This past Congress has certainly had its challenges. Throughout the last Congress, CWLA has joined with national stakeholders and coalitions to increase funding levels across 44 separate funding programs – many of which received an increase in the spending omnibus, and some remained at level funding.
While a notable disappointment was the failure to reauthorize CAPTA, it did receive a $10m increase and a $5m increase in CB-CAP. CWLA’s Public Policy team has dedicated much of their efforts in engaging members, coalitions, and Congress – urging for the reauthorization of CAPTA. While Congress ultimately decided to punt reauthorization to the next Congress, we were successful with getting these welcome increases.
CWLA was actively urging Congress to extend the Expanded Child Tax Credit – this is critically important to so many families and could potentially lift millions of children out of poverty. Unfortunately, Congress ultimately decided to let this important and popular initiative expire. We will continue to work with our coalition partners in the next Congress to highlight the benefits of this tax credit – it is our intention to also put this issue on CWLA’s 118th Legislative Agenda.
Two of CWLA’s priorities, Title IV-B and TANF, were extended for one year at level funding.
Other highlights include:
- $3m increase in the Adoption Opportunities program, which includes $2m for the National Adoption Competency Mental Health Training Initiative
- $960m increase for Headstart
- $75m increase in the Maternal and Child Health Block Grant
- $4m increase in Promoting Safe and Stable Families Discretionary Funds, which are for the Title IV-E Prevention Services Clearinghouse
- $15m increase for McKinney-Vento Homeless Children and Youth program
- $44m increase for IDEA Part C
- $8m increase for Victims of Child Abuse program in the Juvenile Justice budget
To help address the current crisis in childcare, Congress also allocated $2b increase in the Child Care and Development Block Grant. While this increase is desperately needed, CWLA will continue to urge Congress to continue its investment in 2023.
CWLA and our coalition partners were also able to claim success in securing $500m for the Jackie Walorski Maternal and Child Home Visiting Reauthorization Act; an increase in both the Medicaid federal funding and federal matching rate for Puerto Rico; permanent summer EBT food benefits for children who qualify for free school meals; and increases for mental health programs such as the 988 Suicide Prevention Lifeline, the Community Mental Health Block Grant, and the Children’s Mental Health Services program.
Finally, the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA) and the PUMP Act, initially left out of the omnibus bill, were passed as amendments by the Senate. PWFA will ensure millions of pregnant workers and working moms can receive reasonable accommodations like light duty, additional breaks, transfers, and time off to recover from childbirth, to prevent serious health complications and keep their jobs. The PUMP Act will ensure millions more workers are guaranteed the right to break time and space to express milk at work to feed their children. We celebrate the passage of these important policies.
A complete listing of child welfare-related accounts can be found in CWLA’s 2023 Federal Budget Chart.