Washington, D.C.– Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva today praised the House of Representatives vote to approve the Senate’s S.3817 bill, which improves the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act, Family Violence and Prevention Services Act (FVPSA), and the Adoption Opportunities Act. Among other changes, the bill increases the focus on vulnerable populations, such as unaccompanied homeless children and children with disabilities; increases the emphasis on victims in underserved populations under FVPSA; establishes a National Indian Resource Center under FVPSA; enhances the focus on minority and older children in adoption promotion; and helps law enforcement and local health centers coordinate their efforts on behalf of domestic violence victims.
The bill is expected to go to the president for signature early next week.
“This bill will make children and abused spouses safer, make it easier to adopt, and help domestic violence victims find the safety and protection they need,” Grijalva said. “This is a win not just for the professionals who deal with these issues on a daily basis and the families who face these difficult circumstances, but for the entire country. It will mean safer communities, better care for children in need, and a stronger commitment to preventing child abuse and domestic violence. I applaud the House for taking up this important bill, and I look forward to the president’s signature.”
An overview of the improvements made in the bill is available below.
SUMMARY of S. 3817
Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) changes:
· Encourages states to use the differential response model in working with at-risk families and in preventing and intervening in cases of child abuse or neglect
· Funds to study and implement methods to support the caregiving role of the non-abusing parent, in cases where children are exposed to domestic violence
· Interagency coordination to ensure that families helped by CPS receive a variety of services aimed at preventing future incidences of child abuse or neglect, including domestic violence services and substance abuse treatment
· Uses former victim experience as informative data for providers
· More prominent recognition of child neglect as a major contributor in the incidences of child maltreatment across the country
· Focus on vulnerable populations, such as unaccompanied homeless children and children with disabilities
· Improves data collection and analysis by: improving state coordination through data systems to help track and monitor services provided to families within a state and between states; collecting data on training, education, and caseloads to ensure CPS workers are qualified and not overworked; improving data collection to better align IDEA Part C services with child protective service systems in states; and requiring a study of the effectiveness of the citizen review panels
· Improving training for individuals working with children to ensure they are consistent with the best practices in the field of early childhood and adolescent development
· Improves the community-based grants for the prevention of child abuse and neglect by: using victim experiences; recognizing the special needs of unaccompanied homeless youth, increasing parental involvement in the program and encouraging interagency coordination to ensure access of families to multiple services in coordination with CPS
Family Violence and Prevention Services Act (FVPSA) changes:
· Makes victims of dating violence eligible for services under this act (this population is the largest segment of the population in need of these services)
· Increases the emphasis on victims in underserved populations under FVPSA
· Provides information, training, and technical assistance to State and local domestic violence service providers to better serve racial and ethnic minorities as well as Indian tribes and other native populations
· Improves inter-agency collaboration by sharing reporting data from all Federal entities that support domestic violence
· Establishes a grant program to address children exposed to domestic violence
· Establishes a National Indian Resource Center
· Strengthens the confidentiality provisions
· Increases the authorization for the National Domestic Violence Hotline to address the high number of unanswered calls and to train phone answerers to provide support, information, referrals, safety planning, and crisis intervention to domestic violence victims who call
· Reauthorizes and expands the DELTA grants (Domestic Violence Prevention Enhancement and Leadership Through Alliances) – these grants help to coordinate the diverse sectors involved in DV related issues such as law enforcement, public health and social services.
Adoption Opportunities Act changes:
· Enhances the focus on minority and older children in adoption promotion
Reduces some barriers to adoption and improves post-placement support