By Melea Rose-Waters
The Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) is due to be reauthorized by Congress. CAPTA is foundational to the prevention, intervention and treatment of child abuse and neglect. While the majority of federal dollars for child abuse and neglect support foster care services, which intervene well after a problem has occurred and a child must be removed from their family, CAPTA supports front-end services that prevent system involvement and keep families together whenever safely possible.
North Carolina is home to two champions for CAPTA – Senator Richard Burr and Representative Virginia Foxx. In July 2022, 63 organizations from across NC joined together to make child abuse and neglect prevention a priority by signing a thank you letter to Senator Burr and Representative Foxx.
Read the letter here.
Senator Burr is the Ranking Member of the Senate HELP (Health, Education, Labor and Pensions) Committee and co-sponsor of S. 1927 (CAPTA Reauthorization Act of 2021). In June 2021 he spoke to the Committee about the importance of CAPTA.
Watch the video here.
“Among all the laws that come before this committee, CAPTA may be the most important for stating who we are as a nation in our relationships with children and families. How we respond to the needs of abused and neglected children directly determines how children will grow into adulthood.”
-Senator Richard Burr
As the Ranking Member in the Committee on Education and Labor and co-sponsor of HR 485 (Stronger CAPTA), Representative Foxx spoke in March 2021 about the need for a CAPTA bill that strengthens federal efforts to prevent child abuse and neglect.
“This bill, Stronger CAPTA, is focused on doing what Congress can do to see that no child experiences the dreadful impacts caused by neglect and abuse.
This legislation is the result of bipartisan collaboration among Members of the Education and Labor Committee and will strengthen federal efforts to recognize, prevent, and treat child abuse and neglect nationwide. While we have a variety of perspectives represented on the Committee, I believe this compromise will benefit children and families and maintain important protections for parents and faith-based providers of care to families.
Importantly, Stronger CAPTA not only protects children but also maintains and strengthens parental rights. While there are certainly instances where intervention is necessary, this legislation includes important safeguards to limit unsubstantiated or false reports and provides education to child protective service workers about the rights of parents and families.”
-Representative Virginia Foxx
Background and Where We Are
In March 2021, the House of Representatives passed the Stronger Child Abuse Prevention Act (H.R. 485). Three months later, the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) approved the CAPTA Reauthorization Act of 2021 (S. 1927), which built on the reforms made by the House bill. Both bills increase funding levels to $270 million for Title I and $270 million for Title II and make important reforms to strengthen the law’s emphasis on prevention and family strengthening services.
The Senate bill would add two additional titles to CAPTA: one focused on preventing fatalities due to child abuse and neglect, and a second focused on addressing the needs of infants with prenatal substance exposure and their families.
Expanding CAPTA would be transformational for communities and families across North Carolina. It would grow our capacity as a state to create environments where families get the support they need before they are in crisis, thereby preventing child welfare system involvement.
We thank Senator Burr and Representative Foxx for their leadership and commitment to children and families through their support of CAPTA. We are proud that two of our federal leaders have been so instrumental in strengthening this critical federal program. It is important to us – and to children and families in North Carolina – that CAPTA is reauthorized this year.
To learn more about CAPTA and ongoing efforts to reauthorize and strengthen this important piece of legislation, please reach out to Prevent Child Abuse NC’s Policy Director Melea Rose-Waters.
And, stay informed about child maltreatment prevention efforts in North Carolina by subscribing to Prevent Child Abuse NC’s newsletter.