March 2003Vol. 4, No. 2Keeping Children and Families Safe Act of 2003 Introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives
On January 7, 2003, the opening day of the 108th Congress, Rep. Peter Hoekstra (R-MI) introduced the Keeping Children and Families Safe Act of 2003 (H.R. 14), to reauthorize the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA), the Adoption Opportunities program, the Abandoned Infants Assistance Act, and the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act.
Legislation reauthorizing CAPTA failed to pass during the 107th Congress when the House and Senate were unable to reach agreement on several issues. H.R. 14 builds upon the work of the previous Congress, using much of the same language as in the bills that were under consideration in 2002. Some key provisions include:
- Basic State Grant funding to improve the child protective services (CPS) system through attention to case management; training, supervision, recruitment, and retention of caseworkers; and improved reporting of suspected child maltreatment.
- Grants for demonstration projects to support linkages between CPS agencies and public health, mental health, and developmental disabilities agencies.
- Focus on the prevention of child abuse and neglect through support for community-based services to families.
- Programs that increase the number of older foster children placed in adoptive families, including a grants program to eliminate barriers to placing children for adoption across jurisdictional boundaries.
- Notification of parental rights at the initial contact by CPS.
H.R. 14 has been approved by the House Committee on Education and the Workforce and is currently pending in the House of Representatives. The bill authorizes funding for fiscal years (FY) 2004 through 2008. Appropriations for FY 2003 are included in the Consolidated Appropriations Resolution of 2003 (H.J. Res. 2) recently passed by both the House and Senate.
The Senate is considering its own version of the Keeping Children and Families Safe Act (S. 342). S. 342 was recently approved by the Senate Help, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee and is now pending before the full Senate. To track the progress of these bills or any Federal legislation, you can visit THOMAS, the legislative tracking service of the Library of Congress, at http://thomas.loc.gov/.
For more information about the current CAPTA legislation, last amended in 1996, see the National Clearinghouse on Child Abuse and Neglect Information fact sheet About the Federal Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act at http://nccanch.acf.hhs.gov/pubs/factsheets/about.cfm.