WASHINGTON – Congressman Henry Cuellar helped secure $85 million in funding for child abuse prevention in a FY19 Appropriations bill containing the Defense and Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations bills. Specifically, these funds will provide states with the means for improving their child protective service systems (CPS) in order to stop child abuse and expand access to crisis resources. In addition, he secured $1.5 million to develop and expand a national child abuse hotline which will provide youth seeking assistance with much needed improved access to crisis resources. This legislation passed both chambers and was signed into law by the President at the end of September. The bill includes funding for the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA), which provide small grants to states for maltreatment prevention and child protection services. The Child Abuse Prevention program, a statewide child abuse and neglect program, includes several requirements, such as:
Policies and procedures that address the needs of drug-exposed infants;
Procedures for referral, in order of risk level, of children not at imminent risk of harm to community or preventative services;
Training for CPS workers on their legal duties and parents’ rights; and
Provisions to refer children under age three who are involved in a case to early intervention services.
This funding will assist states with meeting the expectation of the grants and also allow them to place a greater emphasis on the prevention-related activities to help strengthen and support families that are brought to the attention of CPS agencies across the country. The Children’s Bureau, a federal agency tasked with improving the lives of children and families, is also working with the country’s National Child Welfare Resource Centers to provide training and technical assistance to the states on best practices for CPS. Additionally, the Congressman helped secure $1.5 million, a $500,000 increase from FY18, for an extramural grant to develop and expand a child abuse hotline to determine best practices in appropriate communication, identity verification, privacy protection, and resource sharing with victims seeking assistance. “In FY2016, state and local child protection agencies carried out child protection responses involving 3.5 million children,” said Congressman Cuellar. “This is why I worked to secure funding for both child abuse prevention services and an improved child abuse hotline. No child deserves to be abused, and it is essential that we do everything in our power as lawmakers to ensure that child abuse victims have all the resources they need to recover and be safe.” “I want to thank my fellow Appropriators and Labor, Health and Human Services, and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Tom Cole and Ranking Member Rosa DeLauro for helping include these provisions that will benefit abused children who need help.”