The federal government once again faces the prospect of a shutdown, as Congress remains at an impasse on federal spending. A lapse in funding could disrupt programs and services families in the US rely on.

Federal spending provides critical investments in the health and well-being of children and adults in the US through programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). It also supports K–12 education, early education programs such as Head Start, and youth training programs to help children reach their full potential. Despite the long-term payoffs, however, spending on children accounts for a relatively small share of the federal budget each year.

Released today, the Urban Institute’s 2023 Kids’ Share report finds that after increasing temporarily during the pandemic, federal investments in children declined in 2022 and will continue to decline over the next decade. As policymakers weigh spending cuts in the latest round of budget negotiations, they should consider both the short- and long-term positive implications of devoting public resources to support children. Investments in children are associated with improved outcomes in health and education, as well as increased probability of employment and higher earnings in adulthood, potentially saving the government money in the long term.

Read the full article about federal investment in children by Cary Lou and Hannah Daly at Urban Institute.