The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities reported that at least 44 states are facing budget shortfalls — the budget gaps for the remainder of this fiscal year to 2011 are estimated to more than $350 billion. At least 30 states have made or proposed budget cuts that threaten vital services, including public health, education and state workforce reductions.
How can the recovery package help children and youth? Several organizations have suggestions:
- Between 62,000 and 120,000 new jobs could be created if the recovery package includes a $4.3 billion boost for Head Start, according to the National Head Start Association.
- The National Institute for Early Education Research argues that to help young children, the new administration and Congress will have to make significant changes to reverse cuts in child care subsidies and boost quality standards for child care.
- Parents are trying to make do with less; often, pulling their kids out of quality child care because of reduced income. NACCRRA offers a recovery plan to maintain quality child care and the child care workforce during these tough times.
- Several groups are supporting efforts to ensure that the recovery package includes money for the Social Services Block Grant, Medicaid, the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act, and the Title IV-E program.
- The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities reports that the number of homeless families with children is climbing — but, effective homelessness prevention strategies would cost just one-half of one percent of the overall package.
- The Urban Institute says Congress will need to consider increasing program funds and relaxing work-participation requirements if unemployment continues to rise.