WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, a broad coalition of organizations came together to voice support for the Children’s Budget Act (S. 3277), legislation that will provide an annual accounting of federal spending on America’s young people. The Act, recently introduced by Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ), will require that the President’s annual budget request includes a separate analysis of all spending on children’s programs.

Currently, even experienced policy analysts struggle to determine how much the federal government invests in children. Recent reports reveal that over the past several years, federal support for many important children’s programs has dropped substantially, and overall, federal investment in children is on the decline. According to Children’s Budget 2008, only one penny out of every new, real, non-defense dollar spent by the federal government went towards children over the past five years.

“The outpouring of support for this legislation proves that policymakers, program administrators, and parents are calling for renewed attention to children’s issues and programs” said Bruce Lesley, President of First Focus, a bipartisan child advocacy organization. “The Children’s Budget Act is a simple, cost-free way to hold our nation’s leaders accountable for making children a national priority and ensure that children are given due consideration whenever the budget is discussed.”

At present, the law that governs the requirements for the President’s annual budget request includes dozens of specific instructions, such as a recently added mandate that requires an analysis of all spending on homeland security. Requiring that an analysis of spending on children be submitted as part of the President’s larger budget request would be a simple addition to the law.

A letter of support spearheaded by First Focus was sent today to the U.S. Senate, encouraging the importance of this legislation. The letter has been signed by a strong and cross-cutting group of over 100 organizations, including the National Education Association, American Association of School Administrators, Public Education Network, National Association of Children’s Hospitals, American Academy of Pediatrics, Foster Care Coalition, Coalition for Juvenile Justice, YMCA of the USA, Pew Charitable Trusts, Children’s Defense Fund, Voices for America’s Children, in addition to many others.