Updated: Amid Cuts to Youth Services, Trump Includes Big Increase to Child Welfare Entitlement

Note: CLICK HERE for an updated Trump Budget Request chart, which includes the 2017 appropriations figures from the recent omnibus deal reached in early May.

President Donald Trump’s 2018 budget proposal includes a slate of deep cuts and eliminations of programs aimed at serving youth and families, but includes a hefty increase in the amount spent on an entitlement for foster care and adoption assistance.

Title IV-E of the Social Security Act is an entitlement, which matches the cost of foster care services and adoption subsidies with state agencies. Trump’s budget proposal would boost spending to $5.5 billion for foster care and $2.9 billion for adoption.

The comparable levels in fiscal 2016 were $4.8 billion and $2.6 billion, meaning Trump has included $1 billion more for IV-E, a 13.5 percent increase.

The Department of Health and Human Services refused to comment when asked by The Imprint what the reason for the increase was. While a IV-E request is routinely included in the president’s budget, as an entitlement it is not subject to appropriations in the same way as discretionary or mandatory spending.

It is possible that the proposed increase is not a suggestion of support for more IV-E spending as much as an acknowledgment of the growing number of children in foster care. Federal data lags behind fiscal years, but recent reports have charted a continued increase in national foster care rolls between 2012 and 2015.

Elsewhere in the budget, Trump proposes to eliminate several programs aimed at serving low-income and at-risk youth. Among the programs slated for closure by the administration:

AmeriCorps ($388 million), a service-learning program where participants receive stipends and college assistance in exchange for work on community service ventures. In addition to the program’s engagement with youth and young adults, the participants constitute a significant supply of low-cost labor for many nonprofit organizations.

21st Century Learning Centers ($1.2 billion), a program at the Department of Education that funds before and after-school programs with academic components.

Social Services Block Grant ($1.6 billion) and Community Services Block Grant ($714 million), two large state grant programs managed by the Administration for Children and Families. According to recent federal analysis, the lion’s share of SSBG funds in recent years have been allocated to child welfare spending.

The Trump budget would also cut deeply into several streams for children and families. Among them:

Workforce Investment Opportunities Act: Funds for youth and young adult activities would fall from $875 million to $608 million, while Job Corps would decline about $250 million. Trump leaves YouthBuild, a national program that connects youth to job training and GED prep level at $90 million.

Unaccompanied Minors: A $153 million cut in funds for what is essentially the nation’s only national foster care program. The Department of Health and Human Services takes custody of youth who arrive at the border without their parents, and works to either repatriate them or connect them to family living in the United States. The program’s budget swelled during the Obama administration as the number of unaccompanied minors from Central America skyrocketed.

TRIO and GEAR UP: Cumulative decrease of nearly $200 million for programs aimed at helping low-income youth get into and prepare for college.

Mentoring: Trump’s plan mostly leaves the decimated budget intact at the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, with one exception. The mentoring account, which at its height in the previous administration reached about $110 million, is slated for $53 million, down from $83 million in 2016.

Click here to read our budget chart, which compares Trump’s proposed spending to the fiscal 2016 levels cited in his budget.

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