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The Importance of Federal Spending for Children

A new report released last week underscores the importance of federal investments on issues that impact children and families. It is often said that your priorities are reflected in where you spend your money, and it seems children are. An afterthought when budgets are created. The 2022 Children's Budget, an annual report compiled by the national bipartisan advocacy group First Focus on Kids, looks at the federal share of combined spending dedicated to children across federal agencies. And the findings say a great deal about the nation’s priorities.

This year’s report shows a game-changing shift. In the last budget year prior to the pandemic (2020), the share of spending on children dropped to a record low of 7.55%. The COVID pandemic assistance combined with new federal initiatives introduced under the Biden Administration have increased the share of spending to 11.98%. Policies like the enhanced child tax credit, child care stabilization grants and expanded school nutrition programs were instrumental to lifting millions of Americans out of poverty.

Some other key findings:

  • Funding for children’s mental health has increased by 11.3%.
  • Funding for children’s environmental health increased by 25%.
  • Funding for dedicated to education programs increased by 105%.
  • Funding for justice and child protection increased by 28%

Despite their bipartisan popularity and success, many of these issues and initiatives are only temporary, and so are the gains. Some, like enhanced Child Tax Credits, have already expired. Others, such as the Public Health Emergency declaration that kept millions of families on health insurance coverage, are nearing their end. Without further action, these gains will be lost. Please continue to ask your representatives to to invest federal spending on initiatives that help children.

Read report here

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