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The Impact of a Federal Government Shutdown Could Significantly Impact Children: Here's How

Government funding was set to run out at the end of the day on Saturday, September 30 but with just hours to spare, Congress avoided it. That’s great news for kids at the moment..but child programs could still be at risk.

If you're wondering where we stand now and what the current situation means for kids, here's a cheat sheet on what it all means. 

  • President Biden signed a temporary funding bill, which Congress rushed to approve, to fund the U.S. government until November 17th
  • Yes, this prevented a federal government shutdown...but it’s a temporary solution 
  • Lawmakers still have to finalize the 2024 budgetwhich means funding for child programs isn’t locked in yet
  • Some want to make big cuts to funding for nutrition support, early learning, humanitarian aid and asylum seeker assistance

Now here’s the kicker: If Congress can’t pass final spending bills by November 17th, the government could still shut down... which would interrupt critical support for kids and families.

Government Shutdown and Head Start: Thousands of kids could lose child care access

A future government shutdown will immediately leave some Head Start programs without federal funds. This leaves access to Head Start and Early Head Start’s critical programming in jeopardy for 10,000 children.

Is WIC Affected by the Government Shutdown?

The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) may see cuts for more than 6 million participants. States would need to stretch existing funds by reducing benefits or creating wait lists – denying benefits to eligible mothers and children. A longer shutdown could mean a complete loss of this important support to families.


International food distribution programs will be delayed

Impacts of a shutdown will be felt by children globally. In Guatemala, the shutdown will delay the distribution of food to schools participating in Save the Children’s LENS school feeding program. This means kids won’t receive school meals and families won’t receive take-home meals. Combined with the ongoing impact of the climate crisis, this will only add to food insecurity.

These impacts will only worsen as the shutdown continues

Congress must act now to fund the government and provide vital services to kids and families.