Last month the President signed into law the 2018 federal omnibus appropriations bill. The bill authorizes smaller spending bills into one larger bill that requires one set of votes in each house. The $1.3 trillion law covers government spending on everything from science, arts, and military to child nutrition programs, health and more. 

So how does this budget affect kids across the country? After months of negotiations and various rhetoric from the President and both sides of the aisle, there are some clear big wins for kids. Healthi Kids applauds Congress for working together to put kids first, and while time will tell what the local impact will be, we’ve broken down some highlights and what we’ll continue to watch over the coming year. 

Wins for kids’ nutrition programs: 

• School & Summer Meals are secure: Child nutrition programs including school lunch, breakfast and summer meals programs are fully funded as a mandatory program. This means that the 31 million children across the nation, and 86% of students in the Rochester City School District, will continue to receive nutritious and healthy meals at school every day. 
• Funding for facilities modernization: School nutrition directors have an increase of $5 million to a total of $30 million for the year for kitchen equipment grants and loans. This would allow for continued support for facilities to purchase freezers, update their kitchens, and support hybrid renovations to create higher quality nutritious meals for kids.

Wins for kids’ programming: 

• Out of school time programs saved: Despite rhetoric that 21st Century Learning Center programs would be eliminated, the budget secures $1.2 billion for the program. The 21st Century Learning Center Program offers academic enrichment and youth development, particularly for youth at low-performing or high poverty schools through out of school time programs. Since 2003, the program funds have brought $14.6 million to Rochester for out of school time programs.
• More opportunities for neighborhoods: The Community development Block Grant program funding nearly doubled from $2.8 to $5.2 billion. This is a huge win for our neighborhoods and city. In 2017, Rochester received almost $7.5 million through this program. Traditionally, the block grant funding has been used across the city for a variety of community projects (such as sidewalk improvement, streetscapes, housing, vacant property demolition) and programs (Youth Voice One Vision, Summer of Opportunity, job training). 

Wins for education:

• Large boost for education: Overall, the Department of Education’s budget got a boost with an additional $3.9 billion over current enacted levels. That’s an increase of almost 6 percent from previous levels. This is great news for kids as the department provides federal assistance to states and will result in increased support for their overall academic achievement and success. 
• Professional development stays the same: Despite rhetoric of the elimination of Title II funds in the Every Student Succeeds Act, funding remained flat at roughly $2.1 billion. Title II funds support critical professional development for educators and school staff to ensure they have the resources they require to meet the needs of students. 
• Funding for family engagement: The budget enhances local school districts ability to support transformative family engagement. The budget includes $10 million in funding for the creation of a Statewide Family Engagement Centers program that will provide states with capacity and support to implement and enhance family engagement initiatives. The budget also includes an additional $300 million of Title I funds, which provide aid to low income districts. This funding stream includes parental involvement provisions for school district and building staff which mandates joint decision making with families to improve children’s overall academic success. In 2017, the Rochester City School District received an estimated $24.5 million through Title I funding streams.

Wins for kids’ behavioral health: 

• Funding to improve behavioral health workforce: The budget provides $654.7 million for the Health Resources and Services Administration programs. This includes programs that support the training and recruitment of health professionals to high need areas. The increase in funds have supported a $27 million increase to  Mental and Behavioral Health Education and Training which will continue to recruit and train behavioral health professionals. 
• Double the funds for prevention & enrichment in schools: Support for the Student Support and Academic Enrichment Block Grants (Title IV A) more than doubled from last year’s allocation to $1.1 billion. This is great news for prevention programs in schools. The funding will allow for local school districts to implement comprehensive health programming such as school based mental health partnerships, nutrition education & physical activity, drug violence and prevention, school safety programs and more; provide enrichment programs with STEM, arts & civics; and support technology use in schools.
• Increases to mental health programs for kids: The budget also provides additional dollars to improve mental health outcomes for kids. The Children’s Mental Health Service Initiative (CMHSI) through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) received an increase of $5.947 million. More importantly to note, 10 percent of the program’s $125M budget is set aside specifically for early intervention services for youth. The program supports the development of comprehensive systems of care that promote recovery and build resiliency for kids and adolescents with serious emotional disorders.
• New programs to improve behavioral health: The budget also created two new programs under the SAMHSA Center for Mental Health Services. This includes $5 million for the screening and treatment of maternal depression; and $5 million for an Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Promotion, Intervention and Treatment program. 

Wins for our youngest kids: 

• Kids continue to receive a healthy start: Funding for the national Head Start program saw a $610 million increase. Head Start is a child development program that provides comprehensive health, nutrition and education services to children and their families. The program is delivered in over 1700 agencies in local communities across the country. In 2017, 50,432 children were enrolled in Head Start programs in New York State.
• Increases to child care dollars: The Child Care Development Block grant would see a $2.3 billion increase bringing their total program budget to $5.2 billion. This increase will allow for states to expand access to child care assistance, and will improve the health, safety and quality of child care for families. In 2017, New York State received $327.6 million from the federal government through this funding stream.
• Increases for early intervention and treatment: The budget allocates $5 million for infant and early childhood mental health promotion, intervention and treatment. The money will help pay for early intervention and treatment of young children at the risk of developing a mental health through social and behavioral services, multigenerational therapy, and mental health consultations with early care and education staff. 
• Funding for systems integration for children & families: The budget provides a $10 million increase to the Maternal and Child Health Service block grant totaling $651.7 million. This flexible fund supports projects/programs that integrate ongoing care for children and their families, including: supporting prenatal health services, newborn screening, home visitation, nutrition counseling, care coordination for new mothers, and more. In 2016, New York State received $38.9 million to support these programs. 

Things Healthi Kids continues to watch: 

• Slight decrease to WIC. The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) received a slight decrease from 2017 levels (from 5.5 billion in FY 2017 to 5.35 billion in FY 2018). WIC provides federal assistance for supplemental food, health care and nutrition education for mothers and infants up to the age of five. In 2018, the USDA projects 439,470 women and children from New York State will participate in the program each month. It is yet to be seen how these cuts will or will not affect us locally, and if we will see additional cuts in next year’s budget bill. Healthi Kids will continue to monitor its progression. 
• SNAP funding remains steady. Funding in the omnibus bill for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) remains the same. SNAP provides nutrition assistance to 2.83 million people across New York State; and 22,890 people in Monroe County each month. The real test for SNAP will come in the farm bill which is currently up for reauthorization by Congress. Healthi Kids will continue to watch the farm bill to see if critical funding for nutrition assistance receives any additional cuts.
• Funding for transportation. The TIGER grant program budget tripled to $1.5 billion. The TIGER program awards grants for multimodal transportation projects across the country. The program particularly focuses on projects that emphasize improved access to transportation. In the past, the TIGER program has awarded funding for complete streets projects that support improved cycling and pedestrian infrastructure in cities. Locally, the inner loop project received initial funds from the program. Healthi Kids continues to see if active transportation projects get a boost with these additional funds.


1)  New York State Department of Education (2017). Rochester City School District – School Report Card data 2016-17. New York State Department of Education. Retrieved Online 3/28/18:  

2) Greater Rochester After School Alliance (2017). Expand out of school time opportunities in Rochester. Greater Rochester After School Alliance Advocacy Committee. 

3) U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (2018). HUD Awards and Allocations: New York, Rochester, New York, CDBG: Community Development Block Grant Program. HUD Exchange. Retrieved Online 3/28/18: 

4) National Parent Teacher Association (2018). Statewide Family Engagement Centers: PTA and the Every Student Succeeds Act. National Parent Teacher Association. Retrieved Online 3/28/18: 

5) New York State Department of Education (2018). Allocations for Title I Parts A and D for New York State School Districts, Charter Schools and Special Act School Districts. New York State Department of Education Office of Accountability. Retrieved online 3/28/18

6) U.S. Department of Education (2018). Student Support and Academic Enrichment Program. U.S. Department of Education Office of Safe and Healthy Students. Retrieved Online 3/27/18: 

7) U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (2018). Fiscal Year 2018: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Justification of Estimates for Appropriations Committees. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Retrieved online 3/27/18:  

8) U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (2018). Head Start Program Facts: Fiscal Year 2017. Head Start: Early Childhood Learning & Knowledge Center, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Retrieved online  3/27/2018: 

9) Center for Law and Social Policy and National Women’s Law Center (2017, June). Implementing the Child Care and Development Block Grant Reauthorization Guide for States.  Center for Law and Social Policy. Retrieved online: 3/27/18: 

10) U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (2017, June). FY 2017 CCDF Allocations. Office of Child Care an Office of the Administration for Children & Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Retrieved online: 3/27/18: 

11) New York State Department of Health (2017). Maternal and Child Health Services Title V Block Grant: New York FY 2018 Application / FY 2016 Annual Report. New York State Department of Health. Retrieved online: 3/27/18

12) United States Department of Agriculture (2018). Food and Nutrition Service: WIC Program Total Participation Data as of March 9, 2018. United States Department of Agriculture: Food and Nutrition Service. Retrieved online: 3/27/18

13) New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (2017, December). Temporary and Disability Assistance Statistics. Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance. Retrieved online: 3/27/18: 

14) U.S. Department of Transportation (2013). TIGER 2013 Awards. U.S. Department of Transportation. Retrieved Online: 3/27/18: