The Federal Budget and Spending on Children

From:  "Changing The Way We Think About Prevention"

4 August 2008

The Urban Institute, in partnership with the New America Foundation and with support from First Focus and The Annie E. Casey Foundation, has released a new report entitled Kids’ Share 2008: How Children Fare in the Federal Budget.

The report looks at federal spending trends and tax policies that impact children and families, and finds that domestic spending on children in 2008 is unfortunately continuing to follow a downward trend. According to the report’s data, while federal expenditures overall continue to grow, the portion of domestic spending focused on children has steadily decreased over the last five decades, dropping a total of 22% since 1960.

This report further supports the findings of Children’s Budget 2008, a publication released in April by First Focus which showed that since 2003, only one penny of every new non-defense dollar spent by the federal government has gone towards children’s programs.

In what he hopes will be a step towards reversing this trend of declining investment in children, Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) introduced the Children’s Budget Act (S. 3277) on July 16th. The bill would require the President to include in the Administration’s annual budget submitted to Congress a separate analysis of all spending on children’s programs, including a detailed breakdown of spending by agency, department, and initiative as well as an estimate of the portion of overall domestic spending being allocated to children’s programs.

Advocates of the legislation have noted that the law currently governing the requirements for the Administration’s annual budget request already includes similar specific instructions for other spending areas, such as a mandate requiring a separate analysis of homeland security spending, which means that implementing the Children’s Budget Act would be a simple addition to the law.

“We need to prioritize our children and currently that is simply not the case,” said Senator Menendez. “If we get a complete picture of how we spend on our children’s programs today, then we can work to ensure we are not shortchanging the vulnerable members of our society tomorrow.”

Please note that this information comes from Prevent Child Abuse America's Prevention Advocate e-newsletter which we invite you to sign-up for if you would like this kind of information coming directly to your inbox. If you have any additional questions about this blog entry we also invite you to e-mail Bridget Gavaghan our Director of Public Policy directly at


The grim reaping of what has already been sown

According to the pdf "How children fare in the federal budget"

Children benefit from more than 100 federal programs designed to improve their well-being and secure their families through cash assistance, health care, food and nutritional aid, housing, education, and training. Children in working families also benefit from credits and exemptions through the tax code that put their familieson more solid financial ground.

In the above posted article, it states "since 2003, only one penny of every new non-defense dollar spent by the federal government has gone towards children’s programs."

To help put this human-spending problem into perspective, let's look at the story I mentioned in "Where did it all go wrong?".  The child who may grow to never speak or function like a "normal child", in-spite of adoptive parenting efforts, came from the following family situation:

Michelle says she was a student at the University of Tampa when she met a man named Bernie at a bar. It was 1976. He was a Vietnam vet, 10 years her senior. They got married and moved to Las Vegas, where he drove a taxi.

Right away they had two sons, Bernard and Grant. The younger boy wasn't potty-trained until he was 4, didn't talk until he was 5. "He was sort of slow," Michelle says. In school, they put him in special ed.

Her sons were teenagers when her husband got sick. Agent Orange, the doctors said. When he died in August 1997, Michelle filed for bankruptcy.

Vietnam vet leaves wife and children behind, and how did the federal government help the children of a soldier sent to war?

Amazing how the federal government sets it's priorities in public-money spending, isn't it? 

Primary links

Pound Pup Legacy