Obama’s 2012 Budget and Youth: A Breakdown

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President Barack Obama released his 2012 budget today, which would fund most youth-focused programs and agencies at equal or greater levels to the 2010 appropriations made by Congress, with the exception of juvenile justice programs.

The president’s 2012 plan is a sharp contrast to the House Republicans’ notions for the rest of fiscal 2011. The House Appropriations Committee submitted a bill to fund the rest of 2011 that would include major cuts to youth programs, including a zeroing out of funds for the Corporation for National and Community Service and YouthBuild.

Only three youth programs would be terminated under Obama’s plan: Adolescent Family Life (Department of Health and Human Services, $17 million), Children and Families Services’ Job Demonstration Program (HHS, $3 million) and Career Pathways Innovation Fund (Labor, $125 million).

Another three funding streams that assist youth were slated for significant reductions: Community Development Block Grants (Housing and Urban Development, cut by $299 million), Community Services Block Grant (HHS, cut by $350 million) and Reintegration of Ex-Offenders (Labor, cut by $18 million).

Following are summaries of the president’s proposed youth spending lines at various agencies. 

Corporation for National and Community Service

The Corporation of National and Community Service – which Republicans want to eliminate – got a not-so-subtle show of support from the Obama administration when its line item, usually buried far down in listing, was pushed to the top of the chart in the official budget page on the Office of Management and Budget’s website.

And rather than trimming CNCS, even a little bit, President Obama proposes a slight increase that would give a $72 million increase to AmeriCorps and a $5 million boost to the Senior Corps.

Obama’s proposed budget calls for a total of $1.3 billion for the corporation, up from $1.2 billion in the 2010 budget. Budget officials noted that while the money will not permit greater expansion – Obama had set a goal of 250,000 in AmeriCorps – it will fully support 90,000.

“The president believes that public service can help to address our nation’s greatest challenges, and that serving our fellow Americans can help speed our economic recovery,” the Office of Management and Budget said in its support of the CNCS proposal, calling the corporation an “on ramp for Americans of all ages to serve their community and country.”

Department of Agriculture

Women’s, Infants and Children’s program grows to $7.39 billion from $7.25 billion in 2010. The Republicans’ Continuing Resolution bill for the remainder of the current 2011 budget years calls for a cut of about $747 million cut from the 2010 level. The Agriculture Department’s proposed budget also calls for Child Nutrition Programs to grow by nearly $2 billion, from $16.9 billion to $18.9 billion.

Department of Education

America’s education system is poised to receive a major boost if Congress follows the president’s 2012 proposed budget (a big if, in this political and economic climate). Education spending would increase by $2 billion from the previous year, or 4.3 percent.

Secretary of Education Arne Duncan touted the President’s proposal this afternoon, outlining five priority areas in the funding: early learning; funding to sustain and expand existing district-level reforms such as Race to the Top and Investing In Innovation (i3); teacher recruitment and training; college completion; and helping students at risk.

Among the funding streams that received a proposed increase, the 21st Century Community Learning Centers grants to after-school programs would receive $1.27 billion, an additional $100 million from last year; and $600 million to turn around low-performing schools, up $54 million from last year.

Notably absent from the list of increased funding recipients: for-profit colleges. In fact, it is a $265 million cut to career and technical education grants that would partially help the Education Department afford to fund the increases in other areas.

Explaining the reasoning behind this cut in a conference call to reporters, Duncan said some career and technical programs have done a good job and he sees them as part of the Department’s future plans.

“But before we put more money into CTE [Career and Technical Education], we want to see better results for our children. We see a real opportunity to improve there for CTE.”

The priority on education was accentuated by Obama holding his news conference announcing the budget at a Baltimore middle school this morning.

In addition to increases for education programs, there is a proposed $5.4 billion increase in discretionary Pell Grant spending that is not counted in the regular education budget.

The budget leaves education advocacy groups in a state of mixed optimism, as the President’s proposals contrast wildly with spending levels outlined in the Continuing Resolution recently proposed by House Republicans.

Advocacy group United States Students Association, for instance, sent out a release pointing to the President’s budget maintaining a maximum Pell Grant amount at $5,550 and a Republican proposal that would reduce the amount by $845.

Department of Health and Human Services

Overall, the department’s budget will grow by almost $50 billion under the proposal announced today, but all of that growth will be in mandatory expenditures, primarily Medicaid and Medicare, while discretionary spending will be about $100 million more than the appropriated 2010 budget of $79.8 billion.

Much of the spending for youth programs is in the Administration for Children and Families, where proposed spending would drop by about $1.6 billion from FY2010’s level of $17.3 billion. 

One of the biggest increases in Obama’s proposed ACF budget is $866 million for Head Start, for a total of $8.1 billion. Obama’s proposed budget would also add $800 million for Child Care and Development block grants, raising that appropriation to a total of $2.9 billion. But in their proposed continuing resolution bill introduced late Friday, House Republicans take aim at both: slashing more than $1 billion from Head Start’s current level of funding, putting its funding at more than $2 million below what Obama is proposing, and trimming the Child Care and Development block grants by $39 million below the 2010 level.

In addition, Obama’s budget essentially halves the money for Mentoring Children of Prisoners – reducing its appropriation by $24 million, leaving $25 million – noting that it has not proved to be as effective as hoped and that changes would be made to the program.

Community Service Block Grants appear fated for a rough two years. The House Appropriations Committee proposes to cut them by $305 million in its continuing resolution for 2011, and CSBG would be cut by $350 million under Obama’s 2012 plan.

For adoption incentives, Obama would add $10 million while holding steady with child welfare/adoption assistance. He would add $5 million to funds for runaway/homeless children. The Center for Faith-Based/Community Innovation’s $1 million budget would be eliminated.

Funding for abstinence and contraception education is no long directly under the Department of Health and Human Services, but is a part of mandated funding for the Affordable Care Act. Under the ACA, personal responsibility education is funded at $75 a year and there is $50 million a year for abstinence education.  As he did in the previous two years, Obama is proposing to terminate the Adolescent Family Life Program. 

Department of Justice

Obama does propose significant cuts to juvenile justice spending: $280 million, compared with a $423.6 million appropriation for 2010.

His 2012 budget appears to replace the normal formula grants, awarded to states for complying with the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act, with another funding stream to create a new system of incentive grants. (Click here for more on that plan).

Meanwhile, the president proposed decreases or level funds for most other lines in the juvenile justice budget. Obama’s budget has no money for demonstration programs ($91 million in 2010 appropriations), $45 million for mentoring ($100 million in 2010), and $62 million for Title V Delinquency Prevention Grants.

Out of the State and Local Law Enforcement Assistance funding, Obama proposed $30 million to help states implement the Adam Walsh Act, which among other things would require states to connect to a national sex offender registry. He also slated $25 million for the Defending Childhood initiative, Attorney General Eric Holder’s project to help children who are exposed to violence, and another $25 million for competitive grants that could fund juvenile justice programs.

There is a $100 million set-aside for Second Chance Act funding, which goes in part to helping juvenile offenders connect to school and/or jobs upon release from juvenile and adult facilities.

Department of Labor

Proposed appropriations for youth employment and training activities is essentially the same as FY 2010, when it was $923.1 million, although the administration this year splits the money into $850 million for youth employment and job training and $73.9 million for a youth innovation fund.

Other major changes from the 2010 budget:

*Career Pathways Innovations Fund is zeroed out, with the money subsumed by the new training programs linked to community colleges.

*Pilots demonstrations and research down to $6.6 million from $93.5 million, mostly because of elimination of earmarks.

*Reintegration of Ex-Offenders goes from $108 million down to $90 million.

*YouthBuild goes to $115 million from $102.5 million.

*Job Corps request is $1.6 billion, up about $15 million from 2010.

-John Kelly and Ben Penn also contributed to this story.