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Media Contact: Anna Davis, Health Policy Director 410-547-9200 x 3032

Some Cuts Never Heal
The President’s Budget Proposals Threaten the Well-Being of Maryland’s Children

Baltimore, Maryland:—On Tuesday, the President released his blueprint for the federal budget. The President’s proposals, if enacted, will harm Maryland’s future. It will mean that many more of Maryland’s children will lack medical care, go hungry and struggle in school, according to Advocates for Children and Youth. The Trump administration proposals would slash commitments to children instead of recommending new and sustained investments in their health, nutrition, and education.

“The cuts to Medicaid, SNAP, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) will have potentially devastating and long-term effects on the health of Maryland’s children,” said Anna Davis, health policy director at Advocates for Children and Youth.

The budget proposes slashing Medicaid funding by $627 billion and provides for fundamental changes in the Medicaid program structure by having states choose between a per capita cap or block grant. These changes place access to health insurance and medical care in jeopardy for the nearly 675,000 Maryland children—30 percent of kids in the state—insured through Medicaid/CHIP. The budget assumes these cuts would be in addition to the $880 billion in cuts from Medicaid in the recently passed House bill that repeals the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Children who have health insurance through Medicaid do better than children in similar families that don’t have it. For instance, insured children are healthier, miss less school, are more likely to finish high school, attend and graduate from college, are healthier as adults, and earn more as adults.

The President’s proposal, which would cut funding for the SNAP program—formerly food stamps—by about a quarter, puts children at risk of going hungry, becoming sick as well as struggling in school. One of the changes the proposal includes is requiring States to pay some of the cost of SNAP benefits; it would let states reduce their costs (and federal government costs) by giving states the option of changing eligibility provisions so that fewer kids will receive SNAP and lowering SNAP benefits. In an average month in 2015, 322,000 children in Maryland, or 1 in 4, received SNAP benefits. Children whose families benefit from SNAP are more likely to be in good health, develop normally for their age, avoid hospitalization, and do better in school than children in similar families without SNAP.

The President’s budget also would prepare fewer children for school, eliminate programs that help them do better in school and make it harder for them to go to college.

With only level funding provided for by the Child Care and Development Block Grant, 2,936 children in Maryland will likely lose their child care, a decrease of 5,500 kids since 2006. Nationwide, fewer than one in six eligible children receive child care through the CCDBG. The failure to invest in quality child care is a missed opportunity to support critical early childhood education experiences that are needed for healthy development.

The President’s budget would also eliminate after-school programs for the 15,546 kids who participate in programs supported by the U.S. Department of Education’s 21st Century Community Learning Centers Initiative. And it would make it even harder for the middle class and low-income youth to go to college because it reduces funding for work-study by two-thirds. In Maryland, 7,866 youth receive federal work-study funding. The proposed budget cuts would cut 4,822 kids from the program.

Also, the budget proposes to deny the Child Tax Credit to working families unless they have social security numbers. Nationwide, over 2 million poor working families who pay their taxes would be barred from collecting the Child Tax Credit to cover basic expenses for raising children, even though the children in immigrant families are often American citizens.

Finally, these budget proposals would cut funds that Maryland relies on, such as highway maintenance and funds for transportation projects. “This will present state policymakers with tough choices,” Davis notes. “When policymakers try to compensate for the reduced funding in some programs, we could see significant reductions in state funds for children and families.”

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Advocates for Children and Youth improves the lives and experiences of Maryland’s children through policy change and program improvement. We work with government agencies and elected officials to continuously improve each child’s present and future.