How budget sequestration may affect children, youth, families
From the National Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health
Hearing a lot about budget sequestration? Not sure what it all means, or how it affects children’s mental health? Please see the attached resource which outlines how budget sequestration may affect children, youth, families and the organizations that serve them.
Budget Sequestration: What is It? What Does it Mean For Children’s Mental Health?
Last year, Congress hotly debated the national debt, and ultimately reached a deal and passed legislation (Budget Control Act of 2011, P.L. 112-25) that established caps on discretionary spending over 10 years, resulting in $1 trillion in cuts across defense and non-defense discretionary programs. The law also set up a 12-member bipartisan, bicameral Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, also known as the “super committee”. The super committee was charged with recommending proposals to produce $1.2 trillion in additional federal savings over 10 years. As a result of the failure of the “super committee” to reach agreement on a deficit reduction plan, a budget “sequester” (or sequestration) was triggered to take effect on January 2, 2013.
Sequestration (sē-kwəs-trā-shən) is an enforcement mechanism included in the Budget Control Act that will produce automatic across-the-board cuts to nearly all government programs, including both defense and nondefense discretionary programs. A few discretionary and mandatory programs (e.g. Medicaid, SSI) are exempt. Sequestration is estimated to reduce nondefense discretionary funding by 8-11 percent, unless Congress acts to prevent it from happening.
What You Can Do? Contact your Members of Congress today! Tell them:
- “I am a voter from your district (state) and want you to avoid sequestration and work to find other ways to reduce our deficit.”
- January 2, 2013 is quickly approaching. Urge your area’s Congressional members to stop sequestration and to work together to find other ways to reduce the deficit through a balanced approach.
- “Mental health, substance use and public health programs are important to me and my family.”
- Remind your lawmakers of the importance of mental health, substance use, public health and other vital nondefense discretionary programming– which are not behind the growing deficit but have borne disproportionate cuts.
- “States have already endured deep cuts and our children’s (or my child’s) health is at risk.”
- Stress the deep cuts (a combined $4 billion over past three years) States have already made to mental health budgets, and the need to protect mental health funding from further reductions.
- Share with them the potential impact of sequestration on children’s mental health funding (see below), and other vital programs and services administered by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) benefiting youth and families.
- “I do not want to see the effects of sequestration manifest.”
- 1,300 youth with severe emotional disturbances will lose access to treatment services;
- 500 individuals working in the field will no longer receive specialized mental health training;
- 100 formal organizational coordinated service agreements will be eradicated.
What does this mean for Children’s Mental Health Services?
FY 2012 Enacted Budget: $117,315,000
Proposed FY 2013 Presidential Budget (PB): $88,557,000
Sequestration Budget Reduction at 10%: -$8,855,700
New FY 2013 Total Budget: $79,701,300
The Children’s Mental Health Services Program was funded at $117.6 million in FY 2012. The President’s proposed budget slashes of $28.8 million in funding next year, reducing the program’s FY 2013 budget to $88.6 million. Sequestration will further cut an additional $8.85 million. The combination of these cuts will result in a final FY 2013 budget of $79.7 million—a total budget reduction of 32 percent in the course of a single fiscal year.
In FY 2012, there were a total of 85 active Children’s Mental Health grants. In FY 2013, only 69 grant and contract continuations have been promised to states and territories. Sequestration could eliminate up to an additional 10 grants. In essence, 26 grants will be lost in a single year; leaving only 59 grant awards in FY 2013 compared to 85 in FY 2012. Based on the more than 13,000 children targeted by this program in FY 2011, sequester will cut services to more than 1,300 youth with severe emotional disturbances.
Approximately 4,800 people were trained through these funds in FY 2011; a sequester cut of 10 percent will prevent nearly 500 professionals working with the nation’s most vulnerable children from receiving specialized, evidence-based training in mental health practices. Sequestration also has the potential to eradicate 100 different formal organizational agreements currently in place to coordinate services and reduce costs based on the 1,000 community agreements established in FY 2011.
Source: Mental Health America at http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/go/federal-budget-advocacy