This year the President’s budget was released on Monday, March 28, 2022. The fiscal year (FY) 2023 budget begins on October 1, 2022. This year’s budget, the second for the Biden Administration, faced significant delays due to a series on continuing resolutions adopted by Congress while all congressional sides negotiated a final 2022 budget five months after the start of the fiscal year. A final appropriation was not approved until March 2022. Due to the tight turn around many of the final FY 2022 numbers listed for comparison to what the Administration is asking for in FY 2023 may not be accurate.
Overall, the total federal budget is projected at $5.8 trillion including all entitlements/mandatory spending (the three biggest: Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid). Total discretionary spending (funding that requires an annual appropriation by the Congress) is set at a proposed $1.64 trillion, a 9 percent increase over this year’s $1.51 trillion. Non-defense spending, which includes both State Department and Veterans Administration funds, increases to $829 billion (14 percent increase) while defense spending increases to $813 (4 percent increase)
The Administration includes several changes and increases within child welfare the budget. These include some significant legislative changes to the Family First Prevention Services Act in both federal matching funds and the coverage of programs. They propose an increase in the federal match for IV-E eligible relative care placements in either foster care or kinship care while also decreasing the federal match for placements in Quality Residential Treatment Programs (QRTPs). Budget increases include additional funds for the state grants under the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) and Title II, Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention (CB-CAP) program, total increases of $300 million for the Promoting Safe and Stable Families (PSSF) program. These increases extend to the Court Improvement Program (CIP), additional funds for the substance abuse Regional Partnership Grants (RPGs), a new $50 million for legal representation within child welfare, and a renewal of last year’s proposed $100 million through Child Welfare Services to address racial inequity in child welfare. The Administration also proposes an increase of $100 million for the John Chafee Independent Living program.
Outside of child welfare the Administration highlights significant proposed increases within mental and behavioral health services. The budget calls for “transforming how we deliver mental health services with an additional $7.5 billion for a “Mental Health System Transformation Fund.” Funding would address workforce development, service expansion, non-traditional health delivery sites, and the integration of mental health and substance use care into primary care settings. The budget also calls for a historic investment in new 9-8-8 Behavioral Health Services-crisis care call line with the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline transitioning from a 10-digit number to 9-8-8 in July 2022. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) budget includes $697 million to the 9-8-8 and Behavioral Health Services program, an increase of $590 million over FY 2022 enacted.
Other items in the FY 2023 budget that will indirectly influence family and children’s services and, by extension child welfare, a proposed expansion of the early childhood education the budget including major increases for Head Start ($1.167 billion), Child Care ($1.359 billion) and pre-kindergarten state grants ($160 million). The Administration also seeks increases for the Maternal and Child Health Block Grant, a reauthorization and increase to $467 million (from the current pre-sequestration level of $400 million) and a more than $330 million increase (from $496 million) for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act: Infants and Toddlers (IDEA Part C)