Act to reform the child welfare system; federal investments in services and supports--which need to respond to the additional stresses families face in the recession; and 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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