As the official start of summer approaches, Congress is continuing to slowly work its way through the fiscal year 2013 appropriations process.  This week the Senate Appropriations Committee passed its version of the 2013 Labor-HHS-Education appropriations bill, the primary funding vehicle for most child welfare and related programs.  At this juncture the House has not yet initiated action on its version of the funding bill.
The Senate bill includes small but important funding increases for a number of programs critical to vulnerable children and families.  Among these are a $70 million increase for Head Start, a $160 million increase for the Child Care Development Block Grant (CCDBG) designed to both improve quality and expand access, a $51 million increase for the Race to the Top program with an accompanying focus on early childhood care and education, and a $20 million increase for Promise Neighborhoods, a program designed to support local efforts to fight poverty and improve educational outcomes for children in high-risk neighborhoods.  It also provides funding for a proposal included in President Obama's budget that dedicates $5 million in additional IV-B training funds to prevent domestic child sex trafficking and improve services for victims of trafficking by training and building capacity in organizations that have direct contact with youth at-risk of sex trafficking.  These organizations include child welfare agencies, foster group homes, and youth programs.
The next step in the process would be for the full Senate to take up the bill, though the timeline on that is yet unknown.  House action on its version of the Labor-HHS-Education appropriations bill is also expected in the near future.  Ultimately it is highly likely that the 2013 appropriations process will not be concluded until after the November elections, if not later.
For more information on the Senate Labor-HHS-Education bill, an analysis of the current federal budget process, and a synopsis of the important issues that remain to be decided later this year, please join us for a These Cuts Won't Heal budget campaign webinar on Monday, June 18 at 3pm EST.  If you haven’t yet registered, you can do so here: