The two-year budget deal being approved by Congress provides important increases over the budget caps, but it will provide approximately $10 billion less than the House had designated for their FY 2020 non-defense appropriations. The House-passed Labor-Health and Human Services-Education Appropriations bill provides dramatic increases in several CWLA priorities such as child care and some limited increases for the Child Abuse Prevention Treatment Act (CAPTA) and the Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention (CB-CAP) program.

CAPTA state grants received an increase to $90 million (a $5 million increase) and a historic $35 million increase for the Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention (CB-CAP) to $75 million. The increase in CB-CAP is the first increase since 2005. In 2005, CB-CAP was at $42.8 million after an increase under President George W Bush proposed budget. It then suffered a decade of sequestration and across the board cuts down to $39 million. Similarly, CAPTA state grants were increased to $27.2 million and then it suffered a series of cuts down to $25 million until the 2018 increase to $85 million due to opioids concerns.

The bill maintains the Adoption-Kinship Incentive fund at $75 million to cover the anticipated incentives. The Administration had proposed a cut to $39 million despite acknowledging that the $39 million would not be enough. The big winners under ACF are child care and Head Start. Child Care is increased by $2.4 billion to $7.6 billion. After the 2018-19 increases in child care, most states increased their child care supply, improved reimbursements and quality, eliminated waiting list, or made all those improvements. Head Start funding is increased by $1.5 billion to $11.5 billion.

Several other children and child welfare programs increased:

• Runaway and Homeless Youth increasing to $125 million from $102 million;
• Adoption Opportunities increased by $3 million to $42 million;
• the 21st Century Learning Centers increased to $1.3 billion –a $100 million increase; and
• the McKinney-Vento Homeless Children and Youth Education program increased by $7 million to $100 million.
With the need to significantly reduce domestic spending under the new agreement, there will be pressure to reduce some of these increases. There are several other high spending priority items in the Labor-HHS-Education bill, such as the National Institutes for Health (NIH) and a range of Education Department priorities.

All of these priorities mean it will be necessary for the child welfare community to protect the increases they have received. To see a chart on proposed funding levels for FY 2020 go to the CWLA Policy Priorities page and read the budget chart.

About the Author:

John Sciamanna is CWLA's Vice President of Public Policy.

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