- April 2002
- Vol. 3, No. 3
CAPTA Authorization Moves Through Congress
Even though CAPTA (the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act) expired on September 30, 2001, Congress appropriated funds for CAPTA-authorized programs for fiscal year 2002, with the understanding that reauthorizing legislation would be introduced this year. That action is now taking place in the House, with the Senate expected to follow. CAPTA was last reauthorized in 1996.
CAPTA hearings were held on August 2 and October 17, 2001 in the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, Subcommittee on Select Education. On March 5, 2002, Rep. Peter Hoekstra (R-MI) introduced H.R. 3839, the Keeping Children and Families Safe Act, which would reauthorize CAPTA for 5 more years through 2007. The bill also would reauthorize the Adoption Opportunities program, the Abandoned Infants Act, and the Family Violence Prevention and Treatment Act.
The House Subcommittee voted on March 6 to approve H.R. 3839 with amendments requiring that:
- Child Protective Services (CPS) investigators notify an individual who is a subject of a child abuse and neglect report.
- Hospitals notify CPS of the birth of infants with fetal alcohol syndrome or with drug exposure in utero to develop a plan of services for mother and infant.
CAPTA language also suggests that materials and services provided by CAPTA-funded agencies should be in an appropriate language other than English for those children and families whose English-speaking abilities are limited.
The legislation authorizes $120 million for State CPS grants and research and demonstration grants (current funding level $48 million) and $80 million for prevention grants (current funding level $33 million). Other changes in the subcommittee-approved bill provide for improved training, recruitment, and retention of CPS staff. The bill:
- Aims to reduce the number of false and malicious report of child maltreatment filed by improving public education about the CPS system and appropriate reporting of suspected child maltreatment
- Promotes partnerships between CPS and private and community-based organizations to ensure that services are more effectively provided
- Authorizes a Fourth National Incidence Study on child maltreatment and a study on the number of infants and young children abandoned each year
- Expands adoption opportunities to allow services for infants and young children who are disabled or born with life-threatening conditions.
On March 20, the full House Committee on Education and the Workforce approved the legislation with minor changes to the version submitted by the Subcommittee on Select Education. The provisions added in the House Committee's markup include funding to better meet the needs of substantiated victims of child maltreatment through collaborations among CPS, health, community-based, and other programs.
It is expected that H.R. 3839 will go to the House floor in April under "suspension of the rules," a procedure which bars amendments and requires a two-thirds vote to pass.
Visit the website of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce for links to the bill summary, committee hearings, and press statements about H.R. 3839, Keeping Children and Families Safe Act at: http://edworkforce.house.gov/issues/107th/education/capta/capta.htm
See the following related articles in these past issues of the Children's Bureau Express (http://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov):
- "CAPTA Update" (November/December 2001)
- "HHS Assistant Secretary Testifies Before Congress on CAPTA" (July/August 2001)