Trump’s 2020 Budget for Family and Youth Services

The cover of Trump’s 2020 Budget Proposal, “A Budget for a Better America.” Photo courtesy of the White House

President Donald Trump released his 2020 spending proposal, dubbed “A Budget for a Better America,” late last week. On Monday, the Office of Management and Budget and various cabinet agencies released the fine print.

Youth Services Insider, as we do every year, combed through the various budget justifications and appendices to produce a handy-dandy guide to spending related to youth and families. You can access our full chart, which includes the comparable, enacted figures for 2018 and 2019, by clicking here.

The Trump budget includes level funding for most of the lines we track, along with some steep cuts that he has proposed in previous proposals. Here are a few of the items that jumped out to us.

Busting big block grants: Trump takes an ax to several of the large block grants overseen by the Department of Health and Human Services, all of which deliver fairly flexible pots of money to states. Here are some of the big cuts:

  • Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF, $17.3 billion in 2019), which states use for cash assistance to poor families and other anti-poverty programs, would be cut by $2.1 billion.
  • Social Services Block Grant, which is funded at $1.7 billion and would be all but eliminated in this budget.
  • Community Services Block Grant ($725 million) would be eliminated.

Aside from the block grants, Trump would eliminate a few smaller youth and family programs. The 21st Century Learning Account, a $1.2 billion program to help states pay for after-school programs, would go away. So too would GEAR Up ($360 million), Teen Pregnancy Prevention ($101 million) and Promise Neighborhoods ($78 million).

More Child Care funds: The Trump budget leaves the Child Care and Development Block Grant alone, level funded at $5.3 billion. He’d use about $1 billion of the savings from the TANF cutback to fund a new competitive funding program under the Child Care Entitlement stream. This would grow that account from $2.9 to $4.2 billion.

Child Welfare Block Grant: The administration has again included a proposed block grant option for states as an alternative to Title IV-E, the entitlement through which most child welfare funding is passed from the federal government to states. Were the plan to get congressional approval, states could use IV-E money for any of the purposes and services authorized under IV-E and IV-B, which is a block grant states can use for the prevention of abuse and neglect, and family preservation.

Some Florida lawmakers have already indicated interest in such an option. That’s not surprising, as the state has a lot of flexibility under its long-running IV-E waiver, which as of now expires next year.

This option would run alongside the Family First Prevention Services Act, which was passed in 2018 and takes effect in October. That law opens up more flexibility on the front end of IV-E to permit spending on some efforts to keep families together, but also limits federal funding for group homes and other congregate care placements.

Head Start haircut: A lot of youth spending lines took hits during the budget battles and sequestration that preceded Trump. But one that was protected, and even saw increases supported by Republican appropriators, was Head Start, the national program that provides early childhood care to many low-income families. Recent research out of the Michigan State School of Social Work suggests that Head Start participation may help prevent removals to foster care among families known to the child welfare system.

Trump would reverse the upward trend in Head Start funding, cutting it by $359 million.

Service Learning canceled: As has been the case in previous Trump budgets, the Corporation for National and Community Service would be all but shuttered. The AmeriCorps program – which supplies much-needed, low-cost workers to many nonprofits – would lose all but $2 million of its $423 million budget. The Foster Grandparent program ($111 million), which funds service programs that put the elderly together with kids, would go away entirely.

Juvenile Justice down: At the Office of Juvenile Justice Delinquency and Prevention, Trump proposes a $10 million raise for the Missing and Exploited Children account. He would make that the biggest spending line at the agency, cutting back on mentoring, delinquency prevention and the grants given to states for complying with the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act.

In a minor, but noteworthy shift, Trump would take a $2 million carve out to support the improvement of juvenile indigent defense, and split that between juvenile defense and juvenile prosecution. He would add $500,000 to the account at the same time.

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John Kelly
About John Kelly 1128 Articles
John Kelly is editor-in-chief of The Chronicle of Social Change.