Issue: Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations
Some of the grant programs included in the Health and Human Services (HHS) appropriations can be used to support state courts efforts.
State courts advocate full funding for those programs that will assist courts in dealing with the effects of federal initiatives on state courts.
The appropriations bills for HHS include funding to for the child support enforcement program, child welfare services, and programs related to substance abuse and mental health services.
For FY 2014, Promoting Safe and Stable Families (PSSF) funding remained unchanged, which meant Court Improvement Program (CIP) funds remained at $30M. PSSF discretionary funds were reduced by $3.3M. The CIP program receives 3.3% of PSSF discretionary funds. The Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) discretionary grants program received a slight increase and Congress directed HHS to use $3 million of the funds for competitive grants to support the implementation of research-based court team models.
In the FY 2015 omnibus appropriations bill (P.L. 113-235), child welfare funding was flat.
The President’s FY 2016 budget request included proposed appropriations increases and changes in law to expand child welfare services, including the following authorizations: to address overuse of psychotropic medications; federal reimbursement for pre-placement and post-placement services; to promote alternatives to congregate care for children; and for competitive grants to design programs that prevent children from being lured into illegal activities including, sex trafficking.
On 6/24/15, the House Appropriations Committee approved H.R. 3020 by a voice vote. The House Committee recommended keeping most programs at the FY 2015 funding level. On 6/25/15, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved S. 1695 by a vote of 16-14. The Senate Committee also recommended keeping most programs at the FY 2015 funding level.
For the most part, the FY 2016 omnibus spending bill (P.L. 114-113), held child welfare programs at level funding. The Abandoned Infants Assistance Program was not reauthorized and, therefore, defunded.
On 6/9/16, the full Senate Appropriations Committee approved the Departments of Labor, HHS, and Education bill (S 3040). For the most part, the bill provided level funding. There is a Congressional Budget Office calculations issue with the PSSF grant, that impacts, the Court Improvement Program grants, that will need to be worked out, in order to maintain full funding for the CIP data and training grants.
President Trump signed HR 244 (PL-115-31) the Omnibus Appropriations Act to finish the FY17 funding cycle. Most HHS programs were level funded. Importantly, HR 244 included language funding the CIP data and training grants for FY 2017.
President Trump released his FY18 budget request on 5/22/17. He requested the full $30M for CIP grants. Most programs were level funded, but the President did propose zeroing out the Social Services Block grant ($1.7 billion).
Under the House and Senate FY 2018 appropriation bills, $10M is included for the basic CIP grant. The bills did not include funding for the CIP data and training grants ($20M) or the Home Visitation program ($400M). Other child welfare programs would be level funded. The most recent continuing resolution expired on 1/20/17.