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The Children's Budget Overall

What the Data Show: A Shrinking Children's Budget

The "Children's Budget" encompasses both state agencies whose missions center on young people and state programs in other agencies that exceed $5 million per year in current dollars. Over the past generation, this Budget has fallen from close to 40% of the General Fund to a bit over 30%, a substantial reordering of the state's priorities away from future investment. If we budgeted today as we did a generation ago, Connecticut would invest about $1.5 billion more each year in young people.

Meanwhile, the state's long-term obligations to bondholders and public employees have grown from one sixth to one quarter of the budget--enough to restore the declines in the Children's Budget. The remainder of the budget has changed little on net. Restoring the Children's Budget while making good on our debts is the central challenge facing state budget-makers today.

What the Data Mean

Check out the following Connecticut Voices publications for context on:

And be sure to use the drop-down menus below the graph to explore the impact of these trends on different programs within the Children's Budget.


  • The Children's Budget is the sum of all programs included across all categories, not just those listed in this graph. The programs listed in this graph are select, major spending areas.
  • Medicaid figures are based on the fact that, historically, about 25% of Medicaid funding was spent on children and families. From 2012 on, we estimate that the proportion of Medicaid spent on children and families decreased slightly due to increased enrollment of childless adults under the Affordable Care Act.
  • TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) replaced AFDC (Aid to Families with Dependent Children) starting in FY 1998. TANF/CCDBG is a related childcare program that also began in FY 1998.
  • WIA (Workforce Investment Act) replaced SJTPAA (State Job Training Partnership Act Administration) starting in FY 2001.
  • In FY 2012, all funding for Charter Oak State College, Community Colleges, and the Connecticut State University System moved under the Board of Regents, an umbrella organization created to oversee CT higher education institutions other than University of Connecticut.