The budget proposal for FY 2018 submitted by President Trump would cut billions of dollars from health, human services, nutrition, and education while redirecting those funds as tax cuts to corporations and the wealthy, according to a new analysis by the Center for Law and Social Policy.
It would dramatically undermine efforts to raise quality of care and make programs more effective, as well as reduce services from hundreds of thousands of children. These cuts would be compounded by disinvestment in SNAP, Medicaid, and other benefits that promote healthy development and wellbeing for millions of young children and families.
The president’s budget would fund the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) at the FY 2016 level, eliminating the $95 million increase gained in the FY 2017 omnibus spending bill. CCDBG is the primary source of funding to help low-income families meet high child care costs and improve quality of care for all children.
Head Start and Early Head Start would also be funded at the 2016 level, resulting in an $85 million cut. The funding level is intended to maintain Head Start services for nearly 890,000 children, a small share of children currently eligible for Head Start’s comprehensive early childhood education services.
After CCDBG, the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) block grant is the largest federal funding source for child care assistance to low-income families. In 2015—the most recent year for which data are available—states directed $2.6 billion in federal TANF funds to child care assistance, comprising nearly a third of total federal funding for child care subsidies for low-income families. The president’s budget would reduce core TANF funds by 10% ($1.6 billion per year) and also eliminate the $608 million TANF contingency fund available to some states. States already face competing priorities for a limited amount of funding, and this would further reduce available dollars for child care assistance.
Social Services Block Grant
The budget would also eliminate the Social Services Block Grant (SSBG), which provides flexible funding to states to meet a variety of needs for low-income children and families. This includes child care services, which comprised 11% of SSBG spending in 2014.
Budget documents suggest that nearly 200,000 children already lost child care assistance funded by CCDBG, TANF, and SSBG from 2012 to 2016 due to inadequate funding and project the loss of 300,000 additional children by 2022 with level funding. And 516,000 children would lose assistance by 2027. Regular funding increases are needed to cover increases in the cost of child care over time and prevent children from losing assistance.
These projections do not include the impact that the president’s proposed cuts to TANF and SSBG would likely have on the declining number of children receiving child care assistance. They also do not include the impact that discretionary spending caps or sequestration could have on reducing CCDBG funding in 2018 and beyond. If these funding implications were considered, a far greater number of children would lose child care assistance.
The president’s budget would also eliminate the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) program, which provides critical summer, before-school, after-school child care for more than a million low-income children and youth. Additionally, it would eliminate the Child Care Access Means Parents in School (CCAMPIS) child care program for student parents. The children and parents impacted by these program cuts would be in addition to the half-million children projected to lose child care by 2027.
The president’s budget would also be devastating for children with special needs, CLASP said.
The president’s budget would reduce or even eliminate funding for many of them.
The proposed cuts to Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Medicaid would be particularly devastating. SSI ensures a basic standard of living for more than 1.2 million low-income children with significant disabilities and their families. Trump’s budget would reduce the benefit for households with more than one SSI recipient, a change that would affect child beneficiaries in more than 320,000 households.
Families with multiple beneficiaries could include two children with special needs or could include one child with special needs and a parent who is blind or disabled and unable to work. Of the multiple beneficiary households with at least one child beneficiary, over 40% include multiple children with special needs.
Trump’s proposal assumes that two recipients living in the same household have lower individual living expenses compared to recipients in separate households. But families of children with disabilities commonly have expenses above and beyond those of a typical household, and economies of scale don’t always apply. For instance, prescription medication and occupational therapy don’t get cheaper when more people in the household use them. Even when the majority of costs are covered by Medicaid, small regular out-of-pocket costs can be a big burden for families already struggling to make ends meet.
The president also proposed dramatic cuts to Medicaid, the largest insurance provider for children with disabilities, on top of the cuts that would be imposed by the American Health Care Act (AHCA). The AHCA alone would reduce Medicaid funding by $834 billion over the next decade, restructuring how the program is financed and shifting a significant share of health care costs to states. Collectively, the proposed Medicaid changes would result in millions of people losing coverage and force states to ration care or eliminate services.
Info: https://goo.gl/uoLkZG (report).