On Thursday, June 4, 2020, Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) introduced a companion to Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) the Child Care is Essential Act that would provide $50 billion in child care funding as part of the fifth or next COVID-19 bill. They are part of various legislative efforts to address the serious long-term challenges facing the country’s child care system.

Just before the July 4th break Senator Murray (D-WA) along with Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), introduced the Coronavirus Child Care and Education Relief Act that included $430 million for several priority needs for children including the same child care funding plus K-12 schools, higher education, and funding for the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA). The additional CAPTA funding includes $1.5 billion for a split between $500 million for Title I state grants and $1 billion for Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention (CB-CAP) grants.

Prevention grants (CB-CAP)—are distributed by formula to states through a lead agency designated by the governor. The agency distributes the funds to community-based organizations to focus on the prevention of child abuse and neglect. Prevention may include promoting the development of parenting skills, improving family access to other formal and informal resources and opportunities for assistance within communities, supporting the additional needs of families with children with disabilities through respite care and other services; providing referrals to early health and developmental services; parenting education and self-help activities; outreach services, voluntary home visiting, resource centers, and respite care; and support for public information campaigns to prevent child abuse or neglect. It becomes more significant when other networks of support for families and children, including schools, are either shut down or limited.

CAPTA state grants impact have been limited due to the low funding levels, but in recent years that has started to change. With the increased concern over child abuse and family violence both due to increased social and economic isolation and no school time, this state grant is a vital tool focused on child maltreatment. State grants can be used to address intake, assessment, and screening of child abuse reports; creating and improving the use inter and intra-agency services; improving legal preparation and representation including the appointment of legal representation (that likely will not be covered by Title IV-E foster care) and the use of court appointed special advocates (CASAs); case management including monitoring, and delivery of services and treatment for children and families; updating systems of technology that track reports of child abuse, developing, strengthening, and facilitating training; enhancing interagency collaboration among public health agencies and agencies carrying out private community-based programs; and developing and implementing procedures for collaboration among child protective services, domestic violence services, and other human service agencies.

You can send a message to your members of Congress about CAPTA right here.