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March 2000Vol. 1, No. 1Federal Law Targets Funds to Child Abuse Prevention

New Federal legislation awaiting the President's signature will boost resources available to child abuse and neglect prevention efforts nationwide by giving States more leeway in how they spend Federal law enforcement grants and by targeting additional funds toward prevention and treatment:

  • By amending existing legislation, the Child Abuse Prevention and Enforcement Act (CAPE) allows States to spend certain Federal grant dollars on efforts to share criminal history records with child welfare agencies and other agencies with responsibility for child protection and foster care placements.
  • CAPE allows States to use Federal grants to enforce laws against child abuse and neglect and child sexual abuse and to fund prevention programs.
  • The Act specifically encourages States to fund cooperative efforts between law enforcement agencies and media organizations to improve identification and apprehension of criminals.
  • CAPE provides a formula for increasing from $10 million to as much as $20 million annually the amount of money earmarked from the Crime Victims Fund to help victims of child abuse. The Fund accumulates forfeited assets, bail bonds, and fines paid to the government.
  • A section known as Jennifer's Law authorizes $6 million in grants over the next 3 years to help States report and share data about unidentified deceased and missing persons.

President Clinton is expected to sign the measure this month. The bill number is H.R.764. For details on the bill, visit Thomas, a service of the Library of Congress (