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Letters to the 107th Congress

April 26, 2002

The Honorable Tom Harkin
Chair, Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services and Education
Committee on Appropriations
184 Dirksen Building
United States Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510

Dear Mr. Chairman:

We understand that the Subcommittee may soon consider Fiscal Year 2003 appropriations recommendations for the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services and Education. On behalf of the American Bar Association, I am writing to urge funding for the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) programs at their fully authorized levels: $70 million for the basic state grants, $30 million for research and demonstration grants, and $66 million for the Title II community-based family resource and support program's prevention grants.

We believe that federal funding to help states and communities protect children and prevent child abuse and neglect should be a high national priority. Adequate funding is essential to getting the job done, but CAPTA funds have not kept pace with the scope of the problem. Current appropriations for child abuse and neglect are only at half the authorized amounts. In FY 2002, basic state grants are at $22 million, discretionary grants at $26 million, and community-based prevention grants at $33 million.

Much more needs to be done. According to a report released in April 2001 by HHS, substantiated cases of child abuse and neglect investigated by child protective service (CPS) agencies numbered an estimated 826,000 children nationally in 1999. Unfortunately, many of the victims of child maltreatment get no attention to remediate the negative consequences of maltreatment. States report that neither the child victims nor their families receive any treatment or other kind of services following investigation of the report in nearly half (44.2%) of the confirmed cases of child abuse.

Fatalities from child maltreatment remain high: an estimated 1,100 children died of abuse or neglect in 1999. Children under 6 account for 86.1% of the child abuse fatalities; 42.6% are under the age of one year at the time of death.

  • CAPTA should be the core funding for child protective services, yet it is not. Current spending in federal, state and local dollars for child protective services falls short by about $2.56 billion of the estimated $5.215 total cost of protective services in the United States. An appropriation of $70 million for the basic state grants is a small step toward improving the situation for protective services.

  • CAPTA should be the basic source of funding for community-based prevention programs, yet its resources are inadequate. Fully funding the community-based prevention program at $66 million represents a modest commitment to support prevention of child abuse and neglect through CAPTA. The cost of preventive services if offered to the 3 million child maltreatment victims identified in the HHS National Incidence Study 3 would total $9 billion, far more than the $2.652 billion states reported spending for child protection and prevention in 1998.

  • CAPTA R&D dollars are inadequate to satisfy the demand. With only $18 million available in 2002 for competitive grants out of a total $26 million in CAPTA discretionary grant spending, HHS is able to fund only one out of 8 applications for field-initiated research. Raising the appropriation to $30 million would help to advance the field's knowledge through support for research and program innovations.

  • Over the years, CAPTA funding has proven a small but important piece in the federal government's effort to help states and communities improve their practices aimed at preventing and treating child abuse and neglect. CAPTA programs support innovations in state child protective services and community-based preventive services, as well as research, training, data collection and program evaluation.

    Your dedicated advocacy in support of programs to protect children and prevent child abuse and neglect helps to focus constructive public attention on these important issues. We urge you and the members of the Subcommittee to provide the resources needed to stem the tide of child maltreatment through CAPTA funding.


    Robert D. Evans
    Director, Governmental Affairs Office

    Cc: Members of the Subcommittee

    107th Congress Letters Home

    Governmental Affairs Office
    740 Fifteenth Street, NW
    Washington, DC 20005
    ph: 202-662-1760
    fx: 202-662-1762

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