Washington — Proposed federal budget cuts would be a "massive assault on the needliest families and children," charged the Children's Defense Fund in launching an attack on the Republican budget plan.
Monitor correspondent Julia Malone writes that poor children would have fewer meals at Head Start and day-care programs, less federal money for medical care, and fewer educational programs earmarked for their needs, according to Marian Wright Edelman, president of the Defense Fund. Her group released a response Feb. 17 to cuts proposed by Budget Director David Stockman.
"We've overplayed fraud and abuse" in food stamps, she told reporters, adding that the program has already been cut to the bare bones. "The people left on food stamps are the needliest," she said. "You're talking about children and single mothers." A food stamp program proposal by Sen. Jesse Helms (R) of North Carolina would take $350 in food stamp benefits from every mother and child in the program, she said.
The children's legal-defense fund, which plans a major lobbying effort on Capitol Hill, called for cutting back subsidies for timber companies and for reducing the Army Corps of Engineers instead of cutting back key social welfare programs. Mrs. Edelman conceded that some cuts are needed, but she called on President Reagan to preserve a major congressional reform made in 1980, aimed at taking children out of foster care and put them in permanent hom es.