Legislation Calls Attention to Federal Spending on Children

WASHINGTON D.C.Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) has introduced legislation that would provide an annual accounting of all federal money spent on children.

The Children's Budget Act aims to make children a priority in the federal budget by requiring that the President's annual budget request includes a separate analysis of all spending on children's programs. This accounting would collect the diverse sources of funding for children's programs, in a unified place, communicating a clear picture of the federal funding benefiting America's young people.

"Once again, Senator Menendez has taken a leading role in ensuring our children are a national priority. His ‘Children's Budget Act’ is a simple, inexpensive action that will bring awareness to the federal investment in children," said Bruce Lesley, President of the First Focus Campaign for Children, a national, bipartisan children’s advocacy organization. "Meeting children’s needs requires that we take stock in our efforts. It is critical that Members of Congress and the public are given a clear picture, because doing better for our children tomorrow starts with knowing how they are faring today."

“Our federal budget reflects our priorities as a nation and this bill ensures that we have a clear understanding of how we invest in our children,” said Senator Menendez. “We need to prioritize our children. 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.”

Currently, the law that governs the requirements for the President's annual budget request includes dozens of specific instructions, such as a mandate requiring an analysis of all spending on homeland security. Directing that an analysis of spending on children be submitted as part of the President's larger budget request would be a simple addition to the law. In 2009, Congressman Danny Davis (D-IL) introduced the identical measure in the House of Representatives.

Several states and local governments already produce annual Children's Budgets. These budgets, in cities such as Philadelphia and states such as Louisiana, make it clear how their governments are responding to the needs of children. Children's Budgets have proven to be an invaluable source of information, as well as an inexpensive and efficient way to improve the lives of children.

This Act is cosponsored by Senators Lautenberg, Johnson, Feingold, Bingaman, Casey and Sherrod Brown.

Earlier this year, First Focus released Children’s Budget 2009, a comprehensive analysis of federal spending on children over the past five years, and a publication with intentions similar to that of the Children's Budget Act. After accounting for federal spending on kids, the report found that less than ten percent of all federal spending is devoted to children’s programs.

In the 110th Congress, 120 state and national organizations supported the Children’s Budget Act. They included the following:

  • First Focus Campaign for Children, Washington DCM

Action for Children North Carolina, Raleigh NC
Alliance for Excellent Education, Washington DC
America Forward, Cambridge MA
American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychology, Washington DC
American Academy of Pediatrics, Washington DC
American Association of School Administrators, Arlington VA
American Dental Hygienists Association, Chicago IL
American Humane Association, Alexandria VA
American Pediatric Society, Woodlands TX
American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children, Elmhurst IL
American School Counselor Association, Alexandria VA
America's Promise Alliance, Washington DC
Anchorage's Promise, Anchorage AK
Association for Children of New Jersey, Newark NJ
Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs, Washington DC
Association of Medical School Pediatric Department Chairs, Chapel Hill NC
Baltimore City Health Department, Baltimore MD
Camp Fire USA, Washington DC
Campaign for Youth Justice, Washington DC
Child and Family Policy Center, Des Moines IA
Children First for Oregon, Portland OR
Children Now, Oakland CA
Children's Aid Society, New York NY
Children's Alliance, Seattle WA
Children's Defense Fund, Washington DC
Children's Healthcare is a Legal Duty, Sioux City IA
Children's Memorial Hospital, Chicago IL
Children's Partnership, Santa Monica CA
Childworks, PLLC, Washington DC
Citizen Schools, Boston MA
Coalition for Juvenile Justice, Washington DC
Colorado Children's Campaign, Denver CO
Community Action Agency of Southern New Mexico, Las Cruces NM
Community Action New Mexico, Albuquerque NM
Council for Opportunity in Education, Washington DC
Council of Administrators of Special Education, Inc., Fort Valley GA
DC Action for Children, Washington DC
DC Assembly On School Health Care, Washington DC
Docs for Tots, Washington DC
Economic Council Helping Others, Inc., Farmington NM
Family Voices, Albuquerque NM
Family Voices of District of Columbia, Inc., Washington DC
Family Voices of New Jersey, Newark NJ
Family Voices of North Dakota, Edgeley ND
First Five Years Fund, Washington DC
First Star, Washington DC
Foster Care Alumni of America, Alexandria VA
GLSEN - Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, Washington DC
Illinois Maternal and Child Health Coalition, Chicago IL
Jobs for the Future, Washington DC
KaBOOM!, Washington DC
Kansas Action For Children, Topeka KS
Kentucky Child Now, Frankfort KY
Kentucky Youth Advocates, Jeffersontown KY
LEAnet, Los Angeles CA
Learning Disabilities Association of America, Pittsburgh PA
Maine Children's Alliance ,Augusta ME
Maine Governor's Children's Cabinet, Augusta ME
Mentor/National Mentoring Partnership, Alexandria VA
Michigan's Children, Lansing MI
Mississippi Center for Justice, Jackson MS
National Alliance for Medicaid, Education, Inc.
National Association for Children's Behavioral Health, Washington DC
National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth, Washington DC
National Association of Child Care Resource & Referral Agencies, Arlington VA
National Association of Children's Hospitals, Alexandria VA
National Association of Elementary School Principals, Alexandria VA
National Association of School Psychologists, Bethesda MD
National Association of Secondary School Principals, Reston VA
National Association of State Directors of Special Education ,Alexandria VA
National Child Abuse Coalition, Washington DC
National Collaboration for Youth, Washington DC
National Community Action Foundation, Washington DC
National Council of La Raza, Washington DC
National Education Association, Washington DC
National Foster Care Coalition, Washington DC
National Foster Parent Association, Gig Harbor WA
National Head Start Association, Alexandria VA
National Healthy Start Association, Washington DC
National Hispanic Medical Association, Washington DC
National Indian Child Welfare Association, Portland OR
National Parent Teach Association, Chicago IL
New England Alliance for Children's Health, Boston MA
New Jersey Commission on Higher Education, Trenton NJ
New Mexico Alliance for School Based Health Care, Santa Fe NM
New Mexico Voices for Children, Albuquerque NM
Nurse Family Partnership, Denver CO
Parents Reaching Out, Albuquerque NM
Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children, Harrisburg PA
Pew Charitable Trusts, Washington DC
Pre-K Now, Washington DC
Public Citizens for Children and Youth, Philadelphia PA
Public Education Network, Washington DC
Reading Is Fundamental, Washington DC
Rhode Island KIDS COUNT, Providence RI
Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law, Chicago IL
Save the Children, Washington DC
School Social Work Association of America, Indianapolis IN
SingleStop USA, New York NY
Society for Adolescent Medicine, Blue Springs MO
Society For Pediatric Research, Woodlands TX
Society for Research in Child Development, Washington DC
South Carolina Appleseed Legal Justice Center, Columbia SC
Statewide Parent Advocacy Network of New Jersey, Newark NJ
Tennessee Health Care Campaign, Nashville TN
Tennessee Primary Care Association, Nashville TN
Texans Care for Children, Austin TX
The Forum for Youth Investment, Washington DC
Upstate Parents Network, Greenville SC
Virginia Poverty Law Center, Richmond VA
Voices for Alabama's Children, Montgomery AL
Voices for America's Children, Washington DC
Voices for Georgia's Children, Atlanta GA
Voices for Ohio's Children, Cleveland OH
Voices for Utah Children, Salt Lake City UT
Voices for Virginia's Children, Richmond VA
Wisconsin Council on Children and Families, Madison WI
YMCA of the USA, Washington DC
YouthBuild USA, Somerville MA

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Federal Budget Press Release

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