Sending Office: Honorable Mark Takano
Sent By:
Chay.Halbert@mail.house.gov

Deadline to sign on COB TODAY, March 13

This letter includes TWO programmatic requests for the CJS Subcommittee.

Click HERE to sign on!

Current cosigners (62) including: Suzanne Bonamici, Tony Cárdenas, Joaquin Castro, Steve Cohen, Elijah E. Cummings, Danny K. Davis, Suzan K. DelBene, Mark DeSaulnier, Keith Ellison,
Louie Gohmert, Raúl Grijalva, Alcee L. Hastings, Sheila Jackson Lee, Pramila Jayapal, Hakeem Jeffries, Ro Khanna, Ron Kind, James Langevin, John Lewis, Zoe Lofgren, Tom Marino, Jerry McNerney, Jerrold Nadler, Eleanor Holmes Norton, Donald
Payne, Jr., Jacky Rosen, Lucille Roybal-Allard, Jan Schakowsky, 
Adam Schiff, Adam Smith, Darren Soto, Dina Titus, Michael Turner, Peter Welch, John Yarmuth 

Dear Colleague,

Please join us in sending a letter to the Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations subcommittee asking them to allocate $4 million for the Child Abuse Training for Judicial Personnel program and $17 million for Grants To Support Families
in the Justice System program in Fiscal Year 2019 Appropriations.

Judges are given a grave responsibility by Congress to oversee family violence, foster care, and child welfare matters to ensure the protection of our country’s most vulnerable children and families. Specialized training for juvenile and family court judges
is critically important to ensure that these court systems are effectively implementing federal statutes and serving victims of abuse, their children, and their families.

Data compiled by the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges shows that court personnel who have been trained and received technical assistance through the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) Child Abuse Training program
have been able to develop cost-effective collaborative system reform efforts. Research supported by the National Institute of Justice shows that well-trained courts that issue protection orders appropriately in domestic violence cases can save state significant
money. Kentucky alone saved $85 million in averted costs when courts issued effective protection orders in domestic violence cases.

To sign on please fill out this form. If you have any questions, please contact Chay Halbert (Takano) at chay.halbert@mail.house.gov,
202-225-2305, Justin Vogt (Torres) at Justin.Vogt@mail.house.gov, 202-225-6161, or Michelle Rakebrand (Glenn Thompson) at Michelle.Rakebrand@mail.house.gov,
202-225-5121.

Sincerely,

 

Mark Takano                         Norma J. Torres                         Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson

Member of Congress             Member of Congress                 Member of Congress

 

Letter Text:

Dear Chairman Culberson and Ranking Member Serrano:

As you begin deliberations on the Fiscal Year 2019 Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations bill, we respectfully urge you to allocate $4 million for the Child Abuse Training for Judicial Personnel program and $17 million for the Grants
to Support Families in the Justice System program. These Department of Justice grant programs are authorized in the Violence Against Women Act of 2013 (VAWA), and they serve as a critical backbone to our nation’s response to child abuse, neglect,
and domestic violence.

When Congress passed VAWA, the bill empowered judges with significant responsibility to oversee family violence, foster care, juvenile justice, and child welfare matters. The purpose of giving judges such power was to ensure the protection of our most vulnerable
children and families. Juvenile and family state and tribal court judges are required to make difficult decisions impacting children, families, and communities on a daily basis. These can include decisions about termination of parental rights, child abuse
and neglect, domestic violence, juvenile delinquency, divorce, and other matters. Unlike other court systems, judges hearing juvenile and family cases must understand not only the law and the facts of the case, but the dynamics impacting the children and family
members before them.

As the critical federal programs in VAWA have been reauthorized over the years, Congress has increased judicial oversight over juvenile justice and child welfare matters. Specialized and cutting-edge training for juvenile and family court judges, which is
often not provided at the state level, helps ensure that these court systems effectively implement federal laws and serve victims of abuse, their children, and their families.

Children in America continue to be victims of abuse at alarming rates. An estimated 676,000 children were found to be victims of abuse and neglect nationwide in 2016, while the estimate of children who received a child protective services investigation response
or alternative response increased by 9.5 percent from 2012.[1] Similar to youth involved with dependency court, nearly all youth who
enter the juvenile justice system have histories of trauma, and many justice-involved youth report exposure to chronic trauma across childhood and adolescence. It is therefore not surprising that youth in the dependency system are at risk for entering the
delinquency system.

Domestic violence cases now represent a substantial proportion of all cases processed by state criminal and civil courts. The most recent estimates indicate that 5 million children witness domestic violence in their homes each year.[2] Children
who live in homes with domestic violence also suffer abuse or neglect at high rates – 30-60%.

More than one in three women in the United States has experienced rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetime. Approximately one third of these incidents of intimate partner violence take place in homes in which children
ages twelve and under reside, and multiple studies confirm that perpetrators of domestic violence are commonly perpetrators of child abuse (30-60% of the time). Despite the prevalence of domestic violence, and the fact that it has such significance for victim
parents and their children, family courts have limited experience with identifying domestic violence or accounting for it in the decisions they make.

Court personnel who have been trained and received technical assistance through the Child Abuse Training for Judicial Personnel program help to make courts more competent in child safety and well-being. The training allows court personnel to provide swift,
fair, and coordinated justice to children and families presenting a multitude of different issues across case types. The training also helps court personnel evaluate cost-effective collaborative system reforms that improve efficiency and promote child safety
and well-being. Early intervention and the provision of appropriate services for children and families in the child welfare system can realize substantial savings by preventing children from crossing over to the juvenile justice system and saving tax-payer’s
money, such as the estimated $401 per day or $146,302[3] per year it costs to confine a child. Equally important, providing specialized
training to juvenile courts and court-appointed advocates can save foster children nearly seven and a half months in the court system. As a result of spending less time in the court system, foster children may experience less trauma, fewer out of home placements,
and have improved educational stability.

Courts have expressed how domestic violence cases have become more complicated than before.  There is significant need to build efficient and effective responses when domestic violence is involved. More federal grant opportunities for courts are necessary
to help jurisdictions assess and enhance court infrastructure to better serve the needs of battered women and children and support judicial training efforts.

The Grants to Support Families in the Justice System provides training and best practices for committed judges to use to improve safety for children and their families. In a single 6-month grant report period (January-June, 2014) Justice for Families grantees:

  • provided supervised visitation services to over 600 families;
  • provided advocacy services to over 800 survivors of domestic, dating, and sexual violence, including civil legal and criminal justice advocacy, court accompaniment, and protection order assistance; and
  • conducted review hearings/judicial monitoring of over 2,500 offenders (scrutinizing protection order compliance, new criminal behavior, and failure to attend mandated intervention programs).

Research supported by the National Institute of Justice shows that well-trained courts that issue protection orders appropriately in domestic violence cases can save states significant money; Kentucky alone saved $85 million in averted costs when courts
issued effective protection orders in domestic violence cases.

Your tremendous leadership in providing resources to children and families victimized by domestic violence and child abuse and neglect has been invaluable. While we understand the fiscal constraints you are under, we respectfully request that you continue
your commitment to this issue by ensuring that local justice systems are fully equipped to respond to family, domestic, and youth violence cases and to measure the impact of these interventions on the safety and well-being of our nation’s families.

 

Sincerely,

 


[1] U.S. Administration for Children and Families, Child Maltreatment 2016. Go to https://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/cb/cm2016.pdf

 

[2] Futures Without Violence:  The Facts on Children’s Exposure to Intimate Partner Violence. Go to https://www.futureswithoutviolence.org/userfiles/file/Fact%20sheet%20on%20Children%20Exposed%20to%20IPV%202013.pdf

 

[3] Justice Policy Institute. Factsheet:  What taxpayers pay to incarcerate youth. Updated March-2015. Go to http://www.justicepolicy.org/uploads/justicepolicy/documents/factsheet_costs_of_confinement.pdf

Related Legislative Issues

Selected legislative information: Appropriations, Family Issues, Judiciary

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