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Dec/Jan 2010Vol. 10, No. 10Federal Spending on Children's Programs

Children's Budget 2009, a report from First Focus, provides information about more than 180 children's programs funded by the Federal Government. The report shows that while Federal spending on children increased by about 9.2 percent between 2005 and 2009, overall Federal spending increased at a greater rate, resulting in children's programs receiving a smaller portion of the Federal budget. Key findings include:

  • For the past 5 years, less than one nickel out of every new, real nondefense dollar spent by the Federal Government has gone to children and children's programs.
  • Spending on children's issues makes up less than 10 percent of the entire nondefense budget.
  • The overall share of Federal, nondefense spending going to children's programs dropped by 12 percent over the past 5 years.
  • Real discretionary spending on children has declined by 1 percent since 2005, while at the same time all other nondefense discretionary spending has increased by 4 percent.

The report breaks down Federal spending on programs in child welfare, education, health, housing, and more and includes an analysis of the $144 billion made available to children's programs through the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA), a $787 billion package to stimulate the economy.

Children's Budget 2009 is available on the First Focus website: (12.21 MB)