80+ National and State Advocates Ask for Annual Children’s Budget
Washington - A coalition of 83 national and state advocates sent today a letter urging congressional leadership to support The Children’s Budget Act (S. 1396). The legislation would require the White House to submit an annual children’s budget.
“For the same reason we balance our checkbooks, we should be creating a children’s budget – we measure what matters to us to make better decisions about how and when to spend money,” said First Focus Campaign for Children (FFCC) President Bruce Lesley.
The Children’s Budget Act, introduced by Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ), would create an independent and comprehensive accounting of all investments in children. Because they are spread out over many departments and dozens of bureaus and programs, there is currently no official or simple way to evaluate the overall level of federal investment in children. Comparing levels across years is a difficult task.
The Children’s Budget Act would be easy to implement at no federal cost. Identical legislation was also introduced in the House of Representatives by Congressman Danny Davis (D-IL).
“The Children’s Budget Act is a no-brainer because it’s a no-cost resource that allows Americans to be the judge of whether we as a nation are making appropriate investments in our kids,” said Lesley.
Measuring areas vital to the growth and security of the country are not unprecedented. The Office of Management and Budget is already required to report on funding for Homeland Security, the Export-Import Bank, and even meteorology.
First Focus, a bipartisan children’s organization affiliated with First Focus Campaign for Children, released recently a study that found in 2010, only 8.4 percent of the federal budget was allocated to children, even though kids are nearly 25 percent of the population.
The letter was signed by 50 national advocates for children and families, communities of color, educators, low- and moderate-income families, people with disabilities, advocates for child welfare, advocates for child laborers, health care consumers, health care providers, and mental health providers as well as 33 state and local advocacy organizations from 24 states.
“Advocates agree it’s time to stop budgeting in the dark on children’s issues. Children are our most valuable asset, so let’s bring our investments in children into focus so we can make smarter investments in the future,” said Lesley.
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The First Focus Campaign for Children is a 501(c)(4) nonprofit organization affiliated with First Focus, a bipartisan children’s advocacy organization. The Campaign for Children advocates directly for legislative change in Congress to ensure children and families are a priority in federal policy and budget decisions. For more information, visit www.ffcampaignforchildren.org.