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HHS FY2015 Budget in Brief

Administration for Children and FamiliesAdministration for Children and Families (ACF): Mandatory

The Administration for Children and Families promotes the economic and social wellbeing of children, youth, families, and communities, focusing particular attention on vulnerable populations such as children in low income families, refugees, and Native Americans.

ACF Budget Overview

(Dollars in millions)

Current Law Budget Authority 

2013

2014

2015

2015 */- 2014

Child Care Entitlement to States

2,917

2,917

2,917

Child Care and Development Fund (non-add) /1

5,123

5,277

5,277

Child Support Enforcement and Family Support 

4,001

4,065

3,689

-376

Foster Care and Permanency

6,631

7,009

7,035

+26

Promoting Safe and Stable Families (mandatory only) /2

460

436

345

-91

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)

16,738

16,737

16,739

+2

TANF Contingency Fund /3

612

612

612

Subtotal, TANF (non-add)

17,350

17,349

17,351

+2

Children's Research and Technical Assistance

49

48

52

+4

Social Services Block Grant

1,694

1,656

1,700

+44

Sandy Supplemental /4

475

Total, Current Law Budget Authority

33,576 

33,480 

33,089 

-391


 

Proposed Law Budget Authority

2013

2014

2015

2015 */- 2014

Child Care Entitlement to States

2,917

2,917

3,667

+750

Child Care and Development Fund (non-add)

5,123

5,277

6,084

+807

Child Support Enforcement and Family Support 

4,001

4,065

3,699

-366

Foster Care and Permanency 

6,631

7,009

7,287

+278

Promoting Safe and Stable Families (mandatory only) 

460

436

435

-1

TANF

16,738

16,737

16,749

+12

TANF Program Improvement (non-add)

+10

+10

Pathways to Jobs

602

+602

TANF Contingency Fund

612

612

-612

Subtotal, TANF (non-add)

17,350

17,349

17,351

+2

Children's Research and Technical Assistance

49

48

52

+4

Social Services Block Grant /5

1,694

1,656

1,785

+129

Sandy Supplemental

475

Total, Proposed Law Budget Authority 

33,576 

33,480 

34,276

+796 


 

1/ The Child Care and Development Fund includes mandatory funding from the Child Care Entitlement to States and discretionary funding from the Child Care and Development Block Grant.

2/ The total for Promoting Safe and Stable Families (PSSF) includes Abstinence Education, the Personal Responsibility Education Program, and PSSF mandatory funding. In addition, there is a discretionary appropriation of $59.8 million for PSSF.

3/ The Protect Our Kids Act of 2012 (P.L. 112-275) extended the Contingency Fund through the end of FY 2014, and targeted $2 million of the $612 million for the Contingency Fund for each of fiscal years 2013 and 2014 to establish the Commission to Eliminate Child Abuse and Neglect Fatalities. 

4/ The Disaster Relief Appropriations Act (P.L. 113-2) provided $500 million in mandatory funding for SSBG to aid in the recovery from Hurricane Sandy.

5/ The proposed law reflects the reauthorization of the Health Profession Opportunity Grants.

ACF Mandatory Programs and Services

The FY 2015 Budget request for ACF mandatory programs is $34.3 billion. ACF serves the nation’s most vulnerable populations through mandatory programs including Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Child Care Entitlement to States, Child Support, Foster Care, Adoption Assistance, Guardianship Assistance, Independent Living, and Promoting Safe and Stable Families.

The Budget supports improved access to high quality child care for low income children, encourages the use of evidence-based interventions to improve outcomes for children in foster care and to decrease over prescription of psychotropic medications, increases the child support that is paid to families, promotes fathers’ involvement in the lives of their children, and proposes to restructure the TANF Contingency Fund to make it more effective.

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Child Care Entitlement to States

The Budget supports important investments in the Child Care and Development Block Grant and the Child Care Entitlement to States. The Budget request for the Child Care Entitlement is an increase of $18.8 billion over 10 years, including an increase of $750 million in FY 2015. Total child care funding for the Child Care and Development Fund is $6.1 billion in FY 2015, including $200 million in discretionary funding for formula grants focused on improving the quality of child care, including the quality of the child care workforce and health and safety measures (details in the ACF Discretionary chapter). In FY 2015, the request would enable 1.4 million children to receive child care assistance, approximately 74,000 more children than could be served without the additional funding requested. These improvements, along with a new preschool program in the Department of Education and $650 million in discretionary funds for new Early Head Start-Child Care Partnerships (both described in the ACF Discretionary chapter), are key elements of the Administration’s broader education agenda designed to help every child reach his or her academic potential, reduce income inequality, and improve the nation’s competitiveness.

Investing in the future of the Child Care and Development Fund
The FY 2015 Budget includes a substantial commitment to improved access to high quality child care for low income children through investments in the Child Care Development Fund and strengthening the health and safety and quality standards that support those children. With a long-term investment of $18.8 billion in mandatory funding, the Budget commits to providing child care assistance to more than 1.4 million children each year for a full ten years. In addition, in May of 2013 ACF released a Notice of Proposed Rule Making that aims to improve the health and safety standards of providers, establish family-friendly policies, improve the quality of child care, and strengthen program integrity. ACF is currently responding to public comment on the proposed rule and expects the rule to be finalized in the summer of 2014.

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Child Support Enforcement and Family Support Programs

PERFORMANCE HIGHLIGHTS -- Child Support Enforcement
The Child Support Enforcement program continues to make strong gains in establishing child support orders and increasing child support collections. In FY 2012:

  • Child support collections increased by nearly 2 percent from FY 2011 to $27.7 billion.
  • 1.7 million paternities were established and acknowledged.
  • Paternity was established for 97 percent of Title IV-D out-of-wedlock births, exceeding the target of 92 percent.
  • Child support orders were established for 82 percent of child support cases, which surpassed the target of 77 percent.
  • For every dollar invested in the program, $5.19 in child support was collected, which exceeded the performance target of $4.84.
  • Four tribal programs became comprehensive, fully operational program service providers, bringing the total number of comprehensive Tribal Child Support Enforcement Programs to 45.

The Budget request is $3.7 billion in budget authority in FY 2015 for Child Support Enforcement and Family Support Programs. The Budget includes $1.8 billion over 10 years for an initiative to modernize the Child Support program and to promote responsible fatherhood. Of those costs, $1.5 billion impacts the Child Support program, including $655 million in savings from the Supplemental Security Income and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, and $266 million impacts Foster Care. Child Support is a joint federal, state, tribal, and local partnership that seeks to ensure financial and emotional support for children from both parents by locating non-custodial parents, establishing paternity, and establishing and enforcing child support orders. The Budget promotes strong families and responsible fatherhood by ensuring that children benefit when parents pay support, promoting parenting time arrangements, and improving enforcement tools such as the use of electronic income-withholding orders. This proposal also includes funding specifically to encourage states to pass through child support payments to families.

The Child Support Enforcement program also provides $10 million annually for grants to states to facilitate non-custodial parents’ access to and visitation with their children.

Other family support programs funded in this account include Payments to Territories and the Repatriation program. Payments to Territories fund approximately $33 million in assistance for eligible aged, blind, and disabled residents of Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands, per Titles I, X, XIV, and XVI of the Social Security Act.

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Children’s Research and Technical Assistance

The Budget request includes $52 million for activities in three areas: child support enforcement training and technical assistance; operation of the Federal Parent Locator Service which assists states in locating absent parents; and research on welfare and child well-being. Of the total, $12 million will fund child support enforcement training and technical assistance, $25 million will support the locator service, and $15 million will fund welfare research. Support for the National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being, previously funded in this account, is requested in ACF’s discretionary budget.

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Foster Care and Permanency

The Budget request for the Foster Care, Adoption Assistance, Guardianship Assistance, and Independent Living programs is $7.3 billion in FY 2015 budget authority. These programs, authorized by title IV E of the Social Security Act, support safe living environments for vulnerable children and prepare older foster youth for independence.

The Budget includes a new Medicaid demonstration, in partnership with ACF, to address the over-prescription of psychotropic medications for children in foster care. This investment includes $250 million in mandatory funding over five years in ACF, paired with $500 million in new performance based incentive funds in the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), to improve outcomes for these children. The Budget also includes $2 million in FY 2015 and $266 million over 10 years to require that child support payments made on behalf of children in foster care are used in the best interests of the child.

The FY 2015 Budget includes $4.3 billion in budget authority to support the Foster Care program, including maintenance payments to children. This amount is a $20 million increase above FY 2014. The proposed level of funding will provide assistance and support to an estimated 150,800 children each month, which is approximately 1,900 fewer children than in FY 2014. The most important factor in the decline in the Title IV-E Foster Care caseload is that the total foster care population, not just the title IV-E eligible population, has declined in recent years. Between 2002 and 2012, the number of children entering care each year declined by approximately 15 percent from 295,000 to 252,000. The number of children in care at the end of each fiscal year decreased by almost 25 percent from 524,000 to 397,000 over the same ten year time period. States have made important reforms in response to changes in Federal laws over the past 14 years that have focused on prevention and permanency. In addition, the proportion of all children in foster care who are title IV-E eligible continues to decline, in large part because eligibility for federal foster care is tied to the income eligibility standards effective in 1996 for Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC), which have declined in real dollar terms since then. The federal title IV E participation rate for maintenance payments stood at approximately 51.8 percent of all children in foster care in FY 2000, while in FY 2013, the federal title IV-E participation rate was approximately 41 percent of all children in foster care nationally.

The Budget includes $2.5 billion in budget authority for the Adoption Assistance program, an increase of $41 million above FY 2014. An estimated average of 452,000 children per month, an increase of 11,800 over FY 2014, will qualify for this assistance in FY 2015.

The Budget includes $99 million for the Guardianship Assistance program, a decrease of $25 million below the FY 2014 Enacted Level of $124,000,000 and an increase of $14,000,000 above the updated FY 2014 current law estimate. The difference from the enacted level reflects that we previously estimated a faster rate of expansion in this program than we are currently observing. However, the program is continuing to grow, and we expect there will be an increase in the number of children participating in the Guardianship Assistance program as new states and tribes begin programs, and established states expand the implementation of their programs. Under this program, state title IV E agencies provide a subsidy on behalf of a child to a relative who has been granted legal guardianship of that child. An estimated average of 21,100 children per month, an increase of 1,900 over FY 2014, will participate in FY 2015.

The Budget also includes $140 million for the Chafee Foster Care Independence Program, the same level as in FY 2014. This program funds services for youth who will likely remain in foster care until they turn 18 and current or former foster children between the ages of 18 and 21.

NEW INITIATIVE -- Demonstration to Address the Over Prescription of Psychotropic Medications for Children in Foster Care
The FY 2015 Budget includes a new five-year collaborative demonstration with ACF and CMS to encourage states to provide evidence-based psychosocial interventions to children and youth in the foster care system to reduce the over prescription of psychotropic medications and to improve outcomes for these young people.

The need for action in this area is evident. ACF data show that 18 percent of the approximately 400,000 children in foster care were taking one or more psychotropic medications at the time they were surveyed (NSCAW II data collected Oct. 2009 Jan. 2011). GAO has estimated an even higher range of 21 to 39 percent. Children in foster care are prescribed psychotropic medications at far higher rates than other children served by Medicaid, and often in amounts that exceed the Food and Drug Administration’s guidelines.

The existing evidence-base in the area of trauma-informed psychosocial interventions warrants a large initial investment to expand access to effective interventions. The ACF investment of $250 million over five years would fund infrastructure and capacity building, while the Medicaid investment of $500 million over five years would provide incentive payments to states that demonstrate measured improvement.

The Foster Care, Adoption Assistance, Guardianship Assistance, and Independent Living programs demonstrated success in improving safety, permanency, and well-being of children in FY 2012, the latest year for which complete performance data are available. Working with the states, these programs support the goal of minimizing disruptions to the continuity of family and other relationships for children in foster care by decreasing the number of placement settings per year for a child in care. In FY 2012, over 85 percent of children who had been in care less than 12 months had 2 or fewer placement settings, which exceeded the Agency’s target of 80 percent. Placement stability is necessary for children and youth to be able to form and maintain consistent relationships with caretakers and other adults, which is a core skill for life long success.

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Promoting Safe and Stable Families

The Budget includes $435 million for Promoting Safe and Stable Families (PSSF) account. Of this amount, $345 million supports the mandatory portion of the PSSF program, $75 million supports the Personal Responsibility Education Program, and $15 million supports the reauthorization of the Family Connection Grants. The Budget proposes to reauthorize the Family Connection Grants through FY 2016.

The Child and Family Services Improvement and Innovation Act of 2011 (P.L. 112 34) reauthorized the PSSF program through FY 2016. This funding will continue support for a variety of state child welfare activities, including family preservation services, community based family support services, time limited reunification services, and adoption promotion and support services. Under the reauthorization, states are required to address trauma that children in child welfare have experienced and to have explicit protocols for oversight and monitoring of psychotropic medications. These efforts have helped build the foundation for the collaborative demonstration to address the over prescription of psychotropic medications for children in foster care proposed in the Budget.

In FY 2012, the adoption rate for children from foster care into permanent homes was 12 percent (52,000 children adopted), exceeding the target of 10.4 percent. By monitoring the adoption rate, ACF is helping to ensure that there is a focus on moving children from foster care to a permanent home.

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Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)

TANF provides $17.4 billion annually to states, territories, and eligible tribes to assist low income families and improve employment and other outcomes. For FY 2014, the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2014 (P.L. 113 76) extended all TANF grants through September 30, 2014. The Protect Our Kids Act of 2012 (P.L. 112 275) extended the $612 million for the Contingency Fund through the end of FY 2014 and targeted $2 million for each of fiscal years 2013 and 2014 to establish the Commission to Eliminate Child Abuse and Neglect Fatalities. The Budget continues existing funding for the TANF program.

When Congress takes up reauthorization, the Administration will be prepared to work with lawmakers to strengthen the program’s effectiveness in accomplishing its goals. This effort should include using performance indicators to drive program improvement and ensuring that states have the flexibility to engage recipients in the most effective activities to promote success in the workforce, including families with serious barriers to employment.

The Budget includes a proposal to redirect $10 million from the $612 million TANF Contingency Fund for program improvements, including technical assistance for state programs, research, and evaluation. The Budget also proposes prohibiting the use of nongovernmental third party expenditures to meet state Maintenance of Effort requirements and a provision to ensure that states use TANF funds for benefits and services for needy families.

The Budget also proposes the Pathways to Jobs initiative within TANF, which would repurpose the balance of the Contingency Fund to support work opportunities through subsidized employment for low income parents and guardians, and youth, including summer jobs for youth. Building on the successes of the expired TANF Emergency Contingency Fund, Pathways to Jobs will target individuals who are either eligible for TANF cash assistance (including custodial and noncustodial parents with a child eligible for TANF cash assistance) or who are below 200 percent of federal poverty level and face other barriers to employment. The program would permit up to 100 percent coverage for wages, workplace benefits, training, and administrative costs associated with up to the first 90 days of employment for eligible individuals, including eligible summer employment. State subsidized employment efforts through Pathways to Jobs would be required to satisfy one or more of the four statutory purposes of the TANF program and to comply with requirements prohibiting displacement of other workers. The proposal also includes statutory changes necessary to give ACF the authority to collect data necessary to evaluate and oversee this program, and the Budget recommends setting aside 1 percent for national evaluation of the program.

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Social Services Block Grant (SSBG)

SSBG is a capped entitlement which provides flexible grants to states according to population size for the provision of social services ranging from child care to residential treatment. States have broad discretion over the use of these funds. SSGB funds a variety of initiatives to support high priority service needs in areas such as daycare, protective services, special services to persons with disabilities, adoption services, case management, health-related services, transportation support, foster care, substance abuse services, home-delivered meals, independent and transitional living, and employment-related services.

SSBG, including funding for the Health Professions Opportunity Grants, is funded at $1.8 billion for FY 2015, the same as in FY 2014 before the effects of sequestration. The Budget supports a reauthorization of the Health Professions Opportunity Grants and proposes to consolidate the authority to operate this program in ACF, expand the list of partners to consult, and allow funds to be used for subsidized employment. Reauthorization would provide $85 million per year for these grants.

FY2015 ACF Mandatory Outlays

(Dollars in millions)

Current Law Outlays 

2013

2014

2015

2015 */- 2014

Child Care Entitlement to States

2,872

2,901

2,912

+11

Child Care and Development Fund (non-add) /1

5,049

5,239

5,325

+86

Child Support Enforcement and Family Support

4,066

3,887

4,082

+195

Foster Care and Permanency 

6,770

6,803

6,952

+149

Promoting Safe and Stable Families (mandatory only) /2

497

491

438

-53

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)

17 ,107

16,825

16,805

-20

TANF Contingency Fund /3

626

702

632

-70

TANF Emergency Fund /4

73

50

50

Subtotal, TANF (non-add)

17,806

17,577

17,487

-90

Children's Research and Technical Assistance

46

48

51

+3

Social Services Block Grant

1,876

1,628

1,760

+132

Sandy Supplemental /5

1

237

236

-1

Total, Current Law Outlays

33,934

33,572

33,918

+346


 

Proposed Law Outlays

2013

2014

2015

2015 */- 2014

Child Care Entitlement to States

2,827

2,901

3,512

+611

Child Care and Development Fund (nonadd)

5,049

5,239

5,925

+686

Child Support Enforcement and Family Support

4,066

3,887

4,092

+205

Foster Care and Permanency

6,770

6,803

6,955

+152

Promoting Safe and Stable Families (mandatory only)

497

491

440

-51

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) 

17,107

16,825

16,812

-13

TANF Contingency Fund

626

702

21

-681

Pathways to Jobs 

602

+602

TANF Emergency Fund 

73

50

50

Subtotal, TANF (nonadd)

17,806

17,577

17,487

-90

Children’s Research and Technical Assistance 

46

48

51

+3

Social Services Block Grant /6

1,876

1,628

1,762

+134

Sandy Supplemental

1

237

236

-1

Total, Proposed Law Outlays

33,934 

33,572

34,535

+963


 

1/ The Child Care and Development Fund includes mandatory funding from the Child Care Entitlement to States and discretionary funding from the Child Care and Development Block Grant.

2/ The total for Promoting Safe and Stable Families includes Abstinence Education, the Personal Responsibility Education Program, and Promoting Safe and Stable Families mandatory funding. In addition, there is a discretionary appropriation of $59.8 million in FY 2015 for PSSF.

3/ The Protect Our Kids Act of 2012 (P.L. 112-275) extended the Contingency Fund through the end of FY 2014, and targeted $2 million of the $612 million for the Contingency Fund for each of fiscal years 2013 and 2014 to establish the Commission to Eliminate Child Abuse and Neglect Fatalities. 

4/ The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (P.L. 111-5) appropriated $5 billion for FY 2009 and FY 2010 for the TANF Emergency Contingency Fund.

5/ The Disaster Relief Appropriations Act (P.L. 113-2) provided $500 million in funding for SSBG to aid in the recovery from Hurricane Sandy.

6/ The proposed law reflects the reauthorization of the Health Profession Opportunity Grants.

FY 2015 ACF Mandatory Legislative Proposals

(Dollars in millions)

Proposed Law Outlays

2015

2015-2019

2015-2024

Child Care Entitlement

600

5,708

18,073

Child Support Enforcement and Family Support Programs /1

3

410

1,514

Foster Care and Permanency /2

3

324

517

Promoting Safe and Stable Families

2

228

405

Health Profession Opportunity Grant /3

2

228

425

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)

-

-

-

Total Outlays, ACF Legislative Proposals

610

6,958

20,934


 

1/ The Child Support outlays in this table are net of estimated savings in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program ($586 million) and the Supplemental Security Income program ($69 million), which would result from this proposal. These outlays include the impact on federal offsetting collections.

2/ The Foster Care and Permanency outlays reflect the ACF portion of the proposal to scale-up evidence-based psychosocial interventions as an alternative to psychotropic medications for children in foster care ($250 million over ten years) and the impact of a Child Support proposal to require states to use the collections received on behalf of Title IVE children in the best interest of the child ($266 million over ten years).

3/ The Health Profession Opportunity Grants are within the Social Services Block Grant account.

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