Child Care, Child Protection Get Big Boosts in Omnibus Spending Deal

The 2018 spending deal reached this week, which blows through the caps on spending put in place in 2013, brought massive infusions of cash into several youth and family services programs.

Congress boosted the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) by $2.3 billion. The $5.2 billion appropriation for this year is an 84 percent increase from 2017.

“It is expected that this increase will support the full implementation of the CCDBG Act as reauthorized in 2014,” the spending bill says, “including activities to improve the quality and safety of child care programs.”

Access to affordable child care options is a major issue facing poor families in America, and it is also believed to be a significant obstacle to retaining quality foster parents.

Promoting Safe and Stable Families, a block grant for family preservation and reunification services, saw a $102 million bump in the spending deal. Part of that increase was for the addition of two $20 million line items: one for kinship navigator programs, which assist relatives caring for foster youth, and one for regional partnership grants, which has seeded community efforts to address parental substance abuse.

The bill also more than doubles a few modest youth accounts, including the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA), which provide small grants to states for maltreatment prevention and child protection services. The deal set CAPTA state grants at $85.3 million, a $60 million increase.

Also receiving massive increases:

  • Adoption Incentives: Doubled to $75 million help the Administration for Children and Families address a backlog of payments owed to states. The incentive program rewards increases in finalized adoptions of foster youth, and the calculation of the incentives was recently updated.
  • Apprenticeships: Up from $68 million in 2017 to $145 million this year. The intensive job training program, a mainstay of Germany’s workforce development system, is a favorite of the Trump Administration.
  • Juvenile Drug Courts: An increase from $39 million to $75 million for a diversion path targeting youth with substance abuse disorders who get arrested.
  • Second Chance Act: A 93 percent increase to $85 million for a program established to assist states in funding better re-entry services for those coming home after incarceration.

While not concentrated on youth and families, Congress tripled the state grants to fight the opioid epidemic from $500 million to $1.5 billion. The Department of Health and Human Services has acknowledged trouble in disbursing and tracking this grant program thus far, but it could to some extent serve as a runway for reaching addiction-affected families until the Family First Prevention Services Act kicks in next year. That law provides for time-limited federal funds for substance abuse treatment for parents who are at imminent risk of losing their children to foster care.

This is the first year that most youth services programs have seen a real increase since 2013, when Congress used a “sequestration” agreement to end a government shutdown. The deal triggered automatic cuts to both domestic and defense spending.

President Trump, who had earlier today said he considered a veto of the bill, signed it into law.

Click here to access The Chronicle of Social Change’s comprehensive youth budget chart, which includes 2017 comparison data.

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John Kelly
About John Kelly 954 Articles
John Kelly is editor-in-chief of The Chronicle of Social Change.

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