Tuesday, March 11, 2014

How Do Children, Youth and Older Adults Fare in the President's 2015 Budget?

Last week President Obama released his budget for 2015. The president's budget does not represent the final funding amounts for programs and services in 2015. It is a blueprint.  Congress must then act to pass annual appropriation bills and bills that authorize programs to determine whether programs will be funded and the amount at which they will be funded.

Here are some of the highlights of changes in supports for children, youth and older adults in comparison to 2014 funding levels:

·         SENIOR CORPS AND NATIONAL SERVICES: Reduces funding for Senior Corps by at least $56 million. Significantly reorganizes Seniors Corps. The Foster Grandparent Program and Senior Companion Programs would be incorporated into the larger Americorps. Funding for Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) would be reduced by two thirds and grants would be made under the Volunteer Generation Fund.

·         SOCIAL SECURITY: Drops the proposal in the 2014 budget to subject annual Social Security cost of living increases to the "chained CPI" which advocates have described as a benefit cut. Calls for $100 million investment to modernize Social Security Administration operations and improve services. This is a reversal of previous budget cuts that have led to increased wait times and local office closures.

·         SENIOR HOUSING: Increases Section 202 Housing for the Elderly by $56.5 million. This program is home to the LEGACY housing demonstrations that services grandparents raising grandchildren. The increase does not indicate increased support for LEGACY demonstrations but the it is significant because of low funding levels in recent years.

·         OLDER AMERICANS ACT: The majority of Older American Act Programs (Including the National Family Caregiver Support Program which service grandfamilies in many parts of the country) will be level-funded. Exceptions include a $54 million cut in the Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP) and a progopsal to move the program fromthe U.S. Department of Labor to the Department of Health and Human Services. The U.S. Administration for Community Living requested $3 million for a White House Conference on Aging and additional some additional services.

·         FAMILY CONNECTIONS GRANTS: Calls for $15 million for Family Connections Grants including Kinship Navigator Programs. (These additional resources require reauthorization of the program)

·         KINSHIP GUARDIANSHIP ASSISTANCE: $99 million is estimated for Kinship Guardianship Assistance Programs.  Because these payments are part of an entitlement under Title IV-E, the funding amount will grow as the eligible population grows.  The number of children entering  the program has been growing less quickly than what was initially estimated when the program was enacted under the Fostering Connections and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008.

·         SOCIAL SERVICES BLOCK GRANT: $1.7 million and increase from the $1.577 in 2014. Funding for this program was subject to sequestration and reduced in 2014.

·         CHILD CARE: Child Care and Development Block Grant would receive an increase of about $5.7 million

·         PRE-SCHOOL:  Calls for $ 500 million in Pre-School Development Grants and $1.3 billion in Pre-School for All Implementation Grants

·         PROMISE  NEIGHBORHOODS:  The budget  calls for $100 million for promise neighborhoods, up from $53 in 2014. 

For the full overview of the president’s 2015 budget visit  http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/overview

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