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Letters to the 107th Congress

July 18, 2001

The Honorable Tom Harkin
Chair, Subcommittee on Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations
Committee on Appropriations
731 Hart Senate Office Building
U.S. Senate
Washington, D.C. 20515

Dear Mr. Chairman,

We understand that the Subcommittee may soon consider Fiscal Year 2002 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: $100 million for the basic state grants and the 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 FY2001, basic state grants are at $21 million, discretionary grants at $33.7 million, and community-based prevention grants at $32.8 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.

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.

In addition, these funds are a catalyst for broader reforms. They have supported community-based programs which have been replicated nationally. CAPTA funding is an efficient means of enabling states and communities to improve their practices in preventing and treating child abuse and neglect. The history of CAPTA funding demonstrates the value of this investment.

  • Early in the development of the "Parents Anonymous" program, CAPTA support helped to enable this parent mutual-support/shared leadership organization to expand, through technical assistance and training, beyond its beginnings in southern California to become today an important prevention resource for families in communities nationwide - serving 60,000 parents and children in 1999.


  • An initial grant from CAPTA helped the first children's advocacy center developed in Huntsville, Alabama to serve as the model program in states across the country for centers protecting children who have been physically, sexually or emotionally abused.


  • In Hawaii, seed money from CAPTA went to develop a highly successful program of home health visitors which has been adopted through Healthy Families America in hundreds of communities in 39 states to help parents get their children off to a healthy start.
  • This program also funds the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System (NCANDS), the only federal data collection effort to determine the scope of the problem of child abuse and neglect. The HHS Children's Bureau annually compiles this data for distribution as the primary source of national information on abused and neglected children.

    The CAPTA Community-Based Family Resource and Support Program prevention grants assist in the development of successful approaches to preventing child abuse and neglect through community-based, family-centered programs. Funds support abuse prevention services such as programs for new parents, parenting education classes, crisis nurseries, hotlines, home visitor services, sexual abuse prevention, respite care for families with disabled children and other family support services.

    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.

    Sincerely,

    Robert D. Evans
    Director, Governmental Affairs Office

    Cc: Members of the Subcommittee

    107th Congress Letters Home

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

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