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So with that shot across the bow, Ms. Gall, welcome again to the subcommittee. [Laughter.]
Ms. GALL. Good morning. I am delighted to be here this morning. I have a statement for the record. You have highlighted a number of the program increases requested for fiscal year 1992.
Senator, I am very interested in and pleased with your comments about prevention. We share an interest in that, as is reflected by the increase we are requesting for the Head Start Program, a very important prevention program for our young children and families.
As we take a look at child welfare programs and foster care in particular, the concerns that we have in keeping families together whenever possible rather than removing children from their homes, are reflected in the request for additional funding for preventiontype services to help keep families together whenever we can.
I would be happy to answer any particular questions you have. If you would like me to begin by addressing Head Start questions, I would be happy to do that.
[The statement follows:]
STATEMENT OF MARY SHEILA GALL
Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, I am pleased to have the opportunity to talk to you about the Office of Human Development Services' budget request for fiscal year 1992. The request of $8.84 billion includes: $2.8 billion for the Social Services Block Grant; $3.67 billion for Human Development Services, including programs for children and families, the aging, persons with developmental disabilities, and Native Americans; and $2.37 billion for Payments to States for Foster Care and Adoption Assistance.
The full authorization of $2.8 billion is requested for the Social Services Block Grant to continue support for a variety of social services in each State.
Within the Human Development Services request, strengthening the family is a primary concern. Increases have been requested: to increase preventive and reunification services for children and their families to expand Head Start enrollment, and to support additional positions required to effectively and efficiently administer forty discretionary and formula grant programs. Activities in fiscal year 1992 will also be focused on increasing coordination of child abuse and prevention efforts, improving data collection and dissemination, and gathering additional knowledge about the nature and success of treatment innovations.
To address the growing needs of families who are called upon to deal with increasingly difficult problems, such as substance abuse, a legislative proposal will be submitted which will increase by $90 million the incentive funds available to States for child welfare services. This proposal will also stem the rapid rise of Foster Care administrative costs. The fact that administrative costs are or soon will be higher than maintenance costs in some States is a concern to all of us. Eliminating_reimbursement for administrative costs for children who are candidates for title IV-E foster care, but not in foster care, while increasing support for preventive and reunification services, will result in assuring that Federal dollars are supporting services directly related to preventing inappropriate placements. Foster Care Maintenance Payments on behalf of children will remain an open-ended entitlement.
The request for Head Start of $2.05 billion, an increase of $100 million over the 1991 level, will serve over 633,000 children and their families, an increase of over 29,000 children over the number served in 1991. This request will allow Head Start to serve almost 60 percent of disadvantaged children in the year before they enter school. Research has shown that Head Start makes a difference to both children and parents: children who have had a Head Start experience are healthier, better adjusted and do better upon entering school than their socio-economic peers; and Head Start parents have higher self-esteem and are better able to assume responsibility as the primary educator of their children.
The 1992 budget proposes to maintain or increase 1991 service levels while maintaining 1991 funding levels for the remaining Human Development Services discre
tionary programs. Service levels will be increased to the extent possible, as a result of management and program operation efficiencies.
In order to better serve the most vulnerable elderly, legislation will be proposed to reauthorize The Older Americans Act and to amend the formulas at both State and sub-State levels to focus funds and services to areas with higher proportions of low-income minority elderly.
The request of $88.2 million and 1,090 FTE for Program Direction is an increase of $16.2 million and 115 FTE over 1991 levels. Additional staff will improve management and oversight of Head Start, Foster Care and Child Welfare, and Administration on Aging programs.
For Payments to States for Foster Care and Adoption Assistance, $2.4 billion is requested. This request is a decrease of $217 million from the 1991 appropriated level. This decrease results from reduced requirements to satisfy prior year claims. -A level of $1.98 billion will support maintenance payments on behalf of an estimated 221,000 children in foster care and training costs. Proposed legislation would eliminate reimbursement of administrative expenditures for children who are candidates for title IV-E Foster Care but who are not in foster care. -The request includes $118.48 million to fund the full estimate of allowable prior year claims.
-A level of $70 million is requested for Independent Living activities designed to prepare foster care children 16 or older to move successfully into independent living.
-A level of $201.86 million will support subsidies for families adopting children with special needs. The request would provide assistance for approximately 56,000 adopted children.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. My colleagues and I will be happy to answer any questions you and the Committee may have.
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH OF MARY SHEILA GALL
Position: Assistant Secretary for Human Development Services.
Education: B.A., Rosary Hill College, 1971; Additional Coursework: University of Buffalo, Trinity College (Washington, D.C.), Georgetown University.
Present: Assistant Secretary for Human Development Services.
1979-1980: Director of Research, George Bush for President Campaign. 1977-1979: Director of Special Projects and Casework, Office of U.S. Representative Tom Coleman.
1977: Scheduler, Office of U.S. Representative Jack Kemp.
1971-1977: Director of Regional Office, Office of U.S. Senator James L. Buckley.
Senator HARKIN. That was not my first question, but I want to talk about it because I am very interested in that. I see it as a very important part of prevention.
Ms. GALL. Absolutely.
Senator HARKIN. Right now, how many eligible children are being covered by Head Start?
Ms. GALL. About 60 percent of the roughly 825,000 children we are targeting in the year before they enter the public school sys
Senator HARKIN. Congress never intended Head Start to be zeroed on age 4.
Ms. GALL. I understand that, sir.
Senator HARKIN. I refuse to sit here and accept a narrowing of those parameters and to hear we are getting 66 percent or what
ever it is that you just said. Congress intended Head Start all the way from age 2 on up.
Ms. GALL. I understand that, and you will note that our budget for 1992 reflects an increase for parent-child centers associated with Head Start which address the needs of families with children from zero to 3 years old. We understand the congressional intent as it relates to 4 year olds. In fact, about 25 percent of our children are 3 year olds. We serve some 5 year olds too, although many of those children are in the public school system and enter kindergarten at the age of 5.
We would like to reach as many children as possible for a year before they enter the school system, but there is no restriction whatsoever on serving 3 year olds if grantees feel that that is important. That means we may serve 3 year olds for a 2-year period of time. There are no restrictions as far as we are concerned on that.
It is our concern that we reach children for at least a period of 1 year so that they have that important start before they begin working in the school system and, as importantly, that the parents have that head start, or parent involvement, before they enter into the school system as well.
We believe it is important to serve as many children as possible for 1 year, and that would be our first goal. If you look at the studies that have been done over a period of time on children in Head Start, you see significant gains in a period of 1 year when children are in the Head Start Program. You see some gains in the second year, but the most cost-effective approach of reaching as many eligible children as possible is providing that 1-year experience.
I might just note for the record, since 1989 we have increased funding for Head Start by 66 percent, and we are very proud of that record. We are currently serving approximately 600,000 children per year.
Senator HARKIN. Is that 66 percent since 1989 the request that the administration sent down?
Ms. GALL. Yes; last year we received a $400 million increase for fiscal year 1991, and this, coupled with the $100 million we hope to get for 1992, is a significant increase.
Senator HARKIN. Did you include in your figure the money we put in the supplemental last year?
Ms. GALL. That includes the supplemental.
Senator HARKIN. Let me ask this. You mentioned the parentchild program. That is a mandatory program, and it is required by law.
Ms. GALL. Yes; but we are very enthusiastic about it. We think it is a very good program, and we are very enthusiastic about supporting it.
Senator HARKIN. I hope you are as enthusiastic about supporting Head Start.
Ms. GALL. Oh, indeed.
Senator HARKIN. Let us go back through this again. Of the total children eligible under the Head Start Program as passed by Congress 25 years ago, how many children are being served?
Ms. GALL. There are two ways of looking at those figures, Senator. If you are looking at the total population of children from 3
to 5 years old, then you are talking about 2- to 3-million children. When we are looking at serving as many children as possible for a 1-year period of time rather than 3 year olds for a 2-year period of time, then we are looking at a universe of about 825,000 children in any 1 year.
We expect that about 20 percent of those 825,000 children will either be in other early childhood programs, or they may not wish to participate in the program.
Senator HARKIN. What percentage?
Ms. GALL. About 20 percent of the 825,000. Our statistics show us that those children are either involved in other early childhood programs or their parents wish them not to participate.
Including the funding we have proposed for fiscal year 1992, about 59 percent of the eligible children will be served for 1 year before they enter school.
Senator HARKIN. So that is 59 percent of the eligible children age
Ms. GALL. The year before they enter school, and that usually is age 4.
But, we are not serving 4 year olds exclusively.
Senator HARKIN. You keep focusing on 4 year olds. I am talking about eligible under the law.
Ms. GALL. Eligible under the law would be 3 to 5 year olds, and that is a much larger universe.
Senator HARKIN. That is what I want to find out.
Ms. GALL. Yes, sir.
Senator HARKIN. Can you address yourself to that, please?
Ms. GALL. That is a much larger figure. It represents 2.5-million children 3 to 5 years of age.
Senator HARKIN. Out of that you are serving how many?
Ms. GALL. Approximately 633,000 in 1992.
Senator HARKIN. That comes out to be has anybody got a calculator?
Ms. GALL. That is too much math for me.
Senator HARKIN. I am told by staff it is about 24 or 25 percent. Ms. GALL. It is actually about 33 percent, yes. That is a significant increase over the past few years.
Senator HARKIN. Fine. Let us stick with that; 33 percent of the eligible population.
What is the total budget for Head Start next year?
Ms. GALL. The total budget that we have proposed for fiscal year 1992 is $2.05 billion.
Senator HARKIN. $2 billion, and we are serving 33 percent of those who are eligible under the law?
Ms. GALL. Yes; however, most of the 5 year olds are now in kindergarten, unlike when this law was established.
Senator HARKIN. And there was a $100 million increase in there? Ms. GALL. That is right.
Senator HARKIN. Now do you see where I got my 60 years?
Ms. GALL. I do not think it would take us 60 years to get that far.
Senator HARKIN. Now wait a second. A $100 million increase per year, if we are at $2 billion and we have 33 percent, that means we are going to need $8 billion.
Ms. GALL. Senator, let me quickly add the reason why
Senator HARKIN. Let me just finish how I got to my 60 years. It is going to take $6 billion more. At $100 million per year, that comes out to about 60 years to reach that eligible universe. I just wanted you to know how I came up with that figure.
Ms. GALL. I understand.
Senator HARKIN. I am saying present-day dollars, not counting for inflation.
Ms. GALL. Let me go back and address the issue of the $100 million for just a minute.
We have asked our Head Start grantees to take on a rapid expansion of the program, bringing large numbers of new children into the program. We have proposed $100 million for fiscal year 1992 because we want to be very careful to ensure that our Head Start grantees have time to prepare for the additional numbers of children, the technical assistance, the training, the quality improvements, the additional space and planning, insurance, additional buses, and a whole host of management issues as well. We are trying to pace this year somewhat to give the grantees some breathing space.
It is like a small businessman you ask to double his clientele and his business. How he does that and how he plans and prepares to do that is very important. We want to ensure that grantees maintain the quality of Head Start programs and provide the services to the children and their families.
I would like to add that in terms of defining expansion, Mr. Chairman, we are not talking about new numbers of children only, but are also talking about additional services that we are going to be providing for those families. We have taken a look at Head Start families over the past few years, and we have noticed a significant increase in substance abuse. There are literacy concerns and the relationship to employability.
If we are to help those families help those children, then we need to be addressing some of these issues, and we are going to be providing additional services to address them.
Expansion also means the preparation of those children and the preparation of the public school system to take on those children. We are expanding our efforts with the Department of Education and the superintendents of schools all across the country to help address transition issues so that our children, once they move into the school system, do not lose those important skills that they have developed in the Head Start Program. We also want families to maintain the parental involvement that we feel is so important to the success of the children.
Senator HARKIN. Ms. Gall, let me read for you Public Law 101501, section 105. If you wish, you can refer to a letter dated March 6, 1991, signed by Senator Kennedy, chairman of the Labor and Human Resources Committee and Congressman Ford, chairman of the House committee, Senator Dodd, who is chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Children, Family, Drugs and Alcoholism, and Congressman Martinez on the House side.
Here is what the law states:
The Secretary shall, prior to using such additional funds to serve an increased number of children, allocate such funds in a manner that makes available the funds