Topics on this page: ACF Discretionary Budget Overview | Providing Work Supports for Families | Serving Vulnerable Children and Families | Refugees, Entrants, and Unaccompanied Alien Children | Program Eliminations | Evaluation and Innovation
Administration for Children and Families (ACF): Discretionary
The Administration for Children and Families promotes the economic and social well-being of children, youth, families, and communities, focusing particular attention on vulnerable populations such as children in low income families, refugees, and Native Americans.
ACF Discretionary Budget Overview
(Dollars in millions)
|Early Childhood Programs||2016||2017 /1||2018||2018
|Early Childhood Programs|
|Child Care and Development Block Grant (discretionary)||2,761||2,756||2,761||+5|
|Subtotal, Early Childhood Programs||11,929||11,906||11,929||+23|
|Programs for Vulnerable Populations||2016||2017 /1||2018||2018
|Runaway and Homeless Youth Programs||119||119||119||--|
|Child Abuse Prevention||98||98||98||--|
|Child Welfare Programs||326||325||316||-9|
|Chafee Education & Training for Foster Youth||43||43||43||--|
|Adoption and Guardianship Incentives||38||38||38||--|
|Native Americans Programs||50||50||50||--|
|Family Violence Prevention and Services Programs||158||158||159||+1|
|Promoting Safe and Stable Families (discretionary)||60||60||60||--|
|Subtotal, Programs for Vulnerable Populations||892||891||883||-8|
|Refugee Programs||2016||2017 /1||2018||2018
|Transitional and Medical Services||490||489||320||-169|
|Unaccompanied Alien Children||948||1,396||948||-448|
|Refugee Support Services /2||203||202||159||-43|
|Other Refugee Programs||34||34||29||-5|
|Subtotal, Refugee Programs||1,675||2,122||1,457||-665|
|Discontinued Programs||2016||2017 /1||2018||2018
|Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program||3,390||3,384||--||-3,384|
|Community Services Block Grant||715||714||--||-714|
|Other Community Services Programs||55||55||--||-55|
|Subtotal, Discontinued Programs||4,161||4,153||--||-4,153|
|Other ACF Programs||2016||2017 /1||2018||2018
|Social Services Research & Demonstration||7||7||7||--|
|Disaster Human Services Case Management||2||2||2||--|
|Subtotal, Other ACF Programs||213||213||213||--|
|Total Discretionary Budget Authority||$18,870||$19,284||$14,482||-$4,802|
1/ Reflects the annualized level of the Continuing Resolution that ended April 28, 2017, including the across the board reduction, the 21st Century Cures Act, and directed transfers.
2/ Includes funding for Social Services and Targeted Assistance for FY 2016 and FY 2017. The Budget proposes to combine these programs into a new Refugee Supportive Services program in FY 2018.
ACF provides work supports that families need as they endeavor to become self-sufficient. The Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 Budget requests almost $14.5 billion, a decrease of $4.8 billion relative to the FY 2017 Continuing Resolution. The FY 2018 Budget prioritizes funding for early care and education programs for children, which are valuable resources for families, making it possible for them to seek and maintain employment and participate in job-related training.
Providing Work Supports for Families
Head Start and Child Care, frequently referred to as early care and education programs, allow parents and caregivers to build or maintain their self-sufficiency while ensuring their children receive high-quality care and education. The FY 2018 request preserves funding for Head Start and Child Care relative to FY 2016 levels, for a total investment of $14.8 billion (including $2.9 billion in mandatory child care funds). Nearly 1.4 million children will be served by the child care investments, and nearly 890,000 children will be served by Head Start.
Serving Vulnerable Children and Families
The FY 2018 Budget preserves funding for services to the most vulnerable children and families, including runaway and homeless youth and victims of child abuse and family violence.
Runaway and Homeless Youth
Youth experiencing homelessness face the possibility of exploitation, victimization, and other long-lasting, negative outcomes. The FY 2018 Budget continues to support emergency shelter, transitional housing, and street outreach programs for young people who experience homelessness through a $119 million investment, the same as the FY 2017 Continuing Resolution. At this level, more than 34,000 youth will receive emergency shelter or transitional housing and an array of supportive services.
Child Abuse Prevention
ACF supports programs, research, and monitoring systems that prevent child abuse and neglect while ensuring that children who are victims receive treatment and care. Funds are provided to States and Tribes for child abuse investigations, prevention activities, and research into the causes, prevention, and treatment of child abuse. The Budget requests $98 million for these activities, the same as the FY 2017 Continuing Resolution.
Child Welfare Programs
ACF provides funds to State and Tribal child welfare programs to promote positive outcomes for children and families involved in child welfare. Activities include supporting at-risk families, promoting the well-being of children in foster care, and training to ensure a well-qualified child welfare workforce. ACF research supports the demonstration of promising new practices and training for caseworkers.
The Budget requests a total of $316 million for these activities, a decrease of $9 million below the FY 2017 Continuing Resolution. This funding level prioritizes direct service programs and makes a targeted reduction to technical assistance efforts in the Adoption Opportunities Program.
The Administration for Native Americans in ACF serves Native Americans, including Federally recognized tribes and Native Hawaiian organizations. ACF promotes self-sufficiency for Native Americans by competitively funding community-based projects that foster the development of stable, diversified local economies to provide jobs, promote community and economic well-being, encourage community partnerships, and reduce dependency. Funds also support the preservation of native languages and the environmental protection of Tribally-controlled lands. The FY 2018 Budget includes $50 million to support these activities, the same as the FY 2017 Continuing Resolution.
Family Violence Prevention and Services
The Family Violence Prevention and Services Program is the primary Federal funding stream for shelter and supportive services for victims of family violence and their dependents. The Budget includes $159 million for the program, preserving essential Federal support for these activities, including $1 million for an Alaska Native Tribal Resource Center. Within this amount, the Budget maintains funding for the National Domestic Violence Hotline at $8 million. The Hotline receives an average of 25,000 calls and 163,000 website visits each month.
Refugees, Entrants, and Unaccompanied Alien Children
Refugees and Other New Arrivals
ACF works with State and local governments and a large network of nongovernmental organizations to provide services to refugees and other eligible new entrants like asylees to help them become self-sufficient, integrated members of American society. The Budget includes $320 million to continue to provide up to eight months of cash and medical assistance for 98,000 new arrivals, including 50,000 refugees.
The Budget also includes $159 million to provide English language skills, job training, and translation services to refugees and other new arrivals in FY 2018. ACF proposes to combine the two programs that currently deliver these services, achieving greater efficiencies and reducing the administrative burden on States. The Budget includes $29 million to identify and serve victims of trafficking and provide medical and psychological services to survivors of torture. Studies suggest that 44 percent of refugees/asylees have experienced torture. Funding for both programs is maintained at their FY 2017 Continuing Resolution levels. No funds are included for Preventive Health grants (-$5 million less than the FY 2017 Continuing Resolution) as these services can also be provided through other ACF refugee programs.
Unaccompanied Alien Children
HHS is legally required to take custody of all unaccompanied alien children who are referred to ACF’s Office of Refugee Resettlement after being apprehended by immigration authorities. Children remain in the Office of Refugee Resettlement’s custody until they can be released to an appropriate sponsor while they await their immigration proceedings. The monthly number of unaccompanied children referred to ACF has decreased rapidly since December of 2016 and is now at a five-year low. In response to this trend, ACF has closed the temporary shelters that operated earlier in FY 2017 and is reducing standard permanent bed capacity to match the lower number of children in care. The Budget requests $948 million for this program, $448 million less than the FY 2017 Continuing Resolution. While the history of this program shows that referral levels can fluctuate considerably, the Administration does not anticipate a significant increase in referrals in FY 2018.
Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
The FY 2018 Budget eliminates funding for LIHEAP, for a savings of $3.4 billion. LIHEAP is unable to demonstrate strong performance outcomes. Utility companies, as well as State and local governments, provide significant heating and cooling assistance and the majority of States prohibit utilities from discontinuing heating during the winter months.
Community Services Programs
The FY 2018 Budget discontinues funding for the Community Services Block Grant and the Community Economic Development, Rural Community Facilities, and Assets for Independence Programs, for a savings of $769 million.
The Community Services Block Grant accounts for only five percent of total funding received by the local agencies that benefit from these funds. In addition, grantees can continue receiving funds even if they have not demonstrated strong performance, because the formula for distribution is not directly tied to local agency performance.
To reduce duplication of programming across the Federal Government, the Budget does not request funding for Community Economic Development or Rural Community Facilities.
The Budget also proposes to discontinue the Assets for Independence Program. Historically, the Assets for Independence Program has failed to use all of the funds appropriated for the program.
Evaluation and Innovation
Research and Demonstration
Research, evaluation, and the demonstration of new approaches to providing services allow ACF to improve the efficiency and efficacy of its programs. Current projects include continued use of behavioral science to examine program interventions and address research gaps in the understanding of family self-sufficiency and stability. The FY 2018 Budget includes $7 million, which is the same as the FY 2017 Continuing Resolution.
The Budget includes $205 million, the same as the FY 2017 Continuing Resolution, to cover the cost of administering programs across ACF, including staffing and other fixed administrative expenses, such as office space and the development and maintenance of information technology.