The Kid Angle: 6 priorities the president’s budget sets for kids

A president’s budget is always more of a values statement than a fiscal blueprint, and President Biden’s FY 2025 budget request puts a premium on caring for our nation’s children.

First Focus on Children policy experts have begun diving into the details to produce our annual Children’s Budget (find our 2023 analysis here), and offer these insights so far:

  1. Continuous health care coverage: The President’s budget would allow states to extend continuous eligibility for all children enrolled in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) to up to 36 months (right now, states are required to provide 12 months). The proposal also would allow states to extend this uninterrupted access to coverage from birth until a child turns 6. Continuous eligibility allows children enrolled in Medicaid or CHIP to maintain stable access to quality, affordable health care coverage without the burden of needing to reapply, a benefit that dramatically improves a child’s health. The budget also prohibits enrollment fees and premiums in CHIP.
  2. Measures to fight child poverty: President Biden’s budget would restore the Child Tax Credit included in the American Rescue Plan, which cut child poverty nearly in half to its lowest level in U.S. history. The restored CTC would cut taxes by an average of $2,600 for 39 million low- and middle-income families that include 66 million children, including 18 million of the lowest income children who previously did not qualify. As the National Academy of Sciences has said, the child tax credit is one of the best tools we have for fighting child poverty. More about the benefits to children and the country at this link.
  3. Affordable child care! Free pre-school!: Lions and tigers and bears. Can you imagine a world in which working families with incomes up to $200,000 per year would be guaranteed affordable, high-quality child care from birth until kindergarten, with most families paying no more than $10 a day, and the lowest income families paying nothing? President Biden’s budget proposes this world, as well as one that offers voluntary, universal, free preschool for all four million of the nation’s four-year-olds, with plans to add three-year-olds later.
  4. Freedom to care for children and family: The budget proposes a national, comprehensive paid family and medical leave program that provides up to 12 weeks of leave to care for a new child, a seriously ill loved one and to deal with other issues that threaten the health and safety of children and families. Read about how paid leave makes families and the nation stronger.
  5. Food for children: Revolutionary, we know, but the proposed budget would increase the nation’s ability to feed its children. In particular, the budget would fully fund the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) to serve all eligible participants, and would invest in reaching 800,000 more women, infants, and children each month. The proposal would help address rising hunger among U.S. children.
  6. Homes for children: The budget would provide $4.1 billion for Homeless Assistance Grants to continue supporting approximately 1.2 million people experiencing homelessness each year and to expand assistance to approximately 25,000 additional households, specifically survivors of domestic violence and homeless youth. The budget also specifically includes $9 billion to establish a housing voucher program for the 20,000 youth who age out of foster care each year. In a world of increasing youth homelessness, these measures apply proven solutions.

President Biden has offered a strong vision for the future of our nation’s children. Now, we must get Congress to follow suit.