President’s Proposed Budget Cuts Puts Kids at Risk around the World

The budget, if enacted, would slash funding for international assistance programs by roughly one-third

Media Contact: Allie Wright, [email protected], (202) 794-1823

Washington, D.C. (February 12, 2018) – Save the Children and Save the Children Action Network (SCAN) deplore the president’s proposed massive budget cuts to international development, diplomatic and humanitarian assistance – roughly 30 percent – that will have disastrous impacts on the health, education, and safety of mothers and children abroad. Cuts to these programs could mean more hungry children, fewer children receiving quality learning and education, more children at risk in fragile and conflict-affected states, and fewer opportunities for empowering women and girls.

“These cuts would be catastrophic for millions of families in developing countries and could not come at a worse time,” said Carolyn Miles, president and CEO of Save the Children. “This budget does not respond to the needs and realities we see on the ground – especially for the most vulnerable children – and threatens America’s ability to support countries on the path to self-reliance and prosperity. The international affairs budget must keep pace with the growing need for American leadership and assistance.”  

In the budget request, USAID presents a plan to make aid more effective and impactful. However, the proposed budget does not provide USAID the staffing, resources and authorities necessary to be successful in carrying out this promising reform agenda. Furthermore, by conflating USAID’s mission with U.S. counterterrorism efforts, the proposal risks politicizing humanitarian and development assistance, undermining the agency’s primary role as the leading development voice within the U.S. government.

“U.S. funding for maternal and child health has saved millions of lives by helping reduce the number of child deaths by more than one-half over the last two decades,” said Kris Perry, president of SCAN. “These cuts greatly reduce vital resources that save the lives of mothers and children suffering from illnesses like malaria, malnutrition and pneumonia.”

Several of the proposed budget cuts target programs that are critical to helping the most vulnerable children and families around the world. Some examples include the following proposed cuts relative to fiscal year 2017 final enacted levels:

  • At least a 36 percent cut to International Basic Education
  • 24 percent cut to Maternal and Child Health
  • 18 percent cut to International Disaster Assistance and Migration & Refugee Assistance
  • 49 percent cut to agriculture assistance, previously called Feed the Future

The proposed budget includes the elimination of non-emergency programming under the Food for Peace Title II program. Emergency and non-emergency programs are both critical to addressing food insecurity. Non-emergency Food for Peace programs help communities build resilience through agricultural productivity and income generation so that farmers can be self-sufficient. These cuts will significantly hurt communities trying to rebuild from natural disasters, such as the Food for Peace program in the Philippines.    

Additionally, the proposed budget eliminates the McGovern-Dole International Food for Education program, which supports education, child development and food security in low-income countries. Eliminating this program denies three million children, nearly half of whom are girls, access to nutrition during the school day, which affects school attendance and learning.

“We appreciate Congressional leadership over the past year in pushing back against disproportionate cuts to programs that impact children around the world,” said Perry. “We look forward to working with Congress again this year to ensure that such funding cuts do not become reality.”


Save the Children gives children in the United States and around the world a healthy start, the opportunity to learn and protection from harm. We invest in childhood — every day, in times of crisis and for our future. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

Save the Children Action Network is the political voice for kids. We believe that every child deserves the best start in life. That’s why we’re building bipartisan will and voter support to make sure every child in the U.S. has access to high-quality early learning and that no mother or child around the globe dies from a preventable disease or illness. By investing in kids and holding leaders accountable, we are helping kids from birth to age five survive and thrive. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.