A reauthorization of the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) S 2971 (Senator Johnny Isakson R-OK) and separate Adoption Opportunities Act Reauthorization, S 2969 (Senator Doug Jones D-AL) was introduced in the Senate on Wednesday, December 4. The bills, which will be joined together as a final package, would reauthorize the CAPTA and the Adoption Opportunities Act for five years.

The bills were released after negotiations within the Senate HELP Committee. Now that they are published, the HELP Committee is gathering feedback with a desire to pass it out of Committee within the next week. Generally, the two bills make few changes in current law, and the final authorization levels are uncertain. Both statutes provide discretionary funding, which means appropriators need to decide on funding levels each year (unlike entitlement or mandatory funds), so both laws have authorizations, which is a proposed spending level to guide appropriators.

The House CAPTA bill provides $270 million for the two CAPTA titles, which would be significantly higher than current funding (see appropriations article below). The Senate bill for both CAPTA and Adoption Opportunities is unclear at this point, with some Republican senators opposed to any increases in authorization levels even if it does not bind future appropriations.

If the HELP Committee completes its work and then the bill is passed by the Senate, they will have to negotiate their differences over the House bill that reauthorizes adoption opportunities and CAPTA.

About the Author:

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

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