Related: Children’s Issues Comparison of the President’s budget to the House and Senate budgets.

POTUSBudget-Child WelfareOn April 10, President Obama presented his $3.77 trillion FY 2014 budget request to Congress, outlining his spending priorities for the coming year. Among the most prominent features of this year’s budget are the President’s deficit-reduction proposals, repeated from “Grand Bargain” negotiations of late 2012, which seek to trim an additional $1.8 trillion from the budget through $580 billion in new taxes on the wealthy along with $230 billion in savings from reductions in cost-of-living-adjustments for federal entitlement programs. The President’s budget also eliminates sequester-related cuts. Overall, funding for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) would increase to $80.1 billion in discretionary funding in FY 2014, up $3.9 billion from FY 2012 levels.

The FY 2014 budget request for the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) is $50.3 billion. The department’s discretionary budget request is $16.2 billion, reflecting a decrease of $309 million from the FY 2012 levels. With respect to child welfare, among the most notable aspects of the budget is the inclusion of a new proposal for a pregnancy prevention program for foster care youth. The new initiative re-designates approximately $12 million in abstinence education funds that are not currently drawn down by states for teen pregnancy prevention. This brief provides a summary of other proposals in the President’s FY 2014 budget that are significant for child welfare.

It’s important to recognize that the President’s budget represents only the Administration’s wish list of priorities, providing a blueprint for Congress to consider as it begins the process of allocating federal dollars for spending on programs. Ultimately, Congress holds the reins on setting funding levels. We realize that Congress has very difficult decisions to make with respect to spending cuts, but balancing the budget should not fall on the backs of our children. First Focus urges Congress to act swiftly to ensure that the needs of our children are met and that funding for child welfare is a national priority.