First Focus on Children sent the following letter to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, Strategic Planning Team in response to the request to submit comments for the HHS draft Strategic Plan for FY 2022-2026.

Excerpt from the letter:

Every year, First Focus on Children, alongside the children’s community, acknowledges the 2nd Sunday of June as Children’s Day and the start of Children’s Week. Children’s Week is an opportunity for child advocates to come together to raise awareness of the issues impacting children and share proposed policy solutions. It is clear your Administration recognizes that children are a vulnerable population which require unique policy solutions. Within the first year, the Biden-Harris White House has been able to accomplish so much for children. The expanded Child Tax Credit enacted through the American Rescue Plan dramatically reduced child poverty— an issue known to negatively affect nearly every other aspect of a child’s life. Your American Families Plan was one of the strongest proposals for kids ever put forth by a president, and your proposed FY2021 budget reversed the downward spending trend of the federal share allocated to kids from historic lows under the Trump Administration to the highest recorded level by First Focus on Children.

We appreciate you highlighting the needs of children in this draft Strategic Plan but encourage you to go further in prioritizing kids and ensure that objectives to improve child outcomes are better integrated throughout the plan. Whenever there are objectives around health, the environment, or economic security, we ask that you please include children, and think about their needs as a collective policy and investment strategy that when enacted together, will improve their lives today and for years to come.

Read the full letter.