Last month, when the House of Representatives approved a four-bill appropriations package that included appropriations for the Department of Health and Human Services (by a vote of 226-to 203) they included an important improvement for child abuse prevention. The final House appropriation for the Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention (CB-CAP) received a $35 million increase to $75 million. The Committee language states, “The Committee recommends $75,000,000 for Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention, which is $35,236,000 above the fiscal year 2019 enacted level and the fiscal year 2020 budget request. These formula grants support community-based approaches to child abuse and neglect prevention.” That total and report language was not in the original Committee report and legislation.
This current fiscal year of 2019, CB-CAP is set at $39.7 million. It has not received an increase since FY 2005. The near doubling of funding to $75 million would be a record for the child abuse prevention grant and along with CAPTA state grants increasing from $25 million in 2017 to $90 million in the proposed House’s FY 2020 appropriation represent some real increases in the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA).

Technically called Community-Based Grants for the Prevention of Child Abuse or Neglect, CB-CAP is Title II of CAPTA. The program was developed separately from the original 1974 CAPTA statute. To receive these funds, a governor must designate a lead agency to receive the funds and implement the program. Funding at the state level, which sometimes leverages non-government funds as children’s trust funds and other state and local fees, are blended and then provided to community agencies to address child abuse and neglect prevention activities and family support. Some of those funds may supplement the under-funded home visiting programs, as well as other prevention initiatives including family resource centers, respite and crisis care services, and parent and family support programs.

According to the Children’s Bureau, “Some of these [CB-CAP] outcomes include increased knowledge of parenting skills, access to support services within the community, implementation fidelity, cultural competence, parental empowerment and development, and improvements in children’s behavior in response to positive parenting. Dissemination efforts include a focus at the community, State, and national levels…”.

In May, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 2480 – Stronger Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA). It includes an increased authorization funding level. The authorization funding level is a suggested funding level but, in annually appropriations programs, the appropriators do not have to adhere to the spending levels but may be influenced by the number. The House passing of the reauthorization of CAPTA in a bipartisan manner prioritizes the need for investment in systems and programs that work.

The National Child Abuse Coalition, which includes CWLA, is supporting a CAPTA reauthorization and is calling for a strong public health approach to child maltreatment prevention. Over 250 national and state organizations from all 50 states have endorsed CAPTA requesting that Congress appropriates $500 million for Title I and $500 million for Title II. CWLA and the Coalition will be working to make sure the Senate appropriators do as well if not better than the House numbers.

A budget chart of key child welfare programs can be found here.

About the Author:

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

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