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FY23 Omnibus Makes Progress but Misses Opportunities for Children and Young People

| The Forum for Youth Investment

Washington, DC, January 2023  – With 36 governors having taken the oath of office at the start of this year, states are looking anew at the fiscal year (FY) 2023 omnibus passed in December, including its impact on youth. The omnibus included $1.7 trillion in total spending—an increase of more than 10 percent in non-discretionary defense spending from FY 2022—and includes important provisions for children and youth, especially as Covid relief provisions sunset and one-time funding is spent.

Here are five highlights affecting the systems that work together to meet young people’s needs.

1. Boosts Funding for Afterschool and Summer Learning Programs

Congress increased funding for 21st Century Community Learning Centers by $40 million to a total of $1.239 billion. Serving around 1.6 million students annually, this program supports community learning centers to provide academic enrichment opportunities during non-school hours, particularly for students who attend high-poverty and low-performing schools. Congress also provided a critical five percent increase to Title I funding for Local Education Agencies, a foundational resource for schools serving low-income communities including through afterschool and summer learning.

2. Supports Career and Technical Education

The Perkins V Career and Technical Education (CTE) program received $2.2 billion, an increase of $100 million. CTE courses and programs are designed to prepare students for careers in current or emerging professions—including key areas like science, technology, engineering, and medicine (STEM)—and can partner with community-based programs like afterschool.

3. Invests Modestly in Youth Workforce Programs

Youth workforce programs received increased investments across the board. Registered apprenticeships received an 18 percent increase to $285 million while Reentry Employment Opportunities serving justice-involved youth and young adults increased by 11 percent to $115 million.

Slight bumps went to the larger formula programs, including an increase of less than two percent for the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act Youth ($948 million) and Adult ($885 million) programs. Perkins V Basic State Grants supporting career and technical education rose nearly four percent to $1.43 billion.

Reporting language emphasized targeted outreach and services to geographically diverse communities, including rural communities and $20 million to support national out-of-school time organizations to expand job training.

4. Closes Gaps in Health Coverage for Children and Youth

Starting one year from enactment, the Omnibus requires all states to provide at least 12 months of coverage for children in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), regardless of a change in circumstances. This change will reduce gaps in coverage that children experience, including for mental and behavioral health needs. However, children and families may still be impacted as the continuous Medicaid coverage required during the pandemic begins to unwind this year.

5. Continued Support for Mentoring for Youth Justice

Both Title II State Formula Grants and the Title V Delinquency Prevention Program of the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA) received funding increases, positioning states and localities to strengthen their work for youth justice. $107 million—more than 25 percent of the total $400 million appropriation—is dedicated to youth mentoring grants, a $5 million increase over FY 2022.

However, as some states have moved to close youth prisons, the final bill did not include a proposed $100 million for such efforts.

Bonus: An Early Step toward a Potential Federal Children’s Cabinet? 

With a price tag of $3 million, the Omnibus establishes a new Children’s Interagency Coordinating Council in the Office of the Secretary of Health and Human Services. The Council will foster greater coordination and transparency on child policy across the array of services and supports that agencies offer, including a report to Congress analyzing federal policies that have affected child poverty. Established in the explanatory text accompanying the bill, the council may be an early step toward the children’s cabinet model used by states and localities across the country to help young people thrive.

If we want America to have strong youth, we need strong systems that support their development. Congress has taken important but piecemeal steps toward providing the support that youth and families need—and that states will be striving to deliver across their communities.


The Forum for Youth Investment is a co-facilitator of the national Reconnecting Youth Campaign.

When sharing this content, please attribute to the Forum for Youth Investment, a nonprofit “action tank” that works to ensure all young people have what they need to thrive in education, work, and life.  
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