Luján Introduces Legislation to Invest in Preventing Child Abuse and Neglect
Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.) and Bob Casey (D-PA) introduced the Family Strengthening Infrastructure Act to make essential investments to correct the imbalance between prevention services and foster care services in America by increasing funding for Titles I and Title II of the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA).
CAPTA has been critical in preventing and addressing child abuse and neglect. CAPTA’s Title I state grants support state child protective services systems in responding to maltreatment, and its Title II CBCAP grants support community-driven, evidence-based and trauma-informed services that strengthen families and prevent child maltreatment and child welfare system involvement.
The Family Strengthening Infrastructure Act would provide $250 million for Title I and $250 million for Title II per year through 2031. These investments would allow states to promote a public health approach to child abuse and neglect in America and prevent unnecessary family separation and foster care placements, as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
“Protecting the welfare of our children has been a priority for our country since 1974, when the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) was signed into law and became a cornerstone in our national efforts to support families and keep children safe and secure. While this program has proven to play a fundamental role in preventing child abuse, studies have shown that CAPTA is tragically underfunded – jeopardizing the welfare of countless children across the country and continuing our federal reliance on foster care services,” said Senator Luján. “That’s why I’m proud to introduce The Family Strengthening Infrastructure Act because this legislation will increase CAPTA funding and shift federal investments to focus on improving families rather than removing children. As families and children of color are overrepresented in the child welfare system, this bill would allow our country to make good on our commitment to the most vulnerable children and families by helping them stay together and thrive.”
“Every child in America deserves to grow up in a safe environment, but unfortunately too many children are in situations where they are abused or neglected. I’m proud to introduce the Family Strengthening Infrastructure Act with Senator Luján to make major investments in local child protective services and community based programs that work to prevent child abuse. Our country can only succeed if we’re giving children every opportunity to succeed,” said Senator Casey.
“Providing long-term investments for CAPTA will expand primary prevention efforts driven by community needs that strengthen families, which are currently underfunded. The need to prevent child abuse and decrease foster care placements could not be more important than it is today,” said Christian James-Brown, CWLA’s President & CEO. “We support Senator Luján’s bill and hope Congress will act to improve the lives of the most vulnerable children and families across this country,”
“Prevent Child Abuse America is pleased to support Senator Luján’s Family Strengthening Infrastructure Act of 2021. The Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention (CBCAP) grant program is our nation’s infrastructure for connecting children and families to primary prevention programs that strengthen families and prevent child maltreatment,” said Prevent Children Abuse America. “Providing additional funding for CBCAP is absolutely essential for ensuring that more children and families in America have access to these critical services, which keep them together and thriving.”
“The National Child Abuse Coalition is pleased to endorse the Family Strengthening Infrastructure Act. CAPTA represents the infrastructure of services and supports that prevent child maltreatment and subsequent child welfare system involvement,” said the National Child Abuse Coalition. “With adequate funding, the program is well-positioned to generate a major impact for children and families.”
“The Alliance for Strong Families and Communities and Council on Accreditation thanks Senator Luján and Senator Casey for their acknowledgement of the importance of adequate funding levels for the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) to meet the needs of families and children. By shifting federal resources to more upstream and preventive programs that strengthen families and support child well-being, they are helping to transform child welfare systems into child and family well-being systems that support racial equity and primary prevention,” said the Alliance for Strong Families and Communities and Council on Accreditation.
The legislation is endorsed by the Committee for Children, Children’s Advocacy Institute, Child Welfare League of America, Prevent Child Abuse America, Zero To Three, National Family Support Network, Alliance for Strong Families and Communities and Council on Accreditation, Children and Families Futures, National Child Abuse Coalition, Triple P America, Inc., and Children’s Defense Fund.
Full text of the legislation can be found HERE.