Part of the Solution

Every year First Focus, a bipartisan children and families advocacy organization and partner of America's Promise, releases a report detailing the 180 federal programs that help children and how much funding each program receives. The book is then released at the Children’s Budget Summit. This year, Children’s Budget 2012 was released at the Children’s Budget Summit in the Capitol Visitors Center.

Before interning at First Focus, I would have guessed that children receive around 25 percent of the federal budget. The truth is they receive less than 8 percent. To be fair, 8 percent of the federal budget is close to $276 billion. But that amount leaves many kids’ programs underfunded or without any funding at all.

What I found at the Children’s Budget Summit, is that there is some good news. Rep. Rosa DeLauro was one of the speakers at the Children’s Budget Summit. Her passion for kids’ issues was inspiring. Many staffers and interns from other House and Senate offices turned out for the event and took copies of Children’s Budget 2012 back with them.

I do not know anyone who wants kids to be living in poverty or without access to good education. I think that the problem is that people do not often associate children with federal policy. But there are many federal programs that can have a huge positive impact on kids’ lives. Another part of the problem is that people believe, as I did, that children already get a significant share of the budget, which is not the case.

Making children a priority in the budget is only part of the solution to the issues that kids face. But it is an important part and getting the conversation in Washington to focus on kids starts with publications such as Children’s Budget 2012 and events such as the Children’s Budget Summit that give people a snapshot of what kids are really getting from the federal government.