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Testimony

Statement by
Daniel Schneider
Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary
Administration for Children and Families
Department of Health and Human Services

on
President’s FY 2008 Budget Appropriations for the Administration for Children and Families 

before
The Committee on Appropriations
Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies
United States House of Representatives


Thursday March 8, 2007

Mr. Chairman and members of the Subcommittee, I am honored to appear before you to discuss the President’s FY 2008 budget request for the Administration for Children and Families.  The FY 2008 budget request for ACF totals $45.3 billion, with $32.5 billion for mandatory programs and $12.8 billion for discretionary programs.  The request sustains funding for the President’s and Secretary’s priority initiatives targeting America’s most vulnerable populations, while addressing the need for spending discipline to support the Administration’s commitment to balance the budget by 2012.  I would like to present highlights of our budget against the backdrop of our four strategic goals.  Richard Turman, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Budget in the Department, also joins me at the table.

Increasing Economic Independence and Productivity for Families

Welfare reform has been a tremendous success in moving families off the rolls and moving toward self-sufficiency.  Reauthorization of the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) program through the Deficit Reduction Act (DRA) re-focuses States on helping families find work.  Our FY 2008 budget request builds on the DRA by requesting the extension of authority and funding for Supplemental Grants for Population Increases through FY 2010 and proposing elimination of the separate two-parent 90 percent work requirement to encourage equitable treatment of all families.

The FY 2008 budget request continues to support the high level of success achieved by the Child Support Enforcement Program and builds on the newly enacted initiatives from the DRA that are moving the program toward a focus on healthy, financially strong families.  The budget includes legislative proposals that will increase collections to families by almost $1.4 billion over the next five years, at a federal cost of only $19 million.

The child care program provides further support to low-income families.  The FY 2008 budget maintains the historically high level of funding for both the Child Care and Development Block Grant, at $2.1 billion, and the Child Care Entitlement, at $2.9 billion.  With the significant flexibility States have in using other Federal and State funds to provide child care assistance, $11.7 billion was available for child care in FY 2006.

To help those newly arrived in this country who are in especially fragile circumstances, our FY 2008 proposal requests $656 million for programs serving refugees, asylees, Cubans/Haitians entrants, victims of torture and trafficking, and unaccompanied alien children.  This is an increase of $68 million over the FY 2007 level and will provide the funding necessary to continue eight months of cash and medical assistance for refugees, fund a new grant program for domestic victims of trafficking, and address the shelter and medical needs of an increasing number of unaccompanied alien children during the period of time that they are in our custody.  The budget assumes a 15 percent increase in   annual placements from FY 2007 to FY 2008.

Improving Healthy Development, Safety, and Well-being of Children

America’s future – its civil society and social fabric – depends upon how well the nation protects and nurtures its children. Our budget supports a broad range of programs that help support families as they endeavor to promote the cognitive and social development, school readiness, and health and safety of their children and youth.

The budget continues support for healthy marriages and responsible fatherhood as keys to economic self-sufficiency and child well-being provided by the DRA.

The President is deeply committed to ensuring that low-income and disadvantaged children enter school healthy and ready to learn and this commitment is reflected in our $6.8 billion request for Head Start.  Coupled with the President’s proposal to reauthorize and strengthen Head Start, this funding level will allow local programs to support comprehensive, high quality services for approximately 919,000 low-income children.  

The FY 2008 budget for ACF continues to support the President’s priority initiatives aimed at improving the healthy development, support and well-being of children, youth and families.  For example, the budget requests $141 million, an increase of $28 million, for community-based abstinence education program activities focused on educating teens and parents about the risks associated with early sexual activity and $50 million to reauthorize and fully fund state-based abstinence education grants.  

Further, our budget supports healthy outcomes for youth by providing $103 million for the Runaway and Homeless Youth program and maintaining funding for the President’s Mentoring Children of Prisoners program at $50 million.  The newly authorized voucher demonstration program will distribute vouchers for mentoring services to families of children of prisoners.  This will enable more children across the nation who are in need of mentoring, including those in underserved areas, to be served by such programs.

Child abuse and neglect continues to be a significant problem in the United States.  The Department’s most recent Child Maltreatment report indicates that an estimated 872,000 children in the U.S. are victims of abuse and neglect.  It is important that we continue to support the efforts of States in establishing and maintaining effective systems of child protection in order to address these problems.  Therefore, we are requesting $106 million for ACF’s child abuse programs.  This reflects an increase of $10 million to support new competitive grants to encourage States to use existing funding streams to support proven effective nurse home visitation programs.  Research shows that these programs reduce the incidence of child abuse and neglect and improve other important outcomes for mothers and children, including school readiness and prenatal health.  The budget also maintains funding for child welfare programs at $333 million to help improve child welfare services and find loving parents and safe and stable homes for children available for adoption.

The FY 2008 budget also reflects our ongoing commitment to those who need help transitioning from foster care. The budget includes $46 million for the Independent Living Education and Training Vouchers to fund approximately 9,100 vouchers for former foster care youth -- increasing the prospect that these youth will be able to secure work and become contributing members of society.  Additionally, to support the Administration’s commitment to helping families in crisis and protecting children from abuse and neglect, the budget requests $454 million for the Promoting Safe and Stable Families program and $14 million to fully fund the estimated Adoption Incentives earned by states in FY 2007.  Also, the budget seeks $10 million to fund a recently authorized incentive program to reward States for timely interstate home studies for foster care and adoption assistance.  The current process for interstate placements does not support timely placement for children across State lines.  For example, in FY 2005 children adopted by a family in another State were in foster care an average of one year longer than children adopted within the same State.  These situations are problematic as studies have shown that a longer time in foster care can result in multiple placements and can have a negative impact on the child’s mental health.

Additionally, in the entitlement budget, the Administration is proposing a $4.6 billion budget for Foster Care, and $2.2 billion in Adoption Assistance, to serve an additional 25,500 children per month over FY 2007.  This request includes funding for the child welfare program option proposed in the FY 2004 and subsequent budgets.  The flexibility provided by this option will allow States to prevent child abuse and neglect more effectively, prevent foster care placement, and when necessary, place children in permanent homes much faster.

Increasing the Health and Prosperity of Communities and Tribes

ACF achieves its goal of increasing the health and prosperity of communities and tribes by strengthening local community partnerships, improving civic participation, and working with Native American communities to build capacity and infrastructure for social and economic development.  To this end, the FY 2008 budget provides $125 million to provide on-going support for critical core services to individuals and families impacted by domestic violence and $3 million to support the National Domestic Violence Hotline.  We also maintain funding at $171 million for the various components of the programs that allow ACF to support families with members with developmental disabilities, and $44 million for Native American programs.

In order to meet the demands for home energy assistance for vulnerable populations, we are proposing $1.8 billion for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), the same level requested last year but a reduction of $379 million from FY 2007.  This budget seeks to redirect a portion of the funding from the block grant program to the LIHEAP Contingency Fund, where funding can be targeted more effectively to unanticipated energy emergencies.

We also remain dedicated to increasing the effectiveness of faith-based and community organizations in delivering social services to those most in need.  To this end, the FY 2008 budget requests $75 million for the Compassion Capital Fund, a $10.6 million increase from FY 2007, which will provide funding for 27 additional grants.  Of this request, $35 million is dedicated for the Communities Empowering Youth Program to help combat gang activity and youth violence.

Managing Resources to Improve Performance

ACF’s implementation of performance management has created a consistent framework for linking agency-wide goals with program priorities and targeting resources to meet the needs of children and families.  It has provided a shared vision of what needs to be accomplished with our partners and provides a consistent and effective way to measure our achievements and to strive for continued improvement.

Our budget does not seek funding for the Community Services Block Grant Program because the program lacks measures to demonstrate results, does not hold grantees accountable for results, and does not award grants on a competitive basis.   In addition, no funds are included for CSBG discretionary programs because these programs duplicate activities funded elsewhere in the federal government.  Similarly, the budget seeks a $500 million reduction in funding for the Social Service Block Grant given the lack of performance measures to ensure that funded activities are effective. 

Finally, our budget requests $199 million for Federal Administration, $10 million above FY 2007 to fund inflationary increases in rent and other non-pay spending and mandatory pay increases, as well as $6.2 million to support expanded improper payments efforts for TANF, Child Care and Foster Care programs.  Previous ACF program integrity efforts have achieved over $600 million in savings in the Head Start and Foster Care programs.

Conclusion

I am pleased to have had this opportunity to provide you with the highlights of our proposed FY 2008 budget.  This budget provides a fiscally responsible and balanced approach to reaching our strategic goals and supporting the President’s Management Agenda and key priorities.  We look forward to working with the Congress on achieving our mission and objectives, and I welcome your questions.


Daniel Schneider
Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary

Daniel Schneider is the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Children and Families at the United States Department of Health and Human Services. With a $49 billion budget, the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) is responsible for programs that promote the social and economic well-being of America’s children, youth and families.

Prior to his appointment at ACF, Mr. Schneider served as the General Counsel at the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), an independent grant-making agency of the United States government dedicated to supporting research, education, and programs in the humanities. During his NEH appointment he was detailed for one year to the White House Office of Presidential Personnel where he served as the Deputy Associate Director. Mr. Schneider’s first appointment in the executive branch was at the U.S. Department of Labor where he served as the White House Liaison.

Prior to joining the Bush administration he worked for four years on Capitol Hill as the Chief of Staff to U.S. Congressman James R. Ryun.

Mr. Schneider came to Washington, D.C. from New York City where he practiced law with a New York-based international law firm. Before commencing his legal practice he lived in the People’s Republic of China where he was the Commercial Attaché for the Kansas Commerce Department.

He holds a law degree from Columbia University and two undergraduate degrees from the University of Kansas in Lawrence.


Department of Health and Human Services
Office of Budget
Richard J. Turman

Mr. Turman is the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Budget, HHS. He joined federal service as a Presidential Management Intern in 1987 at the Office of Management and Budget, where he worked as a Budget Examiner and later as a Branch Chief.  He has worked as a Legislative Assistant in the Senate, as the Director of Federal Relations for an association of research universities, and as the Associate Director for Budget of the National Institutes of Health.  He received a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and a Masters in Public Policy from the University of California, Berkeley

Last revised: July 31, 2013