Public expenditures targeted to children can help ensure that children receive what they need to reach their full potential. Nutrition benefits, housing assistance, and public health insurance help guarantee children are well fed, housed, and healthy, while investments in early education and public schools promote learning. Investments in children can positively influence childhood well-being and long-term social and economic outcomes, and increased understanding of how childhood circumstances affect lifelong outcomes has led to more public support for investment in children. This analysis examines trends in public spending on children over time and compares projections of federal spending on children under current law with projections that assume the president’s proposed 2019 budget were enacted in full. Following the methods of the Urban Institute’s annual Kids Share report, we determine which programs aid children, their actual spending from 1960 to 2017, and the share of program spending going to children each year. We then apply these shares to two sets of federal spending projections prepared by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO):
- Baseline projections for fiscal year 2018-28 spending under current law.
- CBO’s “An Analysis of the President’s 2019 Budget” for estimates of fiscal year 2018-28 spending under the administration’s proposals.
Many programs, such as the Child Care and Development Fund, Head Start, school improvement, SNAP, housing assistance, and Medicaid, would see sharp funding reductions, and the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, the Social Services Block Grant, and other programs would be eliminated entirely. (Expert from author introduction)