Obama’s 2014 Budget and Youth: Complete Analysis

The Imprint has analyzed the entirety of President Barack Obama’s 2014 Budget Proposal, and found the programs that either directly or indirectly affect the youth and family services industry.

Click here for a complete breakdown of Obama’s budget for disadvantaged youth and their families. We have included on the chart the Fiscal 2009 Congressional appropriations for a five-year comparative figure on the spending, and Obama’s 2010 budget request since it is the last one that was acted on in the absence of a last-minute deal to stave off a federal shutdown.

A few items of particular note from the 2014 proposal:

Guardianship Funds on the Rise

At some point, this line in the budget changed from “Kinship Guardianship” to just “Guardianship.” More importantly, funding to support guardianship has skyrocketed since 2009, from $13 million that year to $123 million last year. The president requests $124 million for next year.

As The Imprint reported last month, the new extension of Medicaid benefits for aging out foster youth might make guardianship a tough sell for prospective guardians. The Affordable Care Act guarantees Medicaid through 26 for those who age out, which is a serious consideration for a would-be foster parent or relative that would have to find another source of health coverage for that youth.

Holding the Line on Juvenile Justice

More than any youth-related corner of federal appropriations, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention took a fiscal beating in 2011 and 2012, while the parties could not work out federal appropriations until the brink of government shutdown. See the charts at the bottom of this piece on new OJJDP Administrator Bob Listenbee for a look at some of those cuts.

The 2013 appropriations hit most areas of federal funding with a Sequestration-induced haircut, but left the juvenile justice budget at its 2012 levels, and even included a few increases.

Obama would reset the Title II Formula Grants – paid to states based on adherence to the four core requirements of the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA) – to its 2010 level of $75 million.

The president proposed a return to the 2010 figure of $56 million for the Juvenile Accountability Block Grants, and also tacked on a $20 million incentive grant program “to assist states that use Juvenile Accountability Block Grants program funds for evidence-based juvenile justice system realignment to foster better outcomes for affected juveniles.”

He also proposed a modest $2 million from competitive grants focused on girls in the juvenile justice system.

The proposal drew immediate support from Act 4 Juvenile Justice (Act4JJ), a group of organizations supporting reauthorization of the JJDPA.

“President Obama and his Administration did a good job of preserving money for states to implement core protections, we think this is a good foundation to build upon,” said Liz Ryan, CEO of the Campaign for Youth Justice and Act4JJ co-chair, in a statement issued yesterday. “We are especially pleased with the recommendation to increase funding dollars around girls in the juvenile system. Girls make up the fastest-growing segment of the juvenile justice system, and this increased support will go a long way in addressing the specific needs of system-involved girls.”

Not everyone in juvenile justice would be thrilled to see juvenile justice increases focused on state grants tied to compliance with JJDPA. In a recent interview with The Imprint, Bart Lubow of the Annie E. Casey Foundation questioned the idea of making the nearly 40-year-old law a priority.

“I know there’s a deep commitment with the state advisory groups to achieving those four core requirements, and they’re important,” said Lubow, who heads Casey’s Juvenile Justice Strategy Group. “ But it’s a 40 year-old agenda. I’m not sure the pressing problem in juvenile justice today is the de-institutionalization of status offenders.”

Sex Education for Foster Youth

Obama presents a clever strategy for funding foster teen pregnancy prevention without actually needing new money. Click here to read Chronicle blogger Sean Hughes’ piece that both outlines and supports Obama’s plan.

Big Investments in Early Learning, School-Community Partnerships

Obama brought up the concept of universal preschool in this year’s State of the Union, and as promised he laid out a fiscal plan for it. His budget would put $1.3 billion in to get the Preschool for All plan moving, and spending on the venture would total $75 billion over 10 years. In addition, he proposed $9.6 billion for Head Start, about $1.6 billion over the amount appropriated by Congress for 2013.

Meanwhile, the president has requested $358 million for Promise Neighborhoods, a program modeled after the Harlem Children’s Zone concept of community schools (here’s a feature on the father of that movement). Furthering that notion, there is another $300 million for High School Redesign that would fund schools to partner up with business and community organizations to widen the academic and training opportunities on school grounds.

Both of those funding streams carry tremendous potential for youth-serving organizations, but one has to think the prospects of either getting funded are pretty slim unless other federal programs are on the chopping block.

School Safety Funds Can Pay for Youth Workers, Health Professionals
Obama calls for a $150 million insert into the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) program for a “comprehensive school safety program of grants and technical assistance to improve school safety.”

Most of the COPS money is dispersed to hire more officers; this carve-out is dedicated to hiring, but is flexible on what jobs are filled. Here is the list of non-sworn officers that can be hired with this money:

  • Civilian safety personnel
  • School counselors
  • Psychologists
  • School social workers
  • Child and adolescent psychiatrists

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