FY 2018 Budget Request Would Cut Child Care and Early Education Investments
The budget proposal for FY 2018 submitted by President Trump would cut billions of dollars from health, human services, nutrition, and education while redirecting those funds as tax cuts to corporations and the wealthy, according to a new analysis by the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP). Accordng to CLASP, a Washington, DC-based organization that advocates for public policies aimed at improving the lives of low-income people, Trump’s budget proposal would have significant implications. If enacted, the budget would dramatically undermine efforts to improve quality of care and make social service programs more effective, as well as reduce critical services for hundreds of thousands of children. These sharp reductions called for in the Trump budget plan would be compounded by disinvestment in SNAP, Medicaid, and other benefits that promote healthy development and wellbeing for millions of young children and families. The president’s budget would fund the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) at the FY 2016 level, eliminating the $95 million increase gained in the FY 2017 omnibus spending bill. CCDBG is the primary source of funding to help low-income families meet high child care costs and improve quality of care for all children. Head Start and Early Head Start would also be funded at the 2016 level, resulting in an $85 million cut. The funding level is intended to maintain Head Start services for nearly 890,000 children, a small share of children currently eligible for Head Start’s comprehensive early childhood education services. After CCDBG, the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) block grant is the largest federal funding source for child care assistance to low-income families. In 2015—the most recent year for which data are available—states directed $2.6 billion in federal TANF funds to child care assistance, comprising nearly a third of total federal funding for child care subsidies for low-income families. The president’s budget would reduce core TANF funds by 10% ($1.6 billion per year) and also eliminate the $608 million TANF contingency fund available to some states. States already face competing priorities for a limited amount of funding, and this would further reduce available dollars for child care assistance. Social Services Block Grant The budget would also eliminate the Social Services Block Grant (SSBG), which provides flexible funding to states to meet a variety of needs for low-income children and families. This includes child care services, which comprised 11% of SSBG spending in 2014. Budget documents suggest that nearly 200,000 children already lost child care assistance funded by CCDBG, TANF, and SSBG from 2012 to 2016 due to inadequate funding and project the loss of 300,000 additional children by 2022 with level funding. And 516,000 children would lose assistance by 2027. Regular funding increases are needed to cover increases in the cost of child care over time and prevent children from losing assistance.