WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Doug Jones (D-Ala.) and Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) have introduced a bipartisan package of bills to protect vulnerable children. The first bill provides funding and resources for states to combat child abuse and neglect. The second piece of legislation removes barriers to adoption and helps children in need find loving, permanent families.
“We can all agree that keeping our children safe should be one of our country’s top priorities,” said Senator Jones. “We need to continue to work to strengthen our child protection system and to provide resources to prevent child neglect and abuse before it happens – and reduce barriers to adoption so that children in need can find loving, permanent homes.”
The Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Reauthorization Act of 2019 would reauthorize the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) and strengthen the programs that the federal government provides to help states combat child abuse and neglect. The bill provides funds to improve states’ child protective service systems and establishes various reporting, investigation, and response requirements. The bill also funds community-based activities and services to prevent child abuse and neglect, including family-strengthening services like parent empowerment and positive parenting education.
The Adoption Opportunities Act of 2019 would provide support for projects that eliminate barriers to adoption and help children who would benefit from adoption to find permanent, loving families. This includes programs to increase the placement of children who are racial and ethnic minorities, older children, and children who are disabled. The Adoption Opportunities Act also funds pre- and post-adoption services for families and supports kinship care arrangements.
The measures have been sent to the Health, Education, Labor and Pension (HELP) Committee for action, and the CAPTA legislation is expected to be considered next week in a HELP Committee hearing.
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