Strengthening the Economy for Children and Youth
The President’s Fiscal Year 2014 Budget demonstrates that we can make critical investments to strengthen the middle class, create jobs, and grow the economy while continuing to cut the deficit in a balanced way.
The President believes we must invest in the true engine of America’s economic growth – a rising and thriving middle class. He is focused on addressing three fundamental questions: How do we attract more jobs to our shores? How do we equip our people with the skills needed to do the jobs of the 21st Century? How do we make sure hard work leads to a decent living? The Budget presents the President’s plan to address each of these questions.
To make America once again a magnet for jobs, the Budget invests in high-tech manufacturing and innovation, clean energy, and infrastructure, while cutting red tape to help businesses grow. To give workers the skills they need to compete in the global economy, it invests in education from pre-school to job training. To ensure hard work is rewarded, it raises the minimum wage to $9 an hour so a hard day’s work pays more.
The Budget does all of these things as part of a comprehensive plan that reduces the deficit and puts the nation on a sound fiscal course. Every new initiative in the plan is fully paid for, so they do not add a single dime to the deficit. The Budget also incorporates the President’s compromise offer to House Speaker Boehner to achieve another $1.8 trillion in deficit reduction in a balanced way. When combined with the deficit reduction already achieved, this will allow us to exceed the goal of $4 trillion in deficit reduction, while growing the economy and strengthening the middle class. By including this compromise proposal in the Budget, the President is demonstrating his willingness to make tough choices and his seriousness about finding common ground to further reduce the deficit.
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To support our nation’s children and youth, particularly the most vulnerable, the 2014 Budget will:
HELP FAMILIES ENSURE KIDS GET A GREAT START TO LIFE
Increase Access to High-Quality Early Childhood Education. To build a foundation for success in the formative early years of life, the Budget outlines a proposal to increase access to high-quality early childhood education with the Preschool for All initiative. This initiative invests $75 billion over 10 years in high-quality preschool and is financed by raising the Federal tax on cigarettes and other tobacco products, which would also have substantial public health impacts, particularly by reducing youth smoking. In addition, the Budget makes three complementary investments, including Preschool Development Grants, to help States build the infrastructure so they can participate in Preschool for All; an Early Head Start-Child Care Partnership fund to increase access to high-quality early learning environments; and an extension and expansion of the evidence-based voluntary home visiting program to provide our most vulnerable parents and children with the education and services to ensure our youngest children develop into healthy learners in safe homes.
Provide High-Quality Preschool for All. In partnership with the States, the Budget provides all low- and moderate-income four-year-olds with high-quality preschool, while encouraging States to serve additional four-year-olds from middle-income families. The initiative also promotes access to full-day kindergarten and high-quality early education programs for children under age four. To support this initiative, the Budget also proposes a $750 million investment in Preschool Development Grants to ensure that States willing to commit to expanding preschool access are able to make the critical investments necessary to serve their four-year-olds in high-quality programs.
Invest in High-Quality Infant and Toddler Care. The Budget provides $1.6 billion for companion investments in high-quality early learning for infants and toddlers through new Early Head Start-Child Care Partnerships.
Invest in Effective Parent and Family Strategies. The Budget also provides $15 billion to extend and expand evidence-based voluntary home visiting programs that allow nurses, social workers, and other professionals to connect families to tools that positively impact the child’s health, development, and ability to learn.
Partner with Communities to Help Them Rebuild. Children will be best prepared for success if they grow up in a strong community with safe streets, good schools, and economic opportunities for their families. The Promise Zones initiative will revitalize high-poverty communities across the country by attracting private investment, improving affordable housing, expanding educational opportunities, providing tax incentives for hiring workers and investing in the Zones, reducing violence, and assisting local leaders in navigating Federal programs and cutting through red tape. To align Federal investments with these hardest-hit communities, the Budget invests $300 million in combining effective cradle-to-career services with comprehensive school reforms through Promise Neighborhoods; $400 million in Choice Neighborhoods to revitalize affordable housing and surrounding neighborhoods; and $35 million in Byrne Criminal Justice Innovation Grants to combat serious crime and violence using proven public safety strategies.
Strengthen Families. The Budget supports the President’s commitment to promoting healthy marriages for all families and supporting the critical role that fathers play in enhancing the intellectual, emotional, and financial well-being of their sons and daughters. The Budget proposes allowing existing Federal programs, like the child support program, to implement models that get more men working and engaging with their children. It also supports States in testing strategies to overcome financial deterrents to forming safe and stable marriages.
Make Tax Cuts Permanent for Working Families. The Budget permanently extends expansions of the Child Tax Credit and the Earned Income Tax Credit that were passed in the Recovery Act and continued as part of the bipartisan Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization and Job Creation Act and The American Taxpayer Relief Act that the President negotiated and signed into law in January 2013. The expanded refundability of the Child Tax Credit benefits 12 million families with 21 million children. The expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit for married couples and families with three or more children provides tax cuts averaging $500 to 6 million families. These improvements lifted 1.6 million Americans out of poverty in 2010. The Budget also proposes to make permanent the American Opportunity Tax Credit, which currently helps about 11 million students and families afford college.
Prevent Hunger. Nutrition is critical to the nation’s overall health and children’s development and academic achievement. At a time of continued need, the Budget provides $7.1 billion in funding to support the 8.9 million individuals expected to participate in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), which supports pregnant women, new mothers, infants, and young children. The Administration also continues its support of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the cornerstone of our nation’s food assistance safety net that touches the lives of more than 47 million people by helping families put food on the table.
CONTINUE REFORMS IN K-12 TO BETTER EDUCATE OUR YOUTH
Sustain Investment While Ramping up Innovations in Grades K-12. The Department of Education has fueled historic reforms in our education system by rewarding excellence and promoting innovation to help children succeed. Continuing to build on these reforms, the 2014 Budget provides $659 million in School Turnaround Grants to turn around America’s persistently lowest-performing schools; includes $215 million to support effective educational models through the Investing in Innovation (i3) fund; increases the supply of high-quality public educational options through a $295 million investment in the Expanding Educational Options program; and provides $1.3 billion for 21st Century Community Learning Centers to provide high-need students with additional time, support, and enrichment activities. The Budget is also committed to maintaining support for disadvantaged students by providing $14.5 billion for ESEA Title I Grants to States to pay teacher salaries and fund critical education interventions.
Redesign High School. The Budget creates a new, competitive $300 million fund to redesign high schools to focus on providing challenging and relevant learning experiences, while promoting and developing partnerships with colleges and employers that improve instruction and prepare students to continue education or transition into skilled jobs.
Support Healthy Eating. The Budget supports the implementation of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 with $35 million in school equipment grants to aid in the provision of healthy meals and continued support for other school-based resources.
Help Youth Build Skills for Employment. The Budget provides $847 million for the Workforce Investment Act Youth program, which provides a range of employment and education services, including summer job opportunities, to low-income youth with barriers to employment. It also requests $80 million for YouthBuild, a program that allows at-risk youth to attain a diploma or GED and gain skills while giving back to their community by building and rehabilitating low-income housing. The Budget devotes $50 million to test and replicate innovative and evidence-based strategies to help young ex-offenders succeed in education and employment rather than continuing their involvement in the criminal justice system.
Make Our Schools Safer. The President’s plan to reduce gun violence and increase school safety requires that we invest not only in preparing our schools for emergencies but also in creating safe and nurturing climates to prevent future tragedies. The Budget provides $112 million in new funds for the Department of Education to help schools develop and implement emergency preparedness plans; create safer and more nurturing school climates through evidence-based behavioral intervention practices; provide support and services to children exposed to pervasive violence; collect data on school safety and climate; and highlight best practices regarding school behavioral intervention and discipline policies, including the equitable implementation of these policies. These investments will complement additional efforts of the Departments of Justice, Health and Human Services, and Education to support comprehensive school safety strategies and to increase access to mental health services. For example, the Budget requests for the Department of Justice $150 million to support the hiring of school resource officers, counselors, and other mental health professionals in schools, as well as other school safety investments, and $20 million to help schools, police, and juvenile justice authorities collaborate to reduce arrests as a response to minor youth misbehavior in and around schools.
Expand Mental Health Treatment for Youth and Families. The Budget includes a new $130 million initiative to help teachers and other adults recognize signs of mental illness in students and refer them to help if needed, support innovative state-based programs to improve mental health outcomes for young people ages 16-25, and train 5,000 more mental health professionals with a focus on serving students and young adults.
CREATE PATHWAYS TO GOOD JOBS OF THE 21ST CENTURY
Improve College Affordability and Value. The Budget proposes to improve college affordability and value with a continued commitment to Pell Grants; budget-neutral student loan reform that will make interest rates more market-based; a $1 billion Race to the Top fund to support competitive grants to States that drive higher education reform, while doing more to contain tuition rates; a $260 million First in the World fund to spur cutting-edge innovations that decrease college costs and boost graduation rates; and reforms to Federal campus-based aid to reward colleges that set responsible tuition policy, provide a high-quality education, and better serve students with financial needs.
Create Pathways to Work for Every American. Investing in our nation’s low-income youth, and connecting those who have experienced long-term unemployment to jobs, is critical to building long-term prosperity and ensuring that our economic recovery reaches all Americans. The Budget creates a $12.5 billion Pathways Back to Work fund to make it easier for workers to remain connected to the workforce and gain new skills for long-term employment. This initiative will support summer and year round jobs for low-income youth, subsidized employment and job training opportunities for unemployed and low income adults, and other promising strategies designed to lead to employment.
Strengthen Job Corps. The Administration strongly supports the Job Corps program, which provides comprehensive services and support to some of the nation's most disadvantaged youth in centers across the country. The Budget continues the Administration's commitment to reforming the program and improving the quality of the services it provides. These reforms include closing the small number of Job Corps centers that are chronically low-performing; identifying and seeking to replicate the practices of high-performing centers; strengthening financial oversight; and adopting cost-saving reforms.
Support National Service. The Budget funds approximately 82,000 AmeriCorps members through the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) core programs. This will enable members to serve and support the efforts of nonprofit organizations working across the country to address a wide range of critical community challenges, from hurricanes to homelessness to failing schools. In addition, the Budget continues support for FEMA Corps, an innovative new partnership between the Federal Emergency Management Administration and CNCS that brings young people interested in careers in emergency management into public service while improving the resilience of local communities. This partnership will support an additional 1,600 AmeriCorps members in 2014. The Budget also continues support for School Turnaround AmeriCorps, a new partnership between the Department of Education and CNCS that places AmeriCorps members in the nation’s lowest-performing schools to help improve student performance.
PROTECT OUR MOST VULNERABLE YOUTH AND FAMILIES
Promote Better Outcomes for Disconnected Youth. Inconsistent and overlapping Federal program requirements sometimes prevent States and communities from effectively coordinating services or using funding to support strategies that are most likely to achieve the best outcomes. In 2014, the Administration proposes establishing up to 13 Performance Partnership pilots involving up to $130 million in existing discretionary Federal resources that are designed to improve outcomes for disconnected youth, including young adults who have dropped out of school and are not employed. Approved performance partnerships designed at the State or community level could blend discretionary funds for youth-serving programs across agencies in exchange for greater accountability for results. Performance indicators, such as education and employment outcomes, would be used to gauge progress, and evaluations would study what locally designed strategies work best. The Administration will work with community and nonprofit leaders— both secular and religious— to explore the potential for similar performance partnerships in other areas, like revitalizing distressed communities and reducing youth violence. The Budget also includes $25 million in the Departments of Education and Labor to support the development of pilots, youth-focused Pay for Success projects, and other activities to improve outcomes for this population.
Support Evidence-Based Teen Pregnancy Prevention. Because the President believes that more progress must be made on reducing the number of unplanned pregnancies, the Budget provides $260 million for teen pregnancy prevention and related efforts. A $105 million initiative targets funds for grants to community-based and faith-based organizations that implement the evidence-based models that have been proven to work in reducing teen pregnancy -- models that provide medically accurate, age-appropriate, and complete information on contraception and sexual health. The model will also fund and rigorously evaluate programs that are promising but not yet proven. The Budget also proposes a new program to help reduce pregnancy among youth in foster care, funded by Abstinence Education funds that are not used by States.
Strengthen Efforts to Combat Violence Against Young Women. Despite progress made in recent years, too many women – particularly young women – are beaten, raped, and stalked every year. The Budget plays a critical role in helping to create a coordinated community response to this problem. The Budget includes $412.5 million in Department of Justice Office on Violence Against Women grants and assistance to support victims of violence, including domestic abuse and sexual assault victims. The Budget also proposes an increase of $95 million in the Crime Victim Fund for a range of services including domestic trafficking, tribal victim services, and increased funds to States to better serve crime victims including violence against women. The Budget works to improve the apprehension and prosecution of sex offenders by providing $20 million to address the nation’s backlog of rape kits. The Budget provides an increase of $7 million for family violence shelters and services, and for the Domestic Violence Hotline to help address unmet need. Finally, the Budget includes $10 million for a new initiative to prevent and address domestic human trafficking victims, many of whom are young women. This initiative will provide direct services such as housing assistance and counseling to victims of trafficking, train service providers, and invest in data collection, research, and evaluation.
Maintain Funding for the Education of Children with Disabilities. The Budget sustains the Department of Education’s commitment to supporting education for students with disabilities, providing $11.6 billion for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) Grants to States to provide a high quality education and help offset State and local education costs for children with disabilities. The Budget also provides a $20 million, or 5 percent, increase for the IDEA Infants and Families Program to provide the youngest children a strong start in life.
Improve Services for Children with Disabilities. The Budget supports the continued implementation of the interagency Promoting Readiness of Minors in SSI (PROMISE) pilot, initiated in 2012. The Department of Education and Social Security Administration, in consultation with the Departments of Labor and Health and Human Services, will provide competitive grants to test and evaluate interventions that successfully improve child and family outcomes and reduce the need for children to remain in the SSI program.
Preserve Affordable Rental Opportunities for Families with Children. The Budget requests $20 billion for the Housing Choice Voucher program to help more than 2.2 million low-income families afford decent housing in neighborhoods of their choice. This funding level supports all existing vouchers and provides 10,000 new vouchers targeted to homeless veterans. The Budget also includes $10.3 billion for the Project-Based Rental Assistance program to maintain affordable rental housing for 1.2 million families, and provides $6.6 billion in operating and capital subsidies to preserve affordable public housing for an additional 1.1 million families. More than 40 percent of the affordable units funded by these rental assistance programs are home to families with children. An additional $10 million for the Rental Assistance Demonstration will be targeted to Public Housing properties in high-poverty neighborhoods, including designated Promise Zones. The Budget also provides $950 million for the HOME Investment Partnerships Program to provide grants to state and local governments to supply almost 40,000 additional units of affordable housing for low-income families. This funding level will be complemented by another $1 billion in mandatory funding for the Housing Trust Fund to finance the development, rehabilitation, and preservation of affordable housing for extremely-low income families.
Increase Funding for Homeless Assistance Grants. The Budget provides $2.4 billion -- $480 million above the FY 2012 enacted level -- for Homeless Assistance Grants. The request allows HUD to renew all existing assistance, part of which helps shelter over 340,000 homeless children annually. In addition, the Budget provides $60 million for new targeted rapid re-housing and $40 million for new permanent supportive housing, serving an additional 30,000 people. The increase for rapid re-housing will help make progress toward the goal of ending youth and family homelessness by 2020, as described in Opening Doors: The Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness.