APA Letter of Support to The Honorable Daniel K. Inouye

The Honorable Daniel K. Inouye
U.S. Senate
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Senator Inouye:

On behalf of the 150,000 members and affiliates of the American Psychological Association (APA), I am writing to thank you for your introduction of the Supporting Child Maltreatment Prevention Efforts in Community Health Centers Act of 2009 (S. 1404). This legislation addresses the tragic problem of child maltreatment through a focus on prevention strategies. We would also like to take this opportunity to commend you for your ongoing leadership, vision, and support of programs to protect vulnerable populations. S. 1404 exemplifies your unwavering commitment to those in need.

APA has a long history of initiatives focused on the prevention of child maltreatment, including journal publications, public policy statements, federal advocacy, and cosponsorship of national programs, such as Adults and Children Together Against Violence and the National Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect. Many of our members are actively engaged in service delivery, research, policy development, prevention, intervention, and evaluation efforts at the community level related to the prevention of child abuse and neglect. APA also has a separate division section on child maltreatment, as well as an Interdivisional Task Force on Child Maltreatment Prevention. As such, our work on this area draws on the research, expertise, and writings of the psychologist members of our association.

As you know, child maltreatment is a serious problem in our nation that impacts millions of children and their families. The current statistics are staggering. In 2007, approximately six million children were allegedly victims of maltreatment, and out of the more than three million referrals to Child Protective Services agencies for investigation, 794,000 children were determined to be victims of abuse and neglect. During that same year, close to 2,000 children died as a result of abuse or neglect. The nation's child welfare system has long been stretched beyond capacity to handle the full scope of child maltreatment. Far too little attention or resources are directed at preventing harm to children or providing the appropriate services and treatment needed by families and children who are at risk.

The Supporting Child Maltreatment Prevention Efforts in Community Health Centers Act of 2009 lays a strong foundation for needed programs and interventions to prevent child abuse and neglect. Specifically, S. 1404 would provide grants for the implementation of demonstration projects at federally qualified community health centers to promote universal access to family-centered, evidence-based behavioral health interventions that prevent child maltreatment and promote family well-being by addressing parenting practices and skills for families from diverse socioeconomic, cultural, racial, ethnic, and other backgrounds. The bill would also provide program evaluation outcomes, technical assistance, project coordination, and the design and implementation of a cross-site evaluation plan.

Enactment of this legislation would help to protect our nation's children by providing their parents and caregivers with the tools and skills they need to become the best parents and caregivers they can be and to, ultimately, prevent child maltreatment.

We have worked very closely with your office in the development of S. 1404 and greatly appreciate all the time, effort, and dedication demonstrated by Jacqueline Rychnovsky during this process. In addition, we are deeply thankful for the ongoing support and expertise of your Chief of Staff Patrick DeLeon. Their assistance and hard work during the development of this critical legislation have been invaluable to our association.

In closing, we would like to thank you once again for your efforts in developing the Supporting Child Maltreatment Prevention Efforts in Community Health Centers Act of 2009 and to offer our association's assistance in achieving passage of this vital legislation. Please contact Annie Toro of our Public Interest Government Relations Office at (202) 336-6068 in this regard.

With much gratitude,

Norman B. Anderson, Ph.D.
Chief Executive Officer