The “CARA” legislation under title five includes amendments to the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) regarding a plan of safe care for infants exposed to substances.  It does not reauthorize CAPTA but amends current provisions around a plan of safe care. The plan of safe care for infants requires a state that receives part of the $26 million in state CAPTA grants to (1) address the health and substance use disorder treatment needs of the infant and family or caregiver, and (2) specify a system for monitoring whether and in what manner local entities are providing services in accordance with state requirements. HHS must monitor state compliance with child protective services system grant requirements.

It also amends the largely voluntary data collection requirements under the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System (NCANDS) child maltreatment reporting system to include data on the number of such infants, the number of infants for whom a plan of safe care was developed, and the number of referrals that are made for services. This section of the bill also directs a new GAO report on the prevalence of Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome.

Additional information is available at Plans of Safe Care.

About the Author:

John Sciamanna is CWLA's Vice President of Public Policy.

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