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Committee Members Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Strengthen Prevention and Treatment of Child Abuse

Bipartisan legislation responds to a rise in child maltreatment coinciding with the nationwide opioid crisis

Today, four Democrats and four Republicans on the Committee on Education and Labor introduced legislation to strengthen federal efforts to prevent and treat child abuse. The Stronger Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (Stronger CAPTA) is a bold, bipartisan response to combat the rising rates of child maltreatment experienced as the opioid crisis has devastated families and communities across the country. 

The four Democratic co-sponsors are Rep. Kim Schrier, M.D. (WA-08), Rep. Lori Trahan (MA-03), Civil Rights and Human Services Subcommittee Chairwoman Suzanne Bonamici (OR-01), and Chairman Bobby Scott (VA-03)

The four Republican co-sponsors are Civil Rights and Human Services Subcommittee Ranking Member Rep. James Comer (KY-01), Rep. Dusty Johnson (SD-at-Large), Rep. Elise Stefanik (NY-21), and Ranking Member Virginia Foxx (NC-05).

The Stronger Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act:

  • Shifts focus toward prevention by helping states to build networks of cost-effective and locally-driven services that prevent child abuse and strengthen families;
  • Builds the capacity of child protective services agencies that are overburdened with increased caseloads due to the opioid epidemic;
  • Improves the sharing and quality of data to better understand the scope of child abuse and neglect and ensure victims do not fall through the cracks; and
  • Supports evidence-based strategies to treat and prevent child abuse and neglect.  

“One death of a child is one too many. As a pediatrician, I am trained to identify potential instances of child abuse and neglect. Too often we react to child abuse instead of doing everything we can to prevent it. It is long past time to help children before they are abused. That is why I’m proud to introduce CAPTA, which will provide resources to families and states to help prevent child abuse and neglect, including for children affected by the opioid crisis,” said Rep. Schrier, M.D.

“I'm proud to be the lead Republican sponsor of this reauthorization of the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA), which provides states and community organizations with the tools and resources they need to provide evidence-based, prevention-focused services for our nation’s children and families. The safety and security of some of our most vulnerable members of society – our nation’s children – is of the utmost importance and requires this committee's full attention. I look forward to continuing to work with my colleagues on this and other critical, bipartisan legislation,” said Rep. Comer.

“I am proud to join my colleagues in leading the effort to reauthorize CAPTA, which will provide federal assistance to states like Massachusetts and others across our nation to help prevent child abuse and neglect. These funds are used for a variety of services that support and invest in community-based prevention efforts and establish plans for safe care. With the rise of the opioid epidemic, it is more important than ever to protect children who may be living in dangerous situations,” said Rep. Trahan. 

“The Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act is the federal government’s primary legislation to prevent, detect, and investigate child abuse. A key part of Congress’s job is to identify ways to continually improve legislation. This latest update to CAPTA will streamline state grant application requirements while maintaining accountability, require grantees to demonstrate grant effectiveness, and increase focus on preventing child abuse and neglect. I’m proud to partner with Chairman Scott and Ranking Member Foxx on this important, bipartisan effort to protect our nation’s youth,” said Rep. Johnson. 

“Every child should have the opportunity to grow up in a safe and healthy environment, but tragically that is not the case for too many children across our country. I’m proud to join Chairman Scott, Ranking Member Foxx, Congresswoman Schrier, Congressman Johnson, and Congressman Comer to introduce legislation to modernize and reauthorize the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act. This important update to CAPTA will provide more funding for families to receive the services they need to prevent child abuse and neglect from happening in the first place, as well as make it easier for states to share information that could ultimately save lives,” said Rep. Bonamici. 

“The Stronger Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act is an important piece of legislation which makes critical updates that strengthen the original law in order to further protect our children. This bill provides for evidence based support for the victims of abuse, establishes national reporting requirements to more accurately track child abuse trends, expands research into child welfare, and improves the grant process for states, agencies, and organizations. I am proud to co-introduce this life-saving bill, and will continue my advocacy for protecting our children, the most vulnerable members of our society,” said Rep. Stefanik. 

“The Stronger Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act is a bold and bipartisan response to the recent and troubling rise in child abuse and neglect. This legislation will help states meet the growing need for services that protect children and strengthen families, particularly as the opioid epidemic continues to harm communities across the country. I applaud my colleagues on both sides of the aisle for working together to develop this comprehensive proposal and I look forward to quickly advancing this legislation through our Committee and bringing it to the House Floor,” said Chairman Bobby Scott. 

“This is exactly what legislation intended to serve America’s children should be: forward-looking, bipartisan, and clear in its intent and purpose. I am proud of the Members who have stepped forward with these constructive ideas, and I appreciate Chairman Scott’s leadership in ensuring this has been a bipartisan effort,” said Ranking Member Foxx.

To read a fact sheet on the Stronger CAPTA, click here.

To read the section by section on the Stronger CAPTA, click here.

To read the bill text for the Stronger CAPTA, click here

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