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Testimony on Administration for Children and Families' FY 1998 Budget by Olivia Golden
Acting Assistant Secretary, Administration for Children and Families
Accompanied by
Dennis P. Williams, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Budget
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Before the House Committee on Appropriations, Subcommittee on the Department of Labor, Health, and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies
April 10, 1997

Mr. Chairman and members of the subcommittee, I am pleased to present the President's budget request for the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) for FY 1998. I am accompanied by Dennis Williams, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Budget for the Department.

President Clinton has presented to Congress a budget which addresses the concerns of Americans, serves their interests, and creates opportunity; a budget that keeps faith with the long-standing commitments of this Department. In keeping with this Administration's policy to increase support for programs that promote economic security and independence and healthy development for our children, while working toward more efficient government, our increases are targeted in areas that have produced significant payoffs.

The FY 1998 budget for the Administration for Children and Families is $37 billion, of which $15 billion is requested in new budget authority. The remaining amount is available through the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 which appropriated $19 billion, and $3 billion of available carryover balances in entitlement programs.

This budget meets the challenge of continuing investments which will lead to future service improvements, costs savings, and ultimately citizens who are more independent. In a time of very tight resources, we are seeking increases for Head Start, the Child Care and Development Block Grant and the Violent Crime Reduction programs. In addition, we are requesting funds to address the urgent need to find permanent homes for children who too often remain in the foster care system for many years, with a goal of 54,000 children adopted or placed in other permanent settings in the year 2002.


The FY 1998 budget request includes $8 billion for ACF discretionary programs.

To create a positive future, we must build on people's strengths, hopes, and successes, and act together to ensure appropriate and full opportunities to grow, learn and thrive for all our children and youth. We must, as well, create stability and economic security for our families and communities.

While the Administration for Children and Families funds a wide range of discretionary programs, over 65 percent of ACF's discretionary spending supports programs serving young children through the Head Start and the Child Care and Development Block Grant programs. I would like to take this opportunity to highlight a few of our key programmatic initiatives.

Head Start

The Head Start program gives children who are the most at risk a better chance of learning and success in life. In FY 1998, we are requesting $4.3 billion, a $324 million increase. This level will support an additional 36,000 children for total enrollment of 836,000 children and their families. This increase continues to move us toward the President's goal of providing services to 1 million children by the year 2002.

Because early investment in children gives them the best chance of continued success, our FY 1998 request also continues our commitment to the Early Head Start program increasing 1997 enrollment of 27,000 children by 8,000 infants and toddlers.

In addition, this investment in the Head Start program builds on our success over the past few years in ensuring quality throughout the program. The performance of Head Start grantees continues to be closely assessed. Funds will be targeted to provide training and technical assistance to poorly performing grantees. If grantees are found to have deficiencies which are not corrected within agreed-upon time frames, HHS terminates their Head Start grant and appoints a replacement agency to serve that community.

Child Care and Development Block Grant

The best safety net for our children is - and always will be - strong families. And, whether they are struggling to get jobs or keep them, we know that families need quality child care to keep their children safe. In FY 1997 Congress appropriated $937 for FY 1998 Child Care and Development Block Grant funding. We are requesting an additional $63 million for FY 1998, the amount needed to fund the program at its full authorized discretionary level of $1 billion. This amount, combined with the $2.1 billion provided in the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act of 1996, will further the Administration's commitment to supporting working families and moving families from welfare to work.

As welfare reform is implemented, states will face increased pressures to provide child care to support the new work participation requirements. Additional child care dollars will provide critical support to State' efforts to expand services while continuing their commitment to providing quality child care services. Nevertheless, even at this level, we anticipate a shortfall in funding for needed child care assistance as states continue to struggle to meet growing demands for child care for working poor families.

Approximately 690,000 children are currently served by the Child Care and Development Block Grant. Child Care funds currently available for the working poor, however, reach only a relatively small percentage of the estimated 9 million children in families with working parents that could be eligible for Child Care and Development Block Grant funds. On average, poor families pay 18% of their income on child care. In December 1994 the General Accounting Office reported that the availability of affordable child care is a decisive factor allowing low-income mothers to work.

The Administration's FY 1998 request will allow States to serve more families - keeping families off welfare and giving parents peace of mind, knowing that their children are safe and healthy in child care. We must continue to expand child care opportunities to those working parents who are struggling to remain out of the welfare system. We must continue to build the quality of those opportunities so that children are in care that is safe, nurturing, and supportive of their development. As we see welfare reform efforts require more and more parents to work, we must not abandon them in their efforts to provide care for their children.

Child Welfare and Child Protection

In addition, this budget reflects a strong Administration commitment to the safety, permanence, and well-being of children who have been abused or neglected or are in danger of abuse or neglect. Each year, millions of children are the subject of a report of abuse or neglect. About 40% of these reports are substantiated, affecting nearly 1 million children a year. At the end of 1995, over 450,000 children were in foster care, an increase of almost 42% since 1988. While many of these children will return home, nearly 100,000 will not. These are large numbers, and the children behind these numbers are our most vulnerable children; children whose safety, well-being, and healthy development depend on how well our services respond to them and their families.

The Administration seeks to improve this situation through a major Adoption Initiative whose goal is to double the number of children who are adopted from the foster care system or placed in other permanent settings in 2002. This will increase the number of children adopted or placed from 27,000 in 1996 to our goal of 54,000 in 2002. In partnership with the States, we will identify barriers to permanent placements, set individual State goals for each year, and reward successful performance and raise public awareness.

Programs to Reduce Violent Crime

In an effort to reduce the unacceptable violence that threatens all of us and cuts short too many lives, our FY 1998 request includes $99 million. These funds include $13 million for the Community Schools Youth Services and Supervision Grant Program which provide communities with resources to develop, coordinate, and deliver academic enrichment and job training and employment activities which promote the positive and healthy development of youth, provide links to caring adults, and develop family and community support in communities beset by crime and violence; $70 million for the Family Violence Program, including battered women's shelters, which provide immediate assistance to victims of violence and their dependents; and $1 million will continue the activities of the National Domestic Violence Hotline. This national, 24-hour, toll-free hotline was first funded in FY 1995 and began providing crisis assistance, counseling, and local shelter referrals across the country on February 21, 1996. Over 72,000 calls have been answered since the hotline became operational.


Entitlement programs represent $26.6 billion of the $35 billion budget for the Administration for Children and Families. As a part of welfare reform, Congress preappropriated $19 billion of the $26.6 billion needed in FY 1998. New FY 1998 budget authority requested for entitlement programs is $7.6 billion.

Last summer we made a new beginning on one of our nation's most vexing problems: the welfare system. We have begun to help many people in our national community to help themselves. The children of welfare are more likely to drop out of school, to run afoul of the law, to become teen parents, to raise their own children on welfare. The system no longer will fail these children and their families, trapping many of them in a cycle of dependency. The system will help people to move from welfare to work. It will do so by requiring work of every able-bodied person, by protecting children, by providing child care, and by promoting parental responsibility through tougher child support enforcement.

We have been working closely with States as they tailor reform plans that work for their communities. To date we have certified new welfare reform plans for XX states.


Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I will be happy to answer any questions you and the committee may have at this time.

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