HELP Hearing Seeks to Ensure That Children in Danger Are Not Ignored
Washington – On December 13, 2011, the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Children and Families, chaired by Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), held a hearing on child abuse, convened on the heels of the recent tragedies at Penn State and Syracuse. Testimony referenced proposals to increase protections for children victimized by abuse or neglect. One such proposal, the Speak Up to Protect Every Abused Kid Act (S. 1877, sponsored by Senator Bob Casey (D-PA)), would require that state governments accepting federal child abuse and neglect prevention and treatment funding adopt a basic set of protections. All adults would be required to report known or suspected child abuse and neglect directly to law enforcement or child welfare authorities. It would also make federal funds available to help states undertake education and training campaigns to help adults who work with children detect the telltale signs of abuse or neglect, and it would encourage the establishment of state task forces to focus on strategies to improve child abuse and neglect reporting.
In response, First Focus Campaign for Children President Bruce Lesley released the following statement:
"We commend the subcommittee for focusing on this critical issue. To create lasting change, the federal government must invest in preventing abuse and neglect by strengthening families, improving oversight through enhanced staffing at state and local child welfare agencies, and increasing the likelihood that abused or neglected children can find permanent homes with relatives, foster parents, or adoptive parents. But the fact remains: authorities can’t stop abuse or neglect if they don’t know about it. We need legislation to ensure that a child in danger will never be ignored."
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The First Focus Campaign for Children is a 501(c)(4) nonprofit organization affiliated with First Focus, a bipartisan children’s advocacy organization. The Campaign for Children advocates directly for legislative change in Congress to ensure children and families are a priority in federal policy and budget decisions. For more information, visit www.ffcampaignforchildren.org.