Today the national child-protection organization Fair Start Movement called upon the leaders of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions to amend the Child Abuse and Prevention Treatment Act (“CAPTA”) to require states to enact legislation that allows judges to prohibit offenders convicted of certain felonies from having children as a condition of probation. CAPTA allows states to apply for federal grants for child abuse prevention and treatment programs but also enumerates certain “eligibility requirements” that each state must comply with in order to receive funding.
Fair Start Movement’ proposal seeks an amendment to Section 106 of CAPTA to include, as funding eligibility requirements, that a state have Fair Start order legislation enacted. Such legislation would, in the event of a conviction, temporarily prohibit an offender from having additional children during the pendency of any probation in order to prevent the abuse and neglect of any future children. While the Congressional Findings from the CAPTA Reauthorization Act of 2010 hold that “substantial reductions in the prevalence and incidence of child abuse and neglect and the alleviation of its consequences are matters of the highest national priority,” national statistics from the past 5 years show that the epidemic of child abuse and neglect in the United States is not improving. In 2016, there were an estimated 676,000 children across the country who were victims of abuse and neglect, up 3% from 2012. The number of child fatalities that were the result of abuse and neglect steadily rose each year with 1,750 fatalities in 2016 versus 1,640 in 2012. That is approximately 5 children dying every day in the United States as the result of abuse and/or neglect.
“We believe that in order to truly make an impact in the prevention of child abuse, we must ensure that children are not born into potentially life-threatening situations,” said Anne Green, Executive Director of Fair Start Movement. “It is a matter of national importance that we not only take care of abused children after the fact but do all that we can to prevent the abuse from happening in the first place.”
Email the senate committee members and tell them that you support Fair Start Movement’ proposal for a Fair Start amendment to the Child Abuse and Prevention Treatment Act.