As part of the budget deal, Congress provided the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) with some small but important increases that CWLA and the National Child Abuse Coalition sees as being part of a new recognition of CAPTA’s importance. CAPTA state grants will increase by $5 million to $90 million. Far short of what the organization’s goal but a $65 million increase over what CAPTA had been stuck at from 2005 through 2017. In addition, Title II, the Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention (CB-CAP) program, received its first increase since FY 2005, rising from last year’s $39 million to $55 million. CAPTA discretionary grants went up by $2 million to $35 million with the additional funds for the National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being (NSCAW) study. NSCAW studies provide important long term studies and data on families involved with child protective services. It examines outcomes for these children and families over the long term. This NSCAW study (the third one) began data collection in 2018.
In other parts of the child welfare arena, the Adoption/Kinship Incentives stayed at $75 million with Congress rejecting the Administration request of $39 million. The incentive fund has been well below what states earn in increased adoptions and kinship placements over the past several years. HHS makes up for those shortfalls by taking from the following years funds. Two years ago Congress increased funding to $75 million so that eventually in two or three years states should be in a position to receive one year’s incentive earning in the same fiscal year.
Also in the budget is another year of funding for kinship navigator programs at $20 million for all the states. States have not yet been able to fund kinship navigator funds through the new Families First Act because no program has earned the evidence-based standard of “promising” under the Family First Clearinghouse. The third year of funding of $20 million goes to all states to hopefully build up the evidence. Finally, Congress continued $10 million in additional funding for the Regional Partnership Grants (RPGs) in addition to the annual $20 million in mandatory funding. New and related to the Family First Act, an additional $2.7 million for the new clearinghouse under the Family First Act. The legislation describes the funding as an effort to increase the capacity to review research and evaluations of programs under the Family First Act. The funds are housed, at least temporarily under Title IV-B part 2.
Both child care and Head Start each received an additional $550 million. While that is less than what the House included, they are significant increases building on the additional funding both programs have received since 2018. In 2017 child care funding had been at $2.8 billion (with an additional $2.9 billion through TANF-child care). Now child care is at $5.8 billion (with the additional $2.9 billion in TANF-child care). Similarly, Head Start is at $10.6 compared to $9.2 billion in 2017. Out of the $10.6 billion in Head Start, approximately $905 million is for the Early Head Start program.
To make it all work, Congress and the Administration agreed to $24.7 billion in emergency spending—spending that does not count toward the budget caps. The total spending came to $1.4 trillion with some of the emergency spending used for the census and natural disasters. The appropriations continue the same amount of $1.3 billion for the Mexico/US wall, the same as last year. It rejects the $5 billion increase sought by the President. It does not replace the $3.6 billion the President took from military construction for last year’s wall spending, but it does not include language prohibiting the President from moving money again.