Federal Budget Update, Family First Transition Act, UBIT, and More

As this year ends, we want to share some exciting updates on the public policy front. First, we want to thank you for your partnership over the past year. The Alliance’s strategic action network has made huge strides and has had significant influence at the federal level. And, while you’ve been hard at work making change in your communities, you can rest assured that the Alliance is working hard for you and all our members to lift up your priorities in Washington. We truly appreciate your annual investment in our organization which enables us to do this critical advocacy work.

There were many important provisions in the year-end budget package that was released late Monday. This bill is expected to be signed into law by Friday.

Some important highlights for the Alliance network:

  • The Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA). The Alliance has taken a leadership role with partners on the National Child Abuse Coalition to push for an increase to CAPTA, a program that has essentially been flat funded since fiscal year 2005. We are excited to report that there will be a $20 million increase over last year ($5 million increase for state grants, $15 million increase for the community-based program). This is an important step forward to ensuring a strong primary prevention system for children and families.
  • The Family First Transition Act. We are pleased that this bill was included in the final package, as it has been a policy priority for the Alliance, working in partnership with members and coalitions including Boys Town and the Child Welfare and Mental Health coalition. This new law will delay and phase in the 50% requirement that prevention services fall into the “well-supported” by research category. Also, it includes a large one-time injection of funds to states to help with transition costs and provides waiver states/counties with two years of funding to backfill any losses associated with their transition off the waiver. 
  • Repeal of the Unrelated Business Income Tax (UBIT) on Non-Profit Parking/Transit Benefits. We worked closely with the Charitable Giving Coalition, Independent Sector, the National Council of Nonprofits, and other partners to address this issue. The package repeals the UBIT tax on parking and transit benefits that have plagued the nonprofit sector over the past year. Not only does it remove this tax, but it also makes it retroactive, so organizations can expect to get a credit for past taxes paid.

There are many other important provisions in the budget package, like a huge increase in funding for Head Start, that will be valuable to the communities we serve. 

Keeping Children, Families and Neighborhoods Safe:

  • Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). A total of $502.5 million for domestic violence grants under VAWA.

Gun Violence:

  • Would provide $25 million in funding for federal gun violence research. Previously, there was a moratorium on funding gun violence research as a public health issue. It hasn’t received federal funding since the 1990s.

Gains in Early Education:

  • Head Start. The bill included a $550 million increase in Head Start funding, for a total of $10.6 billion. This includes funding to help all Head Start programs keep up with rising costs, maintain enrollment, etc. Of this increase, $250 million in new funding for all Head Start programs is targeted at improving trauma-informed care practices to address adverse childhood experiences including those related to substance use disorders. Also included $100 million to expand Early Head Start.
  • Child Care Development Block Grants (CCDBG). Provides a $550 million increase for CCDBG for a total of $5.8 billion. Increases provider payment rates and expands working families’ access to high quality child care.

Improving Outcomes for K-12 Education:

  • IDEA. Provides $13.6 billion, an increase of $410 million, to support educational needs of kids with disabilities.
  • Title I Grants to Local Education Agencies. Increase of $450 million to help children meet challenging state academic standards, with a significant portion going to low-income communities.
  • 21st Century Learning Centers. Provides a $28 million increase for a total of $1.2 billion and will be renamed the Nita Lowey 21st Century Community Learning Centers after the current appropriations chair. 
  • “Whole-Child” Initiatives. Package of initiatives collectively would receive $123 million in new funding. This includes the Education Innovation and Research Program to study students’ social-emotional development, new money for teacher training, new money for mental health initiatives in the School Safety National Activities program, and an increase for Full-Service Community Schools programs. 

Post-Secondary Education and Career Pathways:

  • Pell Grants. Increased the maximum Pell grant award by $150 for the 2020-2021 school year.
  • Career Pathways. Provides an additional $20 million to establish new initiatives at the departments of Education and Labor with the goal of improving pathways to good careers beginning in high school. Also $10 million for a new youth career pathways demonstration program at the Department of Labor to improve workforce readiness, employment and training opportunities, and exposure to career pathways.
  • Youth Workforce Training (WIOA). Received a $9.7 million increase for a total of $913 million.
  • Adult Workforce Training (WIOA). Received a $9.1 million increase for a total of $855 million.
  • Reentry Employment Opportunities (REO). Level funded for a total of $93million.

Building Health and Well-Being:

  • Raises the minimum age for purchase of tobacco products including e-cigarettes and vaping products from 18 to 21. 
  • Boosts state opioid grants with $1.5 billion in funding.

Safe and Affordable Housing:

  • Community Development Block Grants. Funds an increase to $3.43 billion total.
  • HOME Investment Partnerships. Funds an increase to $1.35 billion total.
  • New Mobility Housing Voucher Demonstration. Includes $25 million for mobility housing voucher demonstration to help families with young children move to areas of opportunities.
  • Native American Housing. $100 million in competitive grants to Native American communities to spur construction and preservation of affordable rental housing.
  • Public Housing Capital Account. Provides a $94 million increase over last year to $2.86 billion.
  • Homelessness Assistance Programs. Increased funds to $2.78 billion from $2.64 billion. $80 million of these funds will target addressing youth homelessness in rural and urban areas.
  • Section 8 Tenant-Based Assistance. Provides a $1.3 billion increase over last year to $23.9 billion.

Juvenile Justice:

  • A total of $229.5 million for juvenile justice programs, a $28.5 million increase over last year.

National Service:

  • AmeriCorps State/National Grants. Receives a $3.5 million increase for a total of $428.5 million.

New Bill Introduced for Youth Aging Out of Foster Care

Earlier this week, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) introduced the Increasing Opportunities for Former Foster Youth Act to improve services for older youth aging out of foster care. It builds on the Chafee Foster Care Independence Program to better support youth who age out of the foster care system at age 18. It provides financial support for these youth, creates new innovation grants to help identify and evaluate programs that are most successful in serving these youth, and award grants to evaluate programs for older foster youth.

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