Thursday, April 11, 2013

The President’s FY 2014 Budget; New Resource from CSSP

Today President Obama released his Fiscal Year (FY) 2014 Budget, which outlines the administration’s policy agenda and budget request for federal spending in the upcoming year and sets the tone for the national policy agenda moving forward.  The federal budget becomes the guide by which every major spending and revenue decision is made, making it one of the largest policy vehicles for supporting children and families.  While the process this year has been a bit unorthodox, with the Senate and House releasing their FY14 budget proposals before the White House released their budget request, the stakes for children and families remain incredibly high and the benefit of collaboration is not only clear but, in some cases, will be required.

In CSSP’s new brief “Aligning Resources and Results: How Policymakers and Communities Can Collaborate to Improve Neighborhood Outcomes” we highlight the Building Neighborhood Capacity Program (BNCP), a program under the Administration’s signature Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative. The goal of BNCP is to help neighborhoods develop the capacity they need to  enable residents, civic leaders, the public and private sectors and local organizations to identify neighborhood needs and  implement sustainable solutions. In this budget brief, we highlight the progress and efforts taking shape in one BNCP site in Milwaukee, where partnerships between community members and local policymakers are setting the stage for the needs of two neighborhoods to finally be met after years of being overlooked.  The brief outlines the importance of collaboration between policymakers and community members – and serves as a good resource for those working to collaborate around a shared set of results. 

Furthermore, the brief provides more extensive and detailed analysis of the President’s budget requests for programs impacting low-income children and families. Some highlights are below, including core themes of early childhood education and care, place-based programs, and community health and safety.

Early childhood education and care. In keeping with the President’s promise in his 2013 State of the Union address to prioritize early childhood education, his budget establishes a new initiative that would ensure that every four-year-old in the United States is able to attend pre-school. Although the details of how this would be paid for are a bit vague, the budget describes that the initiative “would be financed through mandatory resources and fully paid for elsewhere in the budget”. What is clear is a $750 million discretionary investment in Preschool Development Grants, intended for states that are committed to expanding access to preschool are able to make the critical investments to do so. Furthermore, the budget proposes a new $1.4 billion Early Head Start-Child Care Partnership, provides funding child care to states, child care subsidies and an expansion of voluntary home visiting.

Place-based programs. The President’s budget made some significant additions to the Administration’s place-based initiatives. Promise Neighborhoods and Choice Neighborhoods both received significant increases in their funding requests: $300 million ($240 million over FY13) and $400 million ($280 million over FY13), respectively. In addition, the budget requested $35 million for the Byrne Criminal Justice Initiative. All three of these programs contribute funds to the Building Neighborhood Capacity Program, as highlighted in CSSP’s new brief above.

Community health and safety. Following a year in which particularly violent and tragic events came to the forefront of Americans’ consciousness, the President made concrete his commitment to taking more steps to understand the etiology of violence and ways to prevent it. He requested $10 million within CDC to support research on the causes and prevention of gun violence, requested $332 million for programming related to youth violence prevention, and requested $119 million for the Second Chance Act, which serves to prevent ex-offenders from returning to incarceration.

Because the sequester went into effect last month and federal agencies have already cut back on their programs and services in response, it is of special note that President Obama replaces the sequester in his FY14 budget.  Nevertheless, key programs serving low-income families have taken a hit, so this budget proposal provides an important opportunity to emphasize how - and why - policymakers and community members should work together to maximize resources and ensure that supports for children and families are sustained.

For more on collaborating around results and results-based policy strategies, visit

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