The House of Representatives moved on two significant bills last week that included funding for 9 of the 12 appropriations bills. The first “minibus” appropriations rolled together seven bills, including the appropriations for the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services and Education (Labor-HHS), Agriculture, Energy and Water, Financial Services, Interior, Military Construction, and Transportation-Housing are rolled together.
The second minibus included appropriations for State-foreign Operations, and the Legislative Branch. Over 700 amendments to the two measures were considered, and in most instances, votes were cast on amendments that were combined together.
As was true in the Committee, the Administration received the backing for their requests in key children’s programs, including child welfare, and, in some areas, such as the Child Abuse Prevention Treatment Act (CAPTA), they received more funding.
Within CAPTA, state grants receive $125 million, which is $5 million more than the Administration request, and a whopping $35 million above the FY 2021 funding level for a program that suffered cuts through most of the last decade when it was at less than $27 million. The House also increased the CB-CAP program to $90 million, which is $10 million more than the Administration request and $30 million more than FY 2021. Finally, discretionary funding increases from the current $35 million to $42 million with $2 million of that for support and expansion of a national child abuse hotline, to increase outreach efforts and provide additional resources and intervention through multiple modalities, including chat, text, and call, to youth and concerned adults facing child abuse and neglect.
Other areas of increase and support for Biden Administration budget include a new $100 million to address racial inequity within child welfare through competitive grants; a significant increase of $9 million for the Family First Act Clearinghouse (up from $2 million) and $30 million for formula grants to states and tribal agencies to develop, enhance, or evaluate Kinship Navigator programs.
Although the House Committee report does not mention the Multi-Ethnic Placement Act (MEPA) and the need for improved efforts on the diligent recruitment of adoptive and foster families, the Committee does increase the Adoption Opportunities Act by $2 million, presumably for the Administration’s $2 million efforts in diligent recruitment for more diverse families for foster care and adoption.
Other items in the FY 2022 budget include a major $150 million initiative to address the social determinants of health (SDoH), building on a proposed expansion of early childhood education with major increases for Head Start ($1.4 billion)—which is $200 million above the Administration request, Child Care ($1.4 billion) and pre-kindergarten state grants ($175 million).
The Administration also gets its increase for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act: Infants and Toddlers (IDEA Part C) at $732 million, well above the $482 million pre-pandemic level of funding and an even bigger increase for the Maternal and Child Health Block Grant going to $868 million which exceeds the 2021 level of $712 million.
The House designated $200 million through SSBG for a new diaper bank distribution grant program to provide much-needed resources to social service agencies or other non-profit organizations specifically for diaper and diapering supply needs. CWLA has lent its support to these diaper bank initiatives that had gained important attention during the pandemic.
For an overall chart of some key child welfare and children’s program spending levels, go here. The Senate is in session this week and is expected to begin action on some of their bills.