Washington, D.C. (February 12, 2018) – Save the Children and Save the Children Action Network (SCAN) today expressed concern about the president’s fiscal year 2019 budget request. While the plan level-funds domestic early childhood programs including Head Start and the Child Care and Development Block Grant program (CCDBG), it eliminates funding for Preschool Development Grants and 21st Century Community Learning Centers, a vital after-school program.
“While we are grateful Head Start and CCDBG retained their funding, the president’s budget proposal seems to undermine the bipartisan budget agreement that Congress approved and the president signed last week, which rightly increased funding for CCDBG. Early childhood education and child care programs deserve a more robust investment than the president proposed today and eliminating funding for any program, especially Preschool Development Grants, is unacceptable,” said Kris Perry, president of SCAN.
“Early childhood education and child care are essential to ensuring working families are able to provide their children with a safe and nurturing environment, help build social, emotional and cognitive skills and prepare our nation’s future workforce,” she said.
Last year, President Trump also proposed the elimination of 21st Century Community Learning Centers and Preschool Development Grants in his fiscal year 2018 proposal, which Congress rejected by restoring the funding in their proposed budget. Mark Shriver, Senior Vice President of U.S. Programs and Advocacy at Save the Children, urged Congress to reject the president’s proposal again in fiscal year 2019.
“Yet again, thousands of poor children across the country are not being prioritized by our leaders in Washington,” Shriver said. “I am appalled at the elimination of an essential after-school program, 21st Century Community Learning Centers, which helps to reduce the achievement gap and ensures children have a safe place to go at the end of the school day while parents are at work and contributing to our nation’s economy. These kids and families across the country deserve this continued investment, which will help provide a brighter future to us all.”
The Trump Administration included an addendum to the budget proposal, which includes major changes to how funding for key children’s programs is categorized.
The Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program (MIECHV) would be moved from mandatory to discretionary spending. This would mean Congress would have fight over how much funding it receives each year and could lead to major fluctuations in budgeting for the program.
Additionally, the addendum would shift an additional $277 million in the Payments to States for the CCDBG account from mandatory funding, as proposed in the fiscal year 2019 Budget, to discretionary funding. Further, it would provide an additional $169 million in discretionary funding for this account, for a total funding level of $3.006 billion, which is $150 million more than the fiscal year 2017 enacted level, but significantly less than the Congressional budget deal signed by President Trump last week. The bipartisan two-year budget deal promised $5.8 billion in fiscal years 2018 and 2019.
“As we have in the past, we will continue to work with our advocates across the country to make it loud and clear that any proposed cuts will not be tolerated,” said Perry. “We look forward to working with Republican and Democratic allies in Congress to increase funding for kids during the budget process.”