UPDATE: February 14, 2018
CLASP and the National Women’s Law Center explain the budget deal in this FAQ. It includes important clarifications, including the following: “While Congress passed, and Trump signed, a budget that sets overall spending levels, it has not yet passed a FY 2018 appropriations bill setting specific spending levels for individual programs. The next step is for Congress to pass an omnibus spending bill by March 23 when the current Continuing Resolution (CR) for FY 2018 runs out.”
The budget bill passed by Congress at the end of last week logged three victories for young children.
- Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) program funding was doubled, to $5.8 billion in funding over two years – the largest increase in the grant’s history. The additional funding will allow for improvements to the consistency and quality of child care while allowing parents to work or attend school. Access to high quality child care and early education has been shown to improve children’s health and development, prepare them for kindergarten, and improve families’ economic security by allowing parents to work. CCDBG funding in North Carolina is used to support child care subsidy services, state and local administrative costs, and quality activities, including regulatory staff. CLASP estimates that 10,380 additional children could benefit in NC.
- The Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) program, which expired in September of 2017, was reauthorized for five years. This federal program funds states’ development and implementation of voluntary, evidence-based home visiting programs to support at-risk families. Home visiting has been shown to improve health, development and educational outcomes for young children and their families. MIECHV funds home visiting programs in 13 North Carolina counties, and in 2016, those programs made over 7,000 home visits.
- Funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) has been extended for 10 years. Long-term funding for the program had been allowed to run out at the end of September 2017 and was extended for six years in January. This new agreement adds another four years of funding. Health Choice, NC’s CHIP program, covers 235,000 children in the state who live in families with incomes between 133% and 211% of the federal poverty level (between $31,721 and $50,324 a year for a family of four).