America’s Greatness Rests on Its Children: Federal Budget Must Reflect Our Values

The foundation for America’s greatness is our children. Investment in children’s health, nutrition, education and family stability are moral imperatives and smart public policy. President Trump’s budget, ironically titled A New Foundation for American Greatness, ignores these fundamental values, and touts the fatuous notion that removing health care, nutritional assistance, education aid and basic support from poor children and their families can make America a better place.

For over 42 years, Juvenile Law Center has advocated for youth in foster care — those in the system and those aging out — and for youth in the justice system. Settled research has proven that keeping children out of these systems leads to better outcomes for children, families and communities. Strong families are the key to childhood success; healthy childhoods lead to strong futures. A little support goes a long way toward ensuring that all children can live up to their full potential.

Who doesn’t want our children to become healthy and productive adults? Supporting vulnerable families as well as youth aging out of foster care through Medicaid expansion leads to healthier children who do better in school and are prepared for careers. Yet the proposed budget cuts $610 billion from Medicaid — slicing a proven benefit. Nutritional assistance has been a basic right, built on the belief that no child should go to school hungry or to bed without a meal. Yet the Trump budget ignores this value and completely eliminates the assistance. We all want our children to be safe and warm, but the Trump budget proposal provides no funding for heating assistance to poor families. A college education is the key to a bright future; how often have we lamented the educational achievements of America’s youth as compared to peer nations? Yet the Trump budget ends college loans for poor students.

Beyond the human costs of these proposals, Trump’s proposed cuts to these critical programs will lead to greater expense in the child welfare and justice systems. As more families are financially stressed through cutbacks in essential aid and services, their children will become more vulnerable to placement outside the home and involvement with public systems. We have learned from decades of research and experience that children do better when they can grow up safely with their families, not in state care.

As Nelson Mandela said, “There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children.” Stand with Juvenile Law Center to fight for the rights of our country’s most vulnerable children. We will work tirelessly to ensure that their voices are heard in the budget process — we will work tirelessly to ensure that America’s soul reflects the greatness to which we aspire. Please support us TODAY as we work for smart budget policies that protect the foundation of our greatness: our children.