This brief was led by First Focus with members of the Children’s Budget Coalition to summarize some of the vast and urgent needs of children and families as the many programs and services upon which they rely for support are facing harmful funding cuts or even elimination as Congress makes critical spending decisions.

America’s children are in crisis. No child deserves to grow up in poverty or suffering avoidable trauma and hazardous exposures; rather every child should have safe and healthy environments to play, learn, live, and thrive. Our children are at a crossroads. Over the past three years, the global pandemic and its economic fallout negatively affected every aspect of children’s lives, and the full extent of the consequences for them will not be known for years. Certainly, poverty, hunger, homelessness, child health services, education, the mental and environmental health crises, and other issues faced by children were rising pre-pandemic concerns, but today are at epidemic proportions, emergencies in and of themselves, including profound learning losses. We urge congressional leaders to prioritize children and invest in their lives as FY2023 supplemental spending and FY2024 annual appropriations decisions are made.