Thursday, July 16, 2009

Help Prevent Child Abuse

In 2007, 1,760 American children died as a result of abuse or neglect -- an increase of 15.5 percent from 2006. Since late 2008, increases in reports of child abuse and neglect have been linked to the weakened economy.

In 1974, Congress passed what was, and still is, the preeminent federal legislation addressing child abuse and neglect -- the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA). CAPTA grants allow states to focus on preventing child abuse and neglect.

President Obama's recent budget request to Congress would freeze funding for CAPTA at just over $100 million -- where it has been for several years. But according to the Department of Health and Human Services, funding CAPTA at $200 million would fund prevention services for tens of thousands more children and families.

Fully funding CAPTA at $200 million would enable states to:

- direct funding toward preventing child abuse and providing needed services and treatment to families and children victimized by abuse or neglect,

- support proven, cost-effective approaches to preventing child abuse and neglect, and

-expand post-investigative services for child victims, shorten the service delivery time and increase services to other at-risk families.

For every federal dollar spent on foster care and adoption subsidies, the federal government spends less than 13 cents on preventing and treating child abuse and neglect. When you take into account funding for these programs over the last four years and consider inflation, that represents a cut of more than $10 million. That translates into a loss of support for services to abused children and their families, and a cut in funds for the number of caseworkers available to investigate cases of abuse and protect children from further harm.

It is time to invest additional resources in child abuse prevention and give our nation's children the protection they deserve by fully funding CAPTA at $200 million.

The House and Senate Appropriations Committees are drafting the fiscal year 2010 funding bill for the Department of Health and Human Services, including CAPTA.

Please ask your senator and your representative to fully fund CAPTA today.

Thank you for taking action!!

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