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PI-GRO Provides Critical Input on Reauthorization of Child Abuse Law, Contributes to Provisions Addressing Adoption

The draft bill incorporated most of APA's recommendations.

In early June, PI-GRO sent comments to the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee on behalf of APA, responding to the draft legislation to reauthorize the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA).  The draft bill incorporated most of APA's proposed recommendations, including provisions addressing:

  • Mental health and substance use issues;
  • Research on approaches to assisting maltreated infants and toddlers;
  • The intersection between child maltreatment and domestic violence;
  • More attention to the prevention of child abuse and neglect;
  • The needs of diverse populations, including children and families who are English language learners, individuals with disabilities, racial and ethnic minorities, and unaccompanied homeless youth

Responding to the Senate draft, PI-GRO staff commended Committee members for their attention to the importance of respite care services, the role of caregivers, and home visitation services.  Furthermore, APA praised the Committee for the legislation's strong attention to research, evaluation, and prevention.  APA's response also recommended:

  • Appropriate funding to fully address critically needed research, training, technical assistance, information collection, and program innovations;
  • That mental health be considered an integral part of the term "supportive services," which appears several times in the draft bill; and
  • That the legislation recognizes successful initiatives addressing child abuse and neglect prevention and screening conducted by other entities, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and federally qualified community health centers.

As part of CAPTA, the HELP Committee also plans to take up reauthorization of the Adoption Reform Act, which establishes the critical Adoption Opportunities Program.  PI-GRO submitted several critical recommendations pertaining to this law and urged the Committee to fund prevention and early intervention services for individuals transitioning from foster care to adoption, especially for families adopting children with special needs, including those experiencing mental health problems. 

The significant time and expertise offered by APA's membership, particularly the Interdivisional Task Force on Child Maltreatment Prevention, made possible the original set of recommendations regarding CAPTA reauthorization, as well as PI-GRO's timely response to the draft legislation.