On Tuesday, April 5th, 2022 the Senate Finance Committee held a hearing on the Presidential Budget Proposal entitled ‘The President’s Fiscal Year 2023 Health and Human Services Budget.’
Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Becerra served as the witness during the hearing. In his testimony, Becerra emphasized HHS’s responsibility to serve children and families equitably, and outlined the increased investments in the Administration for Children and Families’ early care and education programs, along with the $4.9 billion expansion of services to help prevent child maltreatment and decrease the number of children in foster care.
Throughout the hearing, there was a focus on the children and families impacted by the pandemic. Senator Casey (D-PA) focused on the 200,000 children who lost a primary or secondary caregiver due to the pandemic and asked how to best address their needs. Becerra highlighted the importance of community-based services to serve families accompanied by mental health services. Becerra also noted there was a need for increased support for children within the foster care system, with a focus on decreasing the number of children who aged out.
Senator Warren (D-MA) focused on childcare in her questioning, asking what the economic impacts of the childcare shortage were and the role of the federal government in remedying it. Becerra argued for increased wages for childcare workers and increased federal investment to ensure that families had access to affordable childcare.