Last week the Committee on Education & Labor members introduced the bipartisan legislation to strengthen prevention and treatment of child abuse. The Stronger Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (Stronger CAPTA). Co-sponsors include leads Representatives Kim Schrier (D-WA) and James Comer (R-KY), Lori Trahan (D-MA), Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR), Chairman Bobby Scott (D-VA), Dusty Johnson (R-SD), Elise Stefanik (R-NY), and Ranking Member Virginia Foxx (R-NC).
The National Child Abuse Coalition, in support of CAPTA reauthorization, is calling for a strong public health approach to child maltreatment prevention, as recommended by the CDC and HHS. According to the National Child Abuse Coalition, of which CWLA is a member, “That approach cannot be achieved using the current funding provided. More money is critical to ensure that states can carry out the mandates currently required in CAPTA while also moving towards a new vision of child welfare that supports families and prevents child abuse and neglect.
Rep. Schrier as a pediatrician by trade remarked that “One death of a child is one too many. Too often we react to child abuse instead of doing everything we can to prevent it. It is long past time to help children before they are abused.” The last time CAPTA was reauthorized was 2010, and in 2018, Congress increased funding by $60 million to $85 million to develop and implement plans of safe care for infants born exposed to substances, including infants born addicted to opioids.
Rep. Comer emphasized that “the safety and security of some of our most vulnerable members of society – our nation’s children – is of the utmost importance and requires this committee’s full attention. The National Child Abuse Coalition, in support of CAPTA reauthorization, is calling for a strong public health approach to child maltreatment prevention, as recommended by the Commission to End Child Abuse and Neglect Fatalities to increase funding by one billion dollars. The Coalition calls for Congress to provide funding with an increase to CAPTA at $500 million and $500 million to CB-CAP.