Last week a bipartisan group of House Members joined in on the effort to address the substance abuse-child welfare issue when they introduced a bill to amend CAPTA. The bill address the safe care plans that are required under CAPTA but it focuses its attention on HHS and information and data collection.

The bill, the Improving Safe Care for the Prevention of Infant Abuse and Neglect Act  comes after a recent action by the Senate HELP plan to also amend CAPTA in a similar way.

A statement by Education and Workforce Chairman John Kline (R-MN) was issued that said in part

“We are failing some of our most vulnerable children and families…,” An unwillingness to follow and enforce the law has led to shocking and even deadly consequences…This legislation will help ensure current policies are enforced and these children and families receive the help and care they desperately need.”

In addressing the topic and the bill, Ranking Member Congressman Bobby Scott (D-VA) also saw the bill as leading to CAPTA reauthorization,

“This bill is a strong, positive first step to safeguard the well-being of our nation’s most vulnerable children. It works to ensure that states and the federal government are following through on their promise to protect infants suffering from drug dependency and assist affected families and caregivers in getting the help they need. I look forward to using this bill as a springboard for a bipartisan reauthorization of the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act.”

The Legislation focuses its attention on HHS guidance and information. The Senate S 2687, the Plan of Safe Care Improvements Act  directs states to develop and implement a monitoring to ensure the safety and well-being of children; address the health, including mental health, needs of the child and family involved; and determine whether local entities are capable of providing referrals to and delivery of appropriate services for the child and family.  It also directs HHS to offer guidance within 90 days of enactment of the legislation, increases HHS monitoring and creates added data collection.