Children's Monitor Online
A Public Policy Update from the Child Welfare League of America

   
   
Vol. 19, Issue 16: 4/17/2006   
Headlines

New Child Abuse Data Shows Similar Results

CWLA Joins Home Visiting Coalition, Cosponsors Hill Briefings

What Happens If There Is No Budget Resolution?

CWLA Supports Launch of New Youth Policy Action Center

National Children's Memorial Flag Day

CWLA Legislative Alerts Available to Subscribers

Key Upcoming Dates for Congress



New Child Abuse Data Shows Similar Results

The U.S. Children's Bureau has released the latest child abuse and neglect data from the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System (NCANDS). The 2004 child abuse figures showed little change from the previous year: 3 million investigations and 872,000 child abuse cases substantiated (a slight decrease from 2003); 1,490 children died due to abuse and neglect (an increase of approximately 30 from 2003). Eighty percent of children who died as a result of abuse were under age 4.

Slightly fewer than 60% of abuse or neglect victims received prevention services. Annual figures consistently show that 40% of abuse victims do not receive follow-up services. Of total abuse cases, 60% were neglect, 18% were physical abuse, 10% were sexual abuse, and 7% emotional abuse. Fifteen percent of victims suffered from other categories of abuse classified by states, including abandonment or drug use during pregnancy. The latest report is available on the Children's Bureau website.

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CWLA Joins Home Visiting Coalition, Cosponsors Hill Briefings

CWLA has joined the Home Visiting Coalition, which supports legislation enhancing home visiting programs. The coalition sponsored hill briefings April 6-7 on the Education Begins at Home Act (EBHA, S. 503 and H.R. 3628). The briefings were well attended and included many hill staff members. The legislation, which has been endorsed by CWLA, was introduced by Senator Christopher Bond (R-MO), and Representatives Danny Davis (D-IL) and Tom Osborne (R-NE). Both bills have strong bipartisan support.

EBHA provides states with funding for home visiting programs that focus on pregnant women, new parents, and their children. The legislation would fund programs in all 50 states and authorizes $360 million in the first year, with additional funds for research and national projects. Funding would not be restricted as to which programs a state could fund.

Home visiting is an effective early intervention and prevention strategy. The models vary according to which families they target and the range of services they provide. Those that include a nurse as part of the visiting staff have proven to be successful at reducing child abuse and neglect. One study of the Nurse Family Partnership program by the Washington State Institute for Public Policy showed 79% fewer verified reports of child abuse and neglect. Other home visiting programs include Parents as Teachers, Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters, and Early Head Start.

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What Happens If There Is No Budget Resolution?

When the House of Representatives failed to adopt its own budget resolution shortly before the start of the Congressional spring break, some House leaders suggested they might not pursue a resolution this year. The next step in such an instance would be for both houses to pursue their own spending limits or outlines, as opposed to having one agreed-upon budget resolution. Under such a scenario, the Senate and House could end up with different spending totals and would have to negotiate their final decisions through each appropriations bill. That approach increases the possibility that a final 2007 budget would not be agreed to until after this year's November elections.

The budget resolution performs two primary functions: Principally, it determines how much the federal government will spend on this year's annual appropriations and establishes how spending will be allocated between various areas, such as defense, education, energy, and so on. Secondly, it allows Congress to make long-term cuts to entitlement and mandatory spending, usually over a five-year period. This was the reconciliation process Congress adopted last year, resulting in nearly $40 billion in cuts, including nearly $600 million in IV-E foster care.

Without a budget resolution, Congress could not adopt another budget reconciliation that would target entitlements. Congress could still attempt to make such reductions, but it would require 60 votes in the Senate to adopt such changes. Such a requirement would have prevented the 2005 budget reconciliation from passing in its final form.

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CWLA Supports Launch of New Youth Policy Action Center

CWLA has joined in launching the new version of the Youth Policy Action Center, a website that engages young people and adults in changing policies that affect young people's lives. CWLA will be posting alerts on the Youth Policy Action Center so our members and partners can contact elected officials to make a difference when key policies are being discussed.

Other features of the website include state pages with information on the state and local level, policy tools to learn about elected officials and media contacts, and an information portal to stay up to date on research and policy analysis. We encourage you to visit the site and join the mailing list to take advantage of this new center.

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National Children's Memorial Flag Day

CWLA is promoting the National Children's Memorial Flay Day on April 28 as part of National Child Abuse Prevention Month. As reported in the last Children's Monitor, CWLA launched this public awareness campaign in 1998 to direct attention to the tragedy of violent child deaths and reduce child mortality. Each year, nearly 3 million children are reported abused and neglected, and more than 1,000 die tragically from abuse and neglect. For the past three years, all 50 Governors have united in an impressive bipartisan effort to raise public awareness about the continuing problem of violence against children.

The Children's Memorial Flag is red, with blue paper-doll-like figures of children holding hands. A white chalk outline of a missing child in the center of the flag symbolizes the thousands of children who have been lost to violence. A 16-year-old student from Alameda County, California, designed the flag.

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CWLA Legislative Alerts Available to Subscribers

CWLA's Legislative Alerts provide breaking news, advocacy information, and critically important timely details of legislative battles. In an effort to broaden CWLA's advocacy network on behalf of children, anyone can now subscribe and receive the same information. This effort compliments CWLA's weekly electronic legislative newsletter, the Children's Monitor, which is also available free to any subscriber. We encourage you to register to receive these items directly and to pass on the information to other colleagues, family, and friends.

Subscribe to Legislative Alerts.

Subscribe to Children's Monitor.

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Key Upcoming Dates for Congress

April 8-23: Congressional Spring Break

May 27-June 4: Memorial Day Break


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