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As Congress haggles over foreign aid to our allies, it’s worth remembering that the U.S. doesn’t actually spend that much on foreign aid. And that it spends just a tiny fraction of that small pot on children.

In a recent “Speaking of Kids” episode, First Focus on Children Vice President for Advocacy Leila Nimatallah outlines the mismatch between our modest foreign aid efforts and the public perception. When polled, Americans estimate that 25 percent of the federal budget goes to international assistance. The truth is that just 1 percent of the U.S. federal budget goes toward foreign assistance – and less than one-half of that one percent goes toward non-military or non-economic programs.

Children are funded through that one-half of one percent. Programs that sustain and protect children and lift them out of poverty receive just 9 cents of every $1 in that teeny-tiny pot of funding, a figure we unpack in the First Focus on Children 2023 Children’s Budget.

As Congress throws around the word “b” word when talking about aid to Ukraine, aid to Israel, lawmakers must also keep their eye on supporting children. First Focus Campaign for Children is working with Congress to significantly expand resources for vulnerable children in the Fiscal Year 2025 State, Foreign Operations Appropriations bill to at least $35 million, and with the Biden-Harris Administration to prioritize children and implementation of laws including the Global Child Thrive Act. Leila takes you through it here, in her most recent report.