APA Expresses Concern Over Potential Cuts to Critical Programs

The association joined dozens of other national- and state-level organizations in signing on to an April 23 letter opposing Congressional actions to cut funding for the Social Services Block Grant program.

April 23, 2012

Dear Member of Congress:

We are a coalition of diverse groups opposed to the recent actions of the House Ways and Means Committee to find federal budget savings through the elimination of the Social Services Block Grant (SSBG). The actions taken on Wednesday, April 18, 2012, by the Ways and Means Committee, through budget reconciliation, will hurt some of this nation's most vulnerable families and children.

SSBG is a major funder for state and local child abuse prevention services, child protective services (CPS) and it supplements services for adoptions and for services to infants, children and youth in foster care. In some states, it is a significant source of local funding for adult protective services.

During the 1996 welfare reform debate, the Congress and Governors agreed to reduce SSBG funding to $2.38 billion temporarily and return it to its former level of $2.8 billion in 2003. The reductions were agreed to at a time when members of both parties and houses were looking for revenue to balance the federal budget. SSBG contributed to that deficit reduction. It was to be restored when the fiscal condition improved. Instead, Congress reduced SSBG further to $1.7 billion to help pay for a 1998 transportation bill in lieu of other revenue sources. During this period, deficits not only declined but were eliminated. Although this cut was intended to be temporary, SSBG was never restored. We are disappointed that some would propose to once again use SSBG for deficit reduction—despite the fact that SSBG funding contributed not a dollar to current deficits.

The champions of SSBG have included the leadership from both parties, including the bipartisan leadership of both the House Ways and Means Committee and the Senate Finance Committee. We hope these champions will remain strong.

SSBG helps to fill the numerous state budget gaps in areas as diverse as senior services, mental health services, and services to people with disabilities. While we focus on SSBG's vital importance to child abuse prevention and child welfare services, it also supports services for those adults in jeopardy of entering a nursing home or institution, it supports other low-income individuals and families including adults who have been abused; children in need of child care; and youth in need of transitional services.

Imposing these cuts to child abuse prevention funding and child welfare services at a time when state and local budgets are under severe pressure and families need more help, will create a human deficit while failing to deal with the current financial one.

The undersigned organizations ask you to reject this proposed elimination of SSBG.

Sincerely,

Alliance for Children and Families
Alliance for Children's Rights
American Academy of Pediatrics
American Association on Health and Disability
American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME)
American Group Psychotherapy Association
American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children
American Psychological Association
Ampersand Families, MN
Association for Ambulatory Behavioral Healthcare
Association of University Centers on Disabilities
Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law
Bill Wilson Center, CA
Black Administrators in Child Welfare
Buncombe County, North Carolina
California Youth Connections
Children's Advocacy Institute
Children's Aid Society
Children and Families First, DE
Children and Families Futures
Children's Home Society of America
Children's Home Society of North Carolina
Children's Rights Project, CA
Child Welfare League of America
CLASP
Clinical Social Workers Association
Coalition on Human Needs
Connecticut Association of Foster and Adoptive Parents
Council of Family and Child Caring Agencies, NY
County Welfare Directors Association of California
Dave Thomas Foundation
Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance
Every Child Matters
Family Service Center of South Carolina
First Focus Campaign for Children
Foster Care to Success Foundation
Foster Family-Based Treatment Association
Great Circle, MO
John Burton Foundation
Larry Brown Associates
Lutheran Services in America
Mental Health America
Minnesota Association of County Social Service Administrators
Mississippi Children's Home Services
Missouri Coalition of Children's Agencies
National Alliance of Children's Trust and Prevention Funds
National Alliance to End Homelessness
National Association for Children's Behavioral Health
National Association of County Human Services Administrators
National Center for Housing and Child Welfare
National Crittenton Foundation
National Federation of Families for Children's Mental Health
National Foster Parent Association
National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth
National Respite Coalition
New York Council on Adoptable Children
Nebraska Children's Home Society
Nebraska Families Collaborative
North American Council on Adoptable Children
NYSCCC Support, Information and Advocacy for Foster & Adoptive Families
Oklahoma Therapeutic Foster Care Association
Ohio Job and Family Services Directors' Association
Parents Anonymous
Prevent Child Abuse America
Prevent Child Abuse Indiana
Public Children Services Association of Ohio
School Social Work Association of America
Stop It Now
Three Rivers Adoption Council, PA
The Villages of Indiana
Voice for Adoption