The Trump Ax Report: What Youth-Related Programs Might Be in Jeopardy

Beltway website The Hill reported today that the Trump team is preparing an initial budget salvo that would drastically reduce federal spending, aimed at shaving $10.5 trillion from the budget over the next ten years.

Reporter Alexander Bolton includes some examples of agencies and programs to be cut, and adds that the overall cuts “hew closely to a blueprint published last year by the conservative Heritage Foundation, a think tank that has helped staff the Trump transition.”

Youth Services Insider dug into the Heritage plan to see what it had to say about juvenile justice, child welfare and other youth-related programs. Here are a few programs that are on the chopping block if Trump uses the Heritage plan as a roadmap:

Welfare Caps

All means-tested programs – those targeted at assisting individuals and families based on income tests – would be reverted to 2007 levels with a 10 percent increase. Going forward, growth of all would be capped at inflation.

There are somewhere in the neighborhood of 80 means-tested programs, including Medicaid; the Title IV-E entitlements for foster care and adoption assistance; school lunch; food stamps; and Section 8 Public Housing.

Heritage does not break out how this would impact individual programs, but the projection is a reduction of $2.7 trillion over ten years.

Phasing Out Head Start

The Heritage eliminates Head Start by gradually sunsetting it over a ten-year period. Heritage cites the control study on Head Start that found diminishing academic gains for participants over time. Savings: $54.4 billion over ten years.

Eliminating Job Corps and the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA)

Heritage decries both as ineffectual. Job Corps serves teens and young adults, and WIOA includes hundreds of millions for youth employment training and summer jobs. Savings: $46 billion over ten years.

Eliminate Grant Making at Office of Justice Programs

This would effectively end funding for the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act, and all other grant making at the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. It would also nix the Byrne Justice Grants, a popular slush fund for state and local law enforcement projects; millions are directed to juvenile justice-related ventures each year through that. Savings: $15.1 billion over ten years.

Eliminate Supplemental Security Income Benefits for Disabled Youths

Currently SSI benefits are paid to adults who are too disabled to work; low-income elderly; and low-income parents of children who are functionally disabled. Heritage would nix the payments for that latter group. Savings: $125 billion over ten years.

To be clear: No budget plan has been put forward yet, and there is no indication that any of these cuts will be included in one. But if the plan really does mirror the recommendations of the Heritage Foundation, there’s a decent chance that sum or all will be included.

Then, it would fall to a Republican-led Congress to pass massive spending cuts, or face potential backlash from the administration and conservative voters.

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John Kelly
About John Kelly 1135 Articles
John Kelly is editor-in-chief of The Chronicle of Social Change.