Skip to content

Today is the end of Fiscal Year 2010. Since Congress has not completed any of its 12 appropriations bills for fiscal year 2011, in the early hours this morning, Congress passed a Continuing Resolution (CR).

The CR funds programs relating to children at fiscal year 2010 enacted funding levels through December 3rd and, among other things, extends authorization for TANF block grant, Child Care Entitlement to States program, and certain child nutrition programs. A few thoughts regarding the funding of children’s policy initiatives and the CR:

Education: As the economy has struggled, more students have become eligible for Pell Grants, resulting in an accumulated loss to this student aid program. The Appropriations Committees in both the House and Senate were urged to include $5.667 billion in the CR to pay off the Pell Grant funding shortfall. But, no funding for Pell Grants or any other education provisions was included in the CR, including Race to the Top grants which the President had strongly advocated for. The failure to include Pell Grants undermines the commitment previously made to our nation’s students under the Health Care and Education Affordability Reconciliation Act (HCEARA) this past March.

Nutrition: The inclusion of child nutrition programs in the CR was critical seeing that programs within the Child Nutrition Act expired today. Nutrition programs extended by the CR include the National School Lunch Program, the School Breakfast Program, the Summer Food Service Program, the Child and Adult Care Food Program, and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children. First Focus continues to urge Congress to fully reauthorize child nutrition legislation before the end of the year as solely passing an extension without program improvements would be detrimental to the health of America’s children.

TANF & Child Care: Included in the CR is a short-term extension of the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) block grant and Child Care Entitlement. TANF operates on a 5-year reauthorization schedule for its block grant, which expires today. Maintaining this funding level to states ensures the continuity of the variety of services under this program, which include cash assistance to low-income families with children, child care, child support enforcement, transportation assistance, and other supportive services. Unfortunately, what was not included in the CR was an extension of the TANF Emergency Fund, which also expires today. This fund has been a crucial source of funding to states in the recession and has been used to create subsidized jobs and provide cash assistance, as well as additional short-term benefits (much of which benefited child welfare) to low-income families with children most in need. There is another chance for Congress to consider an extension of this funding when they reconvene before the end of the year. Given the increased rates of poverty in 2009 particularly among children, First Focus looks forward to a comprehensive reauthorization of TANF in the near future.

Upon reconvening after the election, First Focus encourages Congress to finish the Fiscal Year 2011 appropriations process in order to ensure the wellbeing of our nation’s children.

For more information on federally funded children’s intiatives visit our comprehensive budget guide at