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February/March 2002Vol. 3, No. 2President Bush Focuses on Fathers, Foster Youth, in FY03 Budget

President Bush's proposed FY 2003 budget for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) keeps funding about level for most child welfare and adoption-related programs, but seeks additional funding for the Promoting Safe and Stable Families program and for new initiatives aimed at supporting fathers, foster care youth, and children of prisoners.

President Bush has requested an additional $200 million for Safe and Stable Families, which would fully fund the program at its authorized level of $505 million. (In the 2002 budget, the program is funded at $370 million.)

The budget requests an appropriation of $60 million to fund education vouchers for teenagers and young adults aging out of foster care. The budget requests $25 million for grants to support mentoring services for children of prisoners. Both of these programs were authorized as part of the Promoting Safe and Stable Families Amendments of 2001 but did not receive any funding for FY 2002 as the President had requested.

For FY 2003, President Bush proposes $20 million to fund a new Responsible Fatherhood and Healthy Marriages Program. This program would award grants to faith-based and community organizations to help noncustodial fathers become and stay involved with their children.

The budget also requests $10 million to fund grants for maternity group homes. This initiative was proposed by the President in FY 2002 but did not receive an appropriation.

President Bush also proposes an additional $200,000 to fund the 4th National Incidence Study (NIS) of Child Abuse and Neglect. (The 3rd NIS took place in 1996 and was based on data from 1993.) Funding for the NIS is proposed as part of research and demonstration grants funded under the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act. The budget also would eliminate earmarked funds under the research and demonstration grants and make all the funds available for competitive grants.

The voucher program for older foster children builds on the Independent Living Program overseen by the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) within HHS. The proposed budget would fully fund the initiative, which was authorized at $60 million under the recently enacted Safe and Stable Families Amendments of 2001.

If fully funded, at least 12,000 foster children and young adults ages 16 to 21 would receive education vouchers of up to $5,000 each year. President Bush had proposed the vouchers in his FY 2002 budget, but Congress did not appropriate funds for the initiative.

Related Items

Visit the HHS Office of Budget website ( for detailed information and downloadable documents about the proposed FY 2003 HHS budget.

To read HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson's comments on the foster care education initiative, visit the ACF website News Room (