Council for a Strong America Celebrates Victories for Kids in Bipartisan Funding Agreement
Congress releases major bipartisan funding bill that will support home visiting, child nutrition, afterschool, and juvenile justice programs, among others
WASHINGTON, DC– Today, Congress released the text of its bipartisan end-of-year funding bill for 2023. Council for a Strong America’s members in law enforcement, business, and retired military praised the bill’s significant victories for children and families across the nation, including major funding for home visiting programs, early childhood education, afterschool, child nutrition, and juvenile justice. Council for a Strong America’s leaders are grateful for the bipartisan support from lawmakers in the House and Senate for making this possible.
A major victory includes the five-year expansion of the voluntary, evidence-based Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) funding stream, fought for by members from Fight Crime: Invest in Kids, ReadyNation, and Mission: Readiness. In its original research report released this year, Council for a Strong America detailed the importance of MIECHV and later endorsed the Jackie Walorski Home Visiting Act as a way to protect and expand the program. Under current funding levels, less than approximately 2 percent of the highest-priority eligible families nationwide are able to access these critical supports. MIECHV funding was set to expire this year, but through the advocacy of our members in partnership with lawmakers nationwide, the Walorski Act was included in today’s funding bill–doubling funding to $800 million over the next five years and increasing the tribal set-aside from 3 percent to 6 percent.
Home visiting programs offer a way to foster positive behaviors, educational development, and healthy habits early in life. They are a powerful tool to help preserve our national security.
Quote by Lieutenant General Norman Seip, U.S. Air Force (Ret.) from Council for a Strong America’s original report on MIECHV
Council for a Strong America, together with a coalition of 52 other advocacy organizations, also fought for crucial early childhood education supports to improve the workforce, community safety, and national security in the short and long run. Critical early childhood investments in the fiscal year 2023 appropriations omnibus bill include–
- $8 billion for Child Care Development and Block grants, a 30 percent increase from 2022, which will support states in making targeted investments in their child care systems aligned with longer-term needs. Currently, more than 5 in 6 income-eligible children do not have access to federally-subsidized child care to support working parents.
- $11.99 billion for Head Start, an increase of 8 percent, to expand the program for the 2 in 3 eligible children who currently lack access
- $315 million for Preschool Development Grants, an 8.6 percent increase, to expand the quality and efficiency of existing early learning programs and systems
Through extensive outreach to federal lawmakers, our Mission: Readiness members, who are retired admirals and generals, were able to secure updates to the Child Nutrition Reauthorization Act. Our leaders are concerned with the shocking data that 77 percent of youth are not eligible for military service, with obesity being the largest single factor. Child nutrition victories in today’s funding bill include–
- $6 billion for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children that help struggling families put food on the table.
- $40 million for Summer Electronic Benefits Transfer, making sure that children have access to the meals they rely on even when they are not in school
- $30 million for school meal equipment grants to expand the quality of food provided for children in public schools
Our members were also instrumental in securing funding for several programs that are critical in helping reduce child poverty and cut juvenile crime rates, including–
- $1.3 billion for 21st Century Community Learning Centers that create afterschool programs that help keep kids out of trouble
- $140 million for grants funded by the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act to help families and law enforcement keep children on the right path and away from crime
At Council for a Strong America, we are proud of the work our members have done this year to secure critical resources for children, families, and communities across the nation. We also thank the lawmakers from both sides of the aisle who worked together to help make these victories possible. We look forward to rededicating ourselves to this mission in 2023.
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