Committee Introduces Bipartisan Legislation to Strengthen Prevention and Treatment of Child Abuse

House is expected to pass legislation in the coming weeks

WASHINGTON – Today, House Committee on Education and Labor Chairman Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (VA-03), Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici (OR-01), Congresswoman Kim Schrier, M.D. (WA-08), and Congresswoman Haley Stevens (MI-11) joined Committee Republicans in introducing legislation that strengthens federal efforts to prevent and treat child abuse and neglect.  The Stronger Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (Stronger CAPTA) (H.R. 485) provides greater funding and establishes new tools tocombat the rising rates of child maltreatment over the past decade.

The Stronger Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act:

  • Strengthens the focus on prevention by helping states to (1) build networks of cost-effective and locally-driven services that prevent child abuse and strengthen families and (2) provide critical services to families facing challenging circumstances during the COVID-19 pandemic;
  • Builds the capacity of child protective services agencies that were overburdened with increased caseloads during the opioid epidemic and now face challenges to safely supporting families due to the COVID-19 pandemic;
  • Improves the sharing and quality of data to better understand the scope of child abuse and neglect and ensure victims do not fall through the cracks; and
  • Supports evidence-based strategies to treat and prevent child abuse and neglect.

“The Stronger Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act is a bold response to the troubling rise in child abuse and neglect over the past decade.  At a time when state governments are particularly strained due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this legislation will help ensure that states can meet the growing need for services that protect children and strengthen families,” said Chairman Bobby Scott.  “Importantly, the proposal will help not only treat child abuse and neglect, but also prevent maltreatment from happening in the first place.”

“Children thrive when they grow up in a safe and healthy environment,” said Congresswoman Bonamici.“This update to the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act comes at a critical time, with the coronavirus pandemic putting greater strain on our communities. Stronger CAPTA will help save lives by providing the investment and improvements we need to prevent child abuse and neglect and help our families flourish.”

“We have seen a worrying increase in reports of domestic violence and child abuse during this pandemic.  With more people at home together during this pandemic, and with families under more stress than ever, children are at higher risk of abuse,” said Congresswoman Schrier, M.D.  “Too often we react to child abuse after the fact.  As a pediatrician, I want to do everything I can to ensure we prevent child abuse before it happens, which is what this bill intends.  That is why I’m proud to introduce Stronger CAPTA, which will provide resources to families and states to help prevent child abuse and neglect, including for children affected by the opioid crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic.” 

“I am proud to join my colleagues to reauthorize the bipartisan Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (Stronger CAPTA),” said Congresswoman Stevens. “Tragically, too many children across our country are victims of abuse and neglect, with intervention often coming far too late. We must empower states and municipalities to help our most vulnerable children and use proven, evidence-based, and data-driven strategies to treat and prevent child abuse and neglect. I am grateful to Chairman Scott for his leadership on this critically important bill.”

The Republican co-sponsors are Rep. James Comer (KY-01)Rep. Dusty Johnson (SD-at-Large)Rep. Elise Stefanik (NY-21), and Ranking Member Virginia Foxx (NC-05)

For a fact sheet on the Stronger CAPTA, click here.

For a section by section of the Stronger CAPTA, click here.

For the bill text of the Stronger CAPTA, click here.


Press Contact

Democratic Press Office, 202-226-0853