Here’s What We Know So Far About Mayor Bowser’s FY23 Budget Proposal

March 25, 2022
Blog Post

 

Last week, Mayor Bowser released her proposed FY23 budget. This year’s budget rollout has been rocky, in part because of an embarrassing mistake by the Chief Financial Officer, and some notable errors, which only stresses the need for greater transparency and oversight. An essential, but often overlooked part of the budget process.

Our team is continuing to work on an in-depth analysis of the proposed budget so we can highlight where it makes progress, as well as where it misses the mark. Based on the critical needs we all advocated for this year, here’s what we know, so far.

What we asked for                                                                                                         

Eviction Prevention Bowser’s Budget
Provide rental assistance for families with children at risk of eviction YES

Family Strengthening and Home Visiting Bowser’s Budget
Protect multi-year funding for home visiting programs YES
Additional $439,500 for inflation and workforce supports NO

 

Early Childhood and Birth-to-Three Budget’s Budget
Protect local investments in child care assistance (subsidy) YES
Protect multi-year funding for the early educator equitable compensation pay equity fund YES
Protect local investments in Healthy Futures YES
Additional $700,000 for Healthy Futures expansion NO
Protect local investments in HealthySteps YES
Additional $300,000 for HealthySteps expansion NO

 

Expanded Learning/Out-of-School Time Bowser’s Budget
Protect local investments in LEARN24 YES
Replace, at least, $2,000,000 of federal relief funds with local revenue YES

 

Youth Economic Justice and Housing Bowser’s Budget
Protect and increase youth homelessness systems investments YES
Additional $1,000,000 for workforce development programming NO
Additional $558,000 for behavioral health services NO

 

Health and Safety Bowser’s Budget
Protect local investments in public health insurance programs:
  • Move DC Health Care Alliance to annual recertification
YES
  • DC Healthy Families
YES
  • Immigrant Children’s Health Program
UNCLEAR
  • Medicaid
YES
Protect local investments in family nutrition programs:
  • SNAP
UNCLEAR
  • WIC
UNCLEAR

 

We thank Mayor Bowser and her administration for listening to youth, families, educators, and Black and brown communities by allocating and protecting the critical investments we collectively advocated for, although there is still more of her budget to review. 

Based on the information we have right now, we call on the DC Council to:

  1. Increase funding for CFSA and DC Health home visiting programs to reflect their important work

We strongly support a 15% increase to existing home visiting grants at CFSA and DC Health–totaling about $439,500–to adjust for inflation since 2019, and to enable programs to adapt to the increased demands on their workforce and resources to support families during this third year of the pandemic.

  1. Allocate at Least $700,000 to Expand Behavioral Health Supports in Child Care Development Settings

Increasing funding for the Healthy Futures program by at least $700,000 will enable the Department of Behavioral Health to make much needed updates to the program’s infrastructure, hire personnel, and increase the program’s capacity to expand by 25 to 35 additional child development facilities next fiscal year.

  1. Allocate at least $300,000 to expand the District’s HealthySteps Program

Increasing public investments in the District’s HealthySteps program by at least $300,000 (recurring) in the FY 2023 budget will fund an additional HealthySteps site and further the Birth-to-Three for All DC expansion of the family health support program, effectively deepening our investments in communities where we know enhanced pediatric primary care services are needed the most.

  1. Allocate $1,000,000 for workforce development programming for youth experiencing homelessness

If our youth are going to retain stable housing and successfully exit our homelessness system, they need quality jobs with strong earning potential. Yet, at present, nearly 70% of the District’s homeless youth report having no cash income (Youth Count 2019), meaning sustained independence is entirely out of reach. While there are programs that can help our youth develop critical soft skills and gain basic credentials, there is a lack of job search, job match, and job retention support available. Services based at the Department of Employment Services designed for adults are not a perfect fit for homeless youth. A targeted investment that helps our youth progress from soft skills development to credential training to paid living wage employment would fill a major gap in our system, and disrupt the pipeline from youth to chronic adult homelessness.

  1. Allocate at least $558,000 for the Department of Human Services to create a behavioral health team

A lack of accessible, youth-friendly, and culturally competent mental health services is a major barrier to long-term stability for our youth. After two years of research, we propose the development of a mobile behavioral health team. Staffed by three full-time and one part-time clinicians and a full-time supervising psychiatrist (at minimum), this unit would rotate between youth homelessness services programs to provide assessments, counseling and therapy, and medication management on a weekly basis. If properly aligned with the Department of Behavioral Health Services, these behavioral health services will facilitate pathways into DBH-funded community services that would then serve our youth long term. We have to meet our youth where they are, and in this case, that means literally bringing behavioral health clinical services to where our young people physically congregate. This investment has the potential to address youth trauma, substance abuse treatment, medication management, and long-term mental health supports, all of which will decrease the likelihood of sustained or future homelessness.

  1. Demand the executive provide full transparency in how the District’s taxpayer dollars are spent.