Proposed 2014 Budget

Summary of the President’s Proposed FY 2014 Budget on Select Children’s Issues The major push in the Obama Administration’s fiscal year (FY) 2014 budget is clearly early childhood education and universal pre-kindergarten. The budget follows up on the President’s State of the Union commitment to a major expansion of pre-K services. The budget, if is enacted would increase child care, Head Start, Early Head Start, pre-K and extend and expand the Title V home visitation block grant. As part of the proposal congress would have to support the Administration’s requested increase in the federal cigarette tax by $1.00 per pack yielding approximately half of the $100 billion (over ten years) in revenue. Child welfare funding and services remain largely intact at the current FY 2013 levels before any cuts imposed by the current across-the-board sequestration cuts. The budget does not indicate how current year funding (FY 2013) will be impacted by the current across-the-board (sequestration) cuts which the Administration proposes to replace through entitlement reforms and increased revenue. The Administration no longer proposes a $252 million child welfare incentive targeted to encourage improvements in the foster care and other child welfare programs. It had been described as a proposal that would have created financial incentives to improve child outcomes in the areas of length of stay in foster care; increased reunification, adoption, and guardianship while decreasing rates of maltreatment recurrence. Despite past budget proposals the actual design of the program was never developed beyond the initial budget descriptions. The Administration does continue to propose a specific fund to promote efforts to reduce teen pregnancy among youth in foster care. The $12 million proposal is nearly identical to last year’s ($13 million) proposal which is funded by using abstinence education funding that is not completely drawn down by eligible states. Currently funding not drawn-down by state will lapse back to the federal treasury. The budget continues its request to designate funding for a competitive grant to address sex trafficking in the child welfare and homeless and runaway youth populations. Last year’s $5 million proposal was included in the Senate appropriations bill but Congress never finished the debate. This year the budget would provide $10 million in addition to the funding provided through the Department of Justice. The Administration continues its request that child support collection recovered from noncustodial parents whose children are in foster care be used to promote the best interest of the child rather than being used to partially recoup federal and state costs for foster care placements. 2 Most of the rest of child welfare including the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) funding, Title IV-B part 1 and part 2 (Child Welfare Services, Promoting Safe and Stable Families) remain frozen at the FY 2013 pre-sequestration levels. The Administration does propose elimination of funding for the Court Appointed Special Advocate’s (CASA) program and also now proposes elimination of funding for the Victims of Child Abuse program, eliminating $18 million that addresses training of professionals in working with child victims of child abuse. Finally the Administration requests reauthorization of the Adoption Incentive Fund and the Family Connection grants with modest changes to encourage trauma informed care. Here are some select areas of interest for child welfare: Title IV-E, Social Security Act Title IV-E Foster Care Payments As an entitlement, IV-E foster care funding is determined by the level of need and number of claims filed by states for reimbursement at the federal level. For 2014, the Administration projects that Title IV-E foster care maintenance and administrative costs will be at $4.279 billion, a slight increase from the projected cost of $4.286 billion in 2013. Total cost will likely change either upward or downward depending on eligibility and caseload factors. The funding will cover an estimated 147,000 children in foster care, a decrease of 3,000 children from last year. Some of the decease is the result of reduced numbers of children in foster care. However, some is the result of the eroding edibility for federal funding due to 1996 AFDC standards. For federal fiscal year 2011, 400,540 children were in out-of-home (foster care). Funding is not subject to the sequestration cuts. Child Support and Foster Care Proposal The Administration’s broader child support proposal requires child support payments made on behalf of children in foster care to be used in the best interest of the child, rather than as general revenue for the state. It projects the first year cost to total $2 million in lost revenue to the federal government with total ten year costs of $254 million. It also prohibits the use of child support to repay Medicaid costs associated with giving birth. The Administration indicates this is a practice used by a few states. The Administration argues that recovery of this debt from noncustodial parents can discourage participation by pregnant women in Medicaid and discourage fathers’ attachment. The recommendation is considered cost neutral. Title IV-E Adoption Assistance Payments Title IV-E adoption assistance funding similar to foster care is based on claims filed by states for federal reimbursement. For 2014, the projected cost for Title IV-E adoption assistance payments and administrative costs are projected to be $2.500 billion compared an increase of $94 million from FY 2013. An estimated 451,000 children will be helped by adoption assistance federal funding in FY 2014 which is a projected increase of 12,000. States have the option to extend the age of coverage for special needs adoptions to age 21 under certain conditions. 3 Adoption assistance payments are designed to assist families that may need additional financial support when adopting a child who has special needs. States individually establish the definition of “special needs” children. Children considered special needs could include siblings with a goal of being adopted together, older children, children in care for several years, children with physical disabilities or children with other challenges, developmentally, physically or for health purposes. Most children in foster care are considered special needs. When Congress tied eligibility for foster care funding to AFDC, the same link between AFDC and Adoption Assistance was also created. In 2008, the passage of the Fostering Connections Act (PL 110-351) created a gradual de-link of Adoption Assistance eligibility from the AFDC. Starting in fiscal year 2010, children newly adopted who were 16 or older were eligible without regard to AFDC eligibility. This has been adjusted downward each year. In 2014, all new special needs adoptions for children 8 or older are eligible for federal support. The link to AFDC will be completely eliminated by 2018. Funding is not subject to the sequestration cuts. Title IV-E Adoption Incentives The Administration requests $39 million for this year’s adoption incentive fund which would be the same total as 2013 not counting the effect of sequestration cuts. If enough funds are not available each states bonus or incentive are reduced accordingly. Funding and appropriations vary by year depending on state success in moving children to adoptive families. When Congress passed the Adoption and Safe Families Act (ASFA), they created an incentive fund under Title IV-E. If states increased the number of children adopted from foster care over a previous year’s high mark, they are awarded an incentive from this appropriation. In FY 2011, 50,516 children were adopted from foster care while an additional 104,236 children awaited adoption. In FY 2011, the number of adopted children decreased by approximately 3,000. Funding is subject to the sequestration cuts. The incentive funded is due for reauthorization by FY 2014. The Administration proposes to reauthorize the program at the current discretionary funding level through FY 2018. The sole modification is to require states to target the use of incentive funds to trauma-informed services to improve social and emotional well-being of children waiting for adoption or those having achieved adoption. Current law requires states to reinvest and earned incentive payments back into child welfare service but there is no documentation or accounting of whether or not states actually reinvest such funds. Title IV-E Kinship Guardianship Assistance Payments As a state optional entitlement, states may establish a program to support kinship-guardianship placements. The Administration projects that 24,000 children will be covered under this program an increase of 4,000 children. The cost of $124 million in FY 2014 represents an increase of $1 million from 2013 and by more than $50 million from two years ago. States have an option to have a kinship-guardianship IV-E program as a result of the 2008 Fostering Connections to Success Act. Funding is not subject to the sequestration cuts. Title IV-E John H. Chafee Foster Care Independence Program The John H. Chafee Independence program is set at $140 million in mandatory funds. The (Title IV-E) Independent Living program is targeted to assist youth who have not been placed in a 4 permanent family and who are aging out of foster care. There is no change in funding or the program. Funding is not subject to the sequestration cuts. Education and Training Vouchers The Administration continues funding at $45 million for Education and Training Vouchers for youth aging out of foster care. Vouchers are provided to assist youth in foster care with their education and training needs. Funding is awarded to states by formula. The program is funded through the annual discretionary/appropriation process. Funds not fully expended by states are redistributed to other states requesting additional funds. Funding is subject to the sequestration cuts. IV-E Tribal Title The Fostering Connections Act allowed Tribal governments or consortia to apply directly to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to run their own Title IV-E programs for Foster Care, Adoption Assistance and Kinship Care. Funding is provided at $3 million to assist tribal governments in the planning and implementation of such IV-E programs. Funding remains the same. Funding is not subject to the sequestration cuts. Title IV-B, Social Security Act Title IV-B Part 1, Child Welfare Services (CWS) Title IV-B, Child Welfare Services is funded at $281million the same as last year. It was reauthorized in 2011 as part of the Children and Family Services Improvement and Innovation Act at the same authorized level of $325 million annually. It has never been fully funded. Each state share is based on the state’s population under age 21 as compared to other states. Funding can be used for a range of child welfare services, including prevention and early intervention. Some states may use their funds to address adoption and foster care expenses. Funding is subject to the sequestration cuts. Child Welfare Training and Research Housed under Title IV-B, the funding total under this category is $26 million, which is the same as FY 2013 (not including the impact of sequestration). From this total:  $7.2 million has been allocated to promote research and training for the child welfare workforce. Funding helps to provide leverage to institutions of higher learning and other non-profits by supporting their on-going projects. This initiative has been in place for more than a decade.  Child Welfare Innovation. The administration proposes approximately $19 million to continue funding for demonstration projects across the country to reduce foster care placements. Family Connection Grants This is a $15 million competitive grant created as part of the Fostering Connections to Success Act. Matching grants to states and tribes allow funding for kinship navigator programs, intensive family-finding programs, family group decision making and family-residential substance abuse 5 treatment and counseling. Applicants apply to HHS for grants lasting 1 to 3 years. Funding is mandatory and has been fixed at $15 million since its creation as part of the Fostering Connections to Success Act of 2008. The program is due for reauthorization in FY 2014. Unlike some programs, if the mandatory funds are renewed and extended it will be counted as new spending. As a result some members of Congress may oppose an extension. The Administration is proposing a reauthorization of the program through FY 2016 which would align its future reauthorization with the Title IV-B programs (CWS, PSSF). The Administration’s reauthorization proposal would modify the program to include traumainformed, trauma-focused approach and/or services for children, youth and families experiencing the developmental, behavioral, and mental health effects of childhood maltreatment. Title IV-B part 2, Promoting Safe and Stable Families Promoting Safe and Stable Families (PSSF) is a combination of funding streams for different but related services. Like CWS, PSSF was reauthorized last year as part of the Child and Family Services Improvement and Innovation Act. In FY 2014, the President is requesting PSSF funding at the same levels. The funding for the original PSSF program has been divided into four broad categories: family preservation, family support, family reunification and adoption services. In addition, a portion of PSSF funding ($30 million) is allocated for court improvement programs. Furthermore, $20 million is designated for competitive grants to address substance abuse, while another $20 million is set aside for workforce development. These workforce grants are allocated to states if they meet a requirement to visit children in foster care at least once a month. Overall, PSSF receives $345 million in mandatory funding as well as an additional allocation of discretionary spending. The President’s budget allows for the continuation of discretionary funding at $63 million in 2014. After allocating for the various funding categories and combining mandatory and discretionary spending, the approximate totals for FY 2014 will be: $338 million for the four main services, $30 million for Court Improvement, $20 million for competitive grants to address substance abuse, and $20 million for workforce improvements. Funding is subject to the sequestration cuts. Title IV-A, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Social Security Act The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) five year reauthorization ran out in FY 2010. It was extended in January 2013 until the end of FY 2013 on September 30. The Administration proposes another extension and indicates a desire to work with Congress “to strengthen the program’s effectiveness in accomplishing its goals.” The administration anticipates maintaining current spending in the TANF block grant at $16.5 billion. Additionally, it proposes to extend the supplemental grants to states ($319 million) that were a part of the 1996 law and expired last year. Originally, the supplemental grants were allocated to 17 states to address funding disparities between states and rapid population growth. The contingency fund was established to help states address economic downturns as well. Finally, the Administration also proposes a continuation of $150 million for fatherhood initiatives and marriage promotion programs ($75 million each). Funding is not subject to the sequestration cuts. 6 Child Care/Child Care Development Block Grant/CCDG Child Care Funding has three funding streams: discretionary funding, funding based on historic spending, and funding based on states matching federal funds. Discretionary funding is appropriated each year and provided to states both by a population formula while the mandatory funding is written into the TANF law and set for five or six years at a time. This mandatory funding is divided into two sets; one of which is allocated to states based on historic spending, while the second of which is provided to states only if each state provides a match in funding. The President’s initiative: The President’s vision for expanded prekindergarten (Pre-K) and early childhood education involves several pieces that would expand schools through pre-k and coordinate the range of related early childhood programs from home visitation to child care to Head Start. The budget requests major expansions in Pre-K funding and Early Head Start and less increases in child care and Head Start but closely tied to quality improvements. Child Care Block Grant As part of the Administration’s overall Pre-Kindergarten and Early Childhood Education initiative both the discretionary and mandatory funds would increase. The Administration would provide an increase of $500 million in mandatory/matching funds, increasing the current total of $2.9 billion to $3.4 billion. This would require a change to the block grant under the TANF program. Funds would require a match in state spending. In addition, the Administration would increase discretionary funding from the current $2.2 billion to $2.460 billion. The total increase would be $200 million, with the Administration proposing funding be used to enhance and improve the quality of child care. Current child care funding structure generally means that increasing in one area (supply, eligibility, quality, or provider reimbursement) results in less funding for another area or areas. Funding is subject to the sequestration cuts. Head Start Head Start funding is a major component of the President’s plan. Early Head Start, the high quality program that targets infants and toddlers would receive $1.4 billion more in FY 2014 which is projected to increase enrollment to 110,000, a doubling of children served. This expansion would link Early Head Start to center and family based care seeking to significantly improve the quality of services provided. At the same time the Administration would add $222 million to the Head Start program to continue current initiatives to improve the quality of current Head Start programs. Created in the 1960s, the Head Start program provides grants to local agencies with the aim of delivering comprehensive child development services to young children. Additionally, Head Start targets familial needs by supplying the family with essential supports and services. Although the program focuses in particular on preschoolers, in 1995, it expanded its focus to infants and toddlers with the creation of Early Head Start. Funding is subject to sequestration. Pre-Kindergarten The President proposes $750 million to assist states that have no or very limited pre-k programs. The grants would help plan for expansion and implementation. The grants would be competitive 7 and could be used to take steps to build capacity. In addition to these funds the Administration is requesting $1.3 billion in mandatory funds for states that are ready to provide what are considered high quality Pre-K programs. In the first years the federal government would supply the vast majority of funds but would decrease the federal share as the state reached its goals in coverage. The allocation of funds to states would be based on a state’s share of four-year olds from families at or below 200 percent of poverty. The pre-k portion would be funded by increasing the current cigarette tax now at 94 cents to $1.95 cents—a proposal that the Administration sees as both a revenue raiser and a health promotion piece. Increases in the tax have been shown to decrease smoking, especially among the young. 21st Century Learning Centers 21st century Community Learning Centers were created through the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). These centers were established to support after-school programs and to expand coverage beyond traditional child care. Eligible programs include local educational agencies (LEAs), cities, counties, and community-based agencies. Applicants are required to plan their programs through a collaborative process that includes parents, youth, governmental agencies, and representatives of participating schools or local educational agencies. Funding is allocated through the US Department of Education. Funding will increase to $1.252 billion an increase from $1.151 billion in FY 2013. Funding is subject to sequestration. Promise Neighborhoods The Promise Neighborhoods program was created under the Obama Administration and is based on the model established by the Harlem Children’s Zone. The goal is to establish a school-based program that joins together public, private, philanthropic and business community interests to develop a comprehensive model. Early on in a child’s life and continuing through elementary and secondary school years, programs will wrap a range of services around the prospective student and family with a goal of preparing students for success all the way to college and later employment. The initial grants were for planning. The Administration is seeking an increase from $60 million to $300 million. Funding is subject to sequestration. Maternal and Child Health Block Grant, Title V Social Security Act Maternal and Child Health Block Grant Enacted in 1935 as a part of the Social Security Act, Title V provides formula funding to all states to address maternal and child health programs. The main block grant will be funded at $639 million in FY 2014 if the Administration’s proposal is approved, approximately the same as the previous year. Of the total, 85 percent of funding is distributed to states with the remaining funds for national programs. States use funding for planning and allocating services to both mothers and children. States are required to work collaboratively with other organizations to conduct comprehensive needs assessments. Once needs are assessed, states must identify priorities to comprehensively address these needs and must serve as the payer of last resort for services that do not receive coverage from any other program. In addition, there are separate funds included under Title V (see Home Visitation below). One other program is Abstinence Education. The Administration proposes to use $12 million from 8 this fund to create a new initiative, which will generate and encourage the development of teen pregnancy prevention programs targeted to youth in foster care. Funding will be based on current evidence-based teen pregnancy prevention models adapted to address the needs of the foster care population, as foster youth demonstrate a higher than average rate of teen pregnancy. Home Visitation Title V Social Security Act Created under the Affordable Care Act (ACA, PL 111-148) this program provides funding to all states to promote the use and expansion of home visitation programs. Funding must be used for evidenced-based models with a limited amount of funding available for innovative programs that show promise. To be eligible for funding, states are required to undergo a rigorous planning process and the home visitation programs must undergo substantial evaluation. Funding for the program is mandatory and includes scheduled increases. For FY 2014, funding will remain at $400 million. The program is set to expire after FY 2014 and as part of the Pre-K and early childhood education proposal the President proposes to extend it starting in FY 2015 for another ten years. Funding is subject to sequestration. Teen Pregnancy Prevention The President’s budget includes an allocation of $12 million to a teen pregnancy prevention effort that would target youth in foster care. The new initiative would be a result of a reallocation of abstinence education dollars (under Title V) that are not currently drawn down by states. HHS references some studies that indicate there is a high rate of teen pregnancy among this population. One study referenced showed that approximately half of female youth leaving foster care became pregnant by the age of 19. There is also an increased likelihood that males leaving foster care may have an increased chance of fathering a child in their teen years. Not only are many of these children in foster care lacking a permanent family, their caretakers including case workers, foster parents and other guardians may not know how to approach the topic of teen pregnancy with these young people. Historically $11 to $13 million of title V Abstinence Education funding is not drawn down by states. This proposal would be funded by turning the funds into a discretionary grant program. Similar to successful teen pregnancy prevention models, grantees would be challenged to coordinate key stakeholders, programs and funding sources to address prevention amongst this population Title XX, The Social Services Block Grant (SSBG), Social Security Act The Social Services Block Grant (SSBG) is a federal block grant and is an entitlement to the states. In federal fiscal year 2014, it will be funded at $1.7 billion (not including the impact of sequestration). The Administration does not propose any changes. SSBG is generally the biggest federal source of funds of Child Protective Services (CPS), with approximately 41 states allocating around $250 million in funds each year on purported CPS services. Almost all of the states will spend some potion of SSBG on protective services, foster care services, adoption services, services for displaced youth and other child welfare related services each year. However, it can vary from year to year. A significant portion of these SSBG dollars are TANF funds states have transferred into SSBG. SSBG funds can be spent on more than 29 categories of services that range from elderly services (e.g., home delivered meals) to children’s services (e.g., child protection or child care) to disability services (e.g., to transportation or home chore 9 services). States determine eligibility standards and can move dollars from year to year to address their most pressing needs. The Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act The Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA), first authorized in 1974 (P.L. 93-247) is the only federal legislation exclusively dedicated to the prevention, assessment, identification, and treatment of child abuse and neglect. It is a continuum of child maltreatment services and supports. The three main funding streams from CAPTA are State Grants, Discretionary Grants for research and demonstration projects, and Community Based Grants to Prevent Child Abuse and Neglect. The State Grants aim to help states improve their CPS systems and develop innovative approaches. To qualify for these grants, states must meet eligibility requirements, such as having a child protection system in place. Additionally, states must enact laws preserving victim confidentiality, appoint Guardians Ad Litem, and establish citizen review panels. CAPTA discretionary funds support state efforts to improve their practices in preventing and treating child abuse and neglect. Funds support program development, research, training, technical assistance, and the collection and dissemination of data to advance the prevention and treatment of child abuse and neglect. These funds also support the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System, the only federal data collection effort to annually determine the scope of child maltreatment. Funding also supports the National Office of Child Abuse and Neglect, the National Resource Center on Child Maltreatment, and the National Clearinghouse on Child Abuse and Neglect. The Community-Based Grants support state efforts to develop, operate, and expand a network of community-based, prevention-focused family support programs that coordinate resources among a range of existing public and private organizations. Funding is allocated to states by a formula based on the number of children in a state’s population. In 2011, CAPTA became a target for legislative attempts to address the issue of child sexual abuse due to the grand jury indictment of a former Penn State University coach. CAPTA requires states to have mandatory reporting laws (i.e., certain professions that come into regular contact with children are required to report suspected abuse and neglect). Various legislative proposals would condition CAPTA funding on extending mandatory reporting laws to everyone or to expand penalties for failure to report suspected cases. The Administration proposes the same level of funding for all three CAPTA grants for FY 2014. State Grants would be funded at $26 million, CAPTA Community-Based Grants to Prevent Child Abuse and Neglect would be funded at $42 million, and CAPTA Discretionary Grants would be funded at $26 million. Funding is likely subject to sequestration. Abandoned Infants The Abandoned Infants program is reauthorized as part of the CAPTA reauthorization. Funding is allocated to public and private non-profit programs to prevent abandoned infants and to 10 provide respite care in addition to safe havens for infants. Requested funding for FY 2014 is identical to 2013, $11 million. Funding is likely subject to sequestration. Adoption Opportunities The Adoption Opportunities program was established in 1978 (P.L. 95-266) and was most recently reauthorized in 2003 (P.L.108-36, with CAPTA). Funding provided for Adoption Opportunities is administered by HHS and is distributed through competitive grants and contracts. The program provides grants to address post-adoption services, the recruitment of minority families and the adoption of older children. Programs such as AdoptUSKids are a national example of some of the programs funded through Adoption Opportunities. In 2013, Adoption Opportunities was funded at $39.4 million. It increased from $26 to $39 million when the Adoption Awareness Program ($12 million) was eliminated as a standalone program. (The Adoption Awareness Program was ultimately combined with Adoption Opportunities on account of their shared mission). The $39 million proposed by the Administration for FY 2014 is a continuation of current year funding. Funding is likely subject to sequestration. Non-CAPTA Child Abuse Prevention and Support Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASAs) The Administration continues its efforts to eliminate funds for the Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA). The funding is found in the Department of Justice. They propose to eliminate all funding in FY 2014 with pre-sequestration funding at $6 million which is lower than funding was four years ago. CASA’s are trained volunteer adults who are appointed by the courts as officers of the courts to assist abused and neglected children. There responsibility is to make recommendations to the judge about what is in the best interest of the child. Funding is likely subject to sequestration. Victims of Child Abuse The Administration’s Department of Justice budget also includes a proposal to eliminate all funding for the Victims of Child Abuse program, a cut of $18 million. The Administration suggests that the elimination of the funding could be replaced through larger more open-ended competitive grants. Currently the funds help maintain over 750 Children’s Advocacy Centers across the country. The centers goals are to work with professionals from law enforcement to child protection agencies to ensure that investigations of abuse both physical and sexual are conducted in a way that does not further victimize the child. The National Children’s Alliance indicates that more than 286,000 children were helped in 2012 and that the Centers provided child sexual abuse prevention training to approximately 500,000 people including some school personal. The recent child sexual abuse prosecutions involving a former Penn State coach suggested a lack of basic training of state-mandated child abuse and neglect reporters. Funding is likely subject to sequestration. Vulnerable Children and Youth Exploitation of Children: Domestic Sex Trafficking (HHS). 11 A new additional $10 million, if appropriated, would be for competitive grants to prevent and address commercial sexual exploitation. There are approximately 100,000 children in the United States that are victims of sex trafficking. Many are in federally-funded foster care group homes and in runaway and homeless youth shelters. The funding would equip child welfare agencies and other community-based programs to address and prevent sex trafficking The new program will be focused on providing competitive grants to state, local, and tribal governments and non-profit organizations that already have experience working with trafficking victims, specifically, or that work with populations most likely to become trafficking victims, such as runaway youth or domestic violence victims. Applicants will be expected to coordinate services between various entities that encounter trafficking victims, such as the police and hospitals, and to provide intensive case management service so that victims can receive followup care, such as access to mental health professionals and information on public benefits. Grants will target areas with high rates of domestic trafficking to invest in programs most likely to serve the population, including communities outside of metropolitan areas. Two demonstration projects will focus on establishing effective housing solutions for young domestic trafficking victims who are runaways, homeless, or in the foster care system. Victims of Trafficking (DOJ) Funding for this program would increase from $9.7 million to $10.5 million in 2013. The program is housed in the U.S. Department of Justice (jointly managed by the Bureau of Justice Assistance and the Office for Victims of Crime) and provides grants to local law enforcement and victim service providers to fund collaborative efforts to identify, rescue, and assist victims of all forms of human trafficking. Funding originates from the Crime Victims Fund (CVF). The CVF is financed not from general revenue, but by the collection of fines, penalty assessments, and bond forfeitures from defendants convicted of federal crimes. Consolidated Runaway and Homeless Youth Programs This program is actually comprised of two: the Basic Center Program and the Transitional Living Program. The Basic Center program funds community-based programs that provide crisis intervention, temporary shelter counseling and family reunification. Centers will provide up to 21 days of shelter for a maximum of 20 youth. Funds are distributed to states by formula. The Transitional Living Program provides similar grants for youth age 16 to 22 who are living in adult-supervised group homes. Funding lasts up to 18 months. These are youth who cannot live safely at home. Funding for the two programs is again $97.3 million ($53 million for the Basic Centers, $44 million for Transitional Living), which is the same as it was in 2013. There is also a national toll-free hotline that draws its funding through this budget. Funding is subject to sequestration. In addition, for FY 2014, the Administration proposes $3 million for a study of runaway and homeless youth. Education-Prevention Grants to Reduce Sexual Abuse-Runaway Youth This program provides grants to public and non-profit agencies for street-based services to runaway and homeless youth. Services provided to youth include the provision of basic needs, 12 clothing, and aid-packages as well as referrals to shelters and other more permanent services. Funding for FY 2014 is the same as 2013 and is $17.9 million. McKinney-Vento Homeless Children and Youth Funding for this program would remain at the same level in FY 2014 for a total of $65.2 million. Limited funding is provided to states to assist homeless children in continuing their education despite the loss of their permanent home. Along with these funds, states are to meet specified safeguards and requirements, including having a homeless liaison designated in each school district. States must also offer transportation to and from the school of origin, immediate school enrollment if a child has moved to a new school district, continued enrollment in the school of origin if requested, and a prohibition against segregating homeless students. Funding is subject to sequestration. Individuals with Disabilities Education Act: Infants and Toddlers (IDEA Part C) The President is requesting an increase of $20 million for IDEA Part C, bringing funding to $463 million in FY 2014. IDEA Part C provides formula grants to all states to help create systems of coordinated, comprehensive, multidisciplinary, interagency programs that will provide early intervention to children with disabilities, aged birth through two. The targeted population includes families with infants and toddlers with disabilities that are experiencing developmental delays in one or more areas, including cognitive development, physical development, communication development, socio-emotional development, or adaptive development. The intervention may also include children who have a diagnosed physical or mental condition that has a high probability of resulting in developmental delay. States have the discretion to provide services to infants and toddlers who are at risk of having substantial developmental delays if they do not receive appropriate early intervention services. Funding is subject to sequestration.

About Yvonne Mason Sewell

Background:  The eldest of five children, Yvonne was born May 17, 1951 in Atlanta, Georgia. Raised in East Point, Georgia, she moved to Jackson County, Ga. until 2006 then moved to Port St. Lucie, Florida where she currently makes her home.  Licensed bounty hunter for the state of Georgia. Education:  After a 34 year absence, returned to college in 2004. Graduated with honors in Criminal Justice with an Associate’s degree from Lanier Technical College in 2006. Awards:  Nominated for the prestigious GOAL award in 2005 which encompasses all of the technical colleges. This award is based not only on excellence in academics but also leadership, positive attitude and the willingness to excel in one’s major. Affiliations:  Beta Sigma Phi Sorority  Member of The Florida Writer’s Association – Group Leader for St Lucie County The Dream:  Since learning to write at the age of five, Yvonne has wanted to be an author. She wrote her first novel Stan’s Story beginning in 1974 and completed it in 2006. Publication seemed impossible as rejections grew to 10 years. Determined, she continued adding to the story until her dream came true in 2006. The Inspiration:  Yvonne’s brother Stan has been her inspiration and hero in every facet of her life. He was stricken with Encephalitis at the tender age of nine months. He has defied every roadblock placed in his way and has been the driving force in every one of her accomplishments. He is the one who taught her never to give up The Author: Yvonne is currently the author of several novels, including:  Stan’s Story- the true story of her brother’s accomplishments, it has been compared to the style of Capote, and is currently being rewritten with new information for re-release.  Tangled Minds - a riveting story about a young girl’s bad decision and how it taints everyone’s life around her yet still manages to show that hope is always possible. This novel has been compared to the writing of Steinbeck and is currently being written as a screenplay. This novel will be re-released by Kerlak Publishing in 2009  Brilliant Insanity – released by Kerlak Publishing October 2008  Silent Scream – Released by October 2008- Slated to be made into a movie Yvonne’s Philosophy in Life - “Pay it Forward”: “In this life we all have been helped by others to attain our dreams and goals. We cannot pay it back but what we can do is ‘pay it forward’. It is a simple
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1 Response to Proposed 2014 Budget

  1. Gene says:

    Hi Yvonne,

    After reading some DCF horror stories, I think I’ll stay on the education reform side of the fight for now. I’m not sure what the current status of Florida DCF / Childnet, as I only know what the news tells me.

    I have a project, that crosses paths, with the ESE Experts, a Childnet, “contractor, and DCF.
    I do know, how difficult it would be to surprise you, with a story you have not heard yet. With that said, I do have a story, that is so outrageous, that if I didn’t have public records, I would not believe.

    It’s a semi-active case, and I wanted an hour of your time, not for advise Per Se, but I wanted a seasoned ear, to hear what happened, and is happening, stemming from an event, at a public school.

    I think it will make good press, as the Palm Beach County Schools Inspectors Secretary, walk off her job, after 27 yrs., and became a whistle blower, officially, and is just waiting to be served, along with a Detective, (soon to be retired), to give testimony.

    I don’t trust “experts, too much. And its sort of a pending civil litigation at hand.

    I have Baker Street Investigations working on the, (your neck of the woods), and a 30 yr. Trial Lawyer, who wants to blow the lid off of a dishonest, privately retained Forensic Psychologist, for not disclosing a inherent and obvious conflict of interest.

    Would you be interested in a conversation?
    If you are, please email me at

    Thank you for any considerations.

    Best Regards,



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