Budget Priorities

Budget Priorities

DC Action Outlines FY22 Budget Priorities:

We Must Move the District of Columbia Toward Equity for Children, Youth, and Families


In late April, Mayor Bowser will release her administration’s FY21 supplemental and FY22 budgets. In the months to follow, as Mayor Bowser and the DC Council work together to pass a balanced budget, it is vital they keep their commitment to placing racial equity at the center of their decisions.

For years, our policy makers have pursued “color-blind” solutions to address policy failures, and as the data shows, we are still suffering deeply racist outcomes. For example, our efforts to raise family income looks like a success on paper because the average pay for families has increased, but when we break it down by race it’s clear that policy makers have failed to promote shared prosperity for everyone. The gains Black and brown families have seen in their incomes are dwarfed by the wide gap with white families’ incomes. And even those on reasonably stable financial footing are still more likely to experience poor outcomes in health and education. This last point should drive home the inescapable fact that racist policies cut across class. We will be unable to address any kind of inequality, without addressing racism. The effects of COVID exacerbate inequalities and amplifies the District’s fragmented response to serving our residents.

Innovative and equitable investments like universal early education, preventive health care homes, trauma-informed education and community-based services, mental health care, and safer communities resulting from more community social workers and less over-policing are all a part of the solution, and these investments need to be protected and sustained.

When evaluating this and next year’s funding, we urge Mayor Bowser and the DC Council to consider the racial equity implications of each and every one of their funding decisions.



Put More Public Investments in Our Youngest Residents Ages Birth to Three

Research shows that a child’s cognitive, social, and emotional development during their first three years of life makes a significant impact on lifelong health, well-being, and success. Long-standing structural barriers of social and economic discrimination woven into government policies have proved hard for Black and Latinx families to overcome as they seek better outcomes for their children. The Black infants and toddlers in the District who could benefit the most from high-quality child care, health, and education programs are the least likely to have access because of the high cost and low supply. Our collective goal is to build a better-connected, more supportive early childhood system that works for ALL of the District’s families. 

Protect Current Funding

Help Me Grow: $581,000

Home Visiting - Child and Family Services Administration (CFSA): $675,000

Home Visiting - DC Health: $2,600,000

Lactation: $103,000

 

New Investments in FY22

Child Care Subsidy: $60,000,000

Healthy Futures: $675,000

Healthy Steps: $300,000

 

Avoid Any Cuts to Programs Protecting Children and Youth Experiencing Homelessness

Too many young people in the District of Columbia experience homelessness and go to sleep without the safety, stability, and support of a family or a home. And, now the pandemic has further complicated their path to stability.

To promote economic justice in which all young people have a safe and secure place to live, District leaders must hold harmless funding for essential services that protect our children and youth. The District must also make new investments in critical areas identified by young people experiencing homelessness that will prevent their entry into the adult homelessness system, and give them the work and employment skills they need for self-sufficiency. 

Protect Current Funding

Safe shelter and high-quality services for unaccompanied youth: $21,000,000 

Safe family shelter: $107,000,000

 

New Investments in FY22 for Youth Homelessness System

One-time cost analysis of youth homeless services: $75,000

Workforce programming for homeless youth: $574,000

Professional development fund: $70,000

Youth mentoring pilot program: $350,000

Mobile behavioral health team: $558,000

Permanent Supportive Housing set-aside for youth in adult system: $345,000

 

Build On Critical Investments in Health and Nutrition

Children and youth deserve quality and culturally appropriate health care, mental health services, and nutritious food in order to learn, grow, and thrive.

DC Action supports strengthening access to our system of critical health supports such as School-Based Health Services, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Medicaid, DC Healthy Families, the Immigrant Children's Program, and the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Program.

Protect Current Funding

DC Healthy Families

DC Health Care Alliance

Healthy Schools and Healthy Students Amendment Acts

Immigrant Children’s Program

Medicaid

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

Women, Infant, and Children Program (WIC)
 

New Investments in FY22

Medicaid: Infant and postpartum care (1 year after childbirth): $136,000

DC Health Care Alliance: 12 month recertification: $13,808,000

WIC Expansion Act: $125,000

 

DC Action’s Recommended Program Improvements

Medicaid/DC Healthy Families: Continuous eligibility

SNAP: Increase telephone customer service to accommodate phone applications

WIC: Fully implement eWIC
 

Protect and Increase Current Investments in Out-of-School-Time Programs

OST programs are a critical element in stemming and reversing learning loss. Just as important, OST programs support young people in healing from the loss and trauma they and their communities have experienced during the pandemic so they can thrive inside and outside of the classroom.

Strong partnerships between OST programs and schools have been a key component of the District’s education landscape since before the pandemic, and will continue to be as we look to the future.

Protect and Restore Current Funding

Learn24: $18,000,000*

Commission on the Arts and Humanities - Arts Learning: $175,000

Department of Parks and Recreation: $11,000,000

*An additional $4 million for Learn24 would restore funding to FY19 levels, adjusted for inflation and administrative capacity. 

 

Adequately and Equitably Fund Public Schools

DC Action joins partners such as the Children's Law Center, DC Fiscal Policy Institute, the Georgetown Juvenile Justice Initiative, Parents Amplifying Voices in Education (PAVE), and the School Justice Project to double down on funding for school equity.  

New Investments in FY22

Uniform Per Student Funding Formula (UPSFF) base: $106,000,000

Supplemental UPSFF weights for special student populations: $101,000,000


 

Listen to Youth Leaders and Ensure Student Safety

DC Action supports youth leaders in their advocacy efforts to reimagine school safety and student discipline. Students demand that the dollars from the DC Public Schools’ security contract and the Metropolitan Police Department’s School Safety Division be redirected to school-based mental health programs and other initiatives that promote a safe and positive school environment. The planning to redirect funds must be an open, inclusive, and fully transparent process that centers the voices of student and youth leaders. 

Redirect funding from school security contracts: $36,900,000

 

A Full Economic Recovery and Closing Racial Gaps Requires Raising Revenue

To ensure the District’s families recover from the harmful effects of the pandemic and fully close equity gaps, District leaders will need to effectively leverage existing funding and strategically allocate federal relief funds, as well as generate new, recurring revenue. 

We will continue to urge and work with District leaders to find, align, generate, and then activate new revenue to ensure our young people have all they need to grow up safe, resilient, powerful, and heard.