Sending Office: Honorable Kim Schrier
Sent By:
Alex.Payne@mail.house.gov

        Request for Cosponsor(s)

Support Funding for Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) Programs

Dear Colleague:

The Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) provides grants to states to help states respond to child abuse and neglect. Those funds are used for a variety of services and supports including establishing plans of safe care to protect newborns with
prenatal illegal substance exposure, investing in community-based prevention efforts focused on supporting families, helping create abuse and neglect investigation and reporting standards, and eliminating barriers to adoption.

While a majority of child welfare resources comes from Title IV of the Social Security Act, that funding is directed towards much of the foster care system. CAPTA is integral in assisting states help prevent children and families from ever needing to enter
the foster care system by providing preventative services to children and parents. Unfortunately, funding for CAPTA has been well below its authorized levels that were established in 2010. Meanwhile, substance abuse and addiction to opioids is the fastest
growing reason for removing children from their parents.

Addressing substance abuse and other reasons for children entering the foster care system are best done through prevention activities, not incarceration or punishment. CAPTA programs are these prevention activities.
That is why we are requesting a meaningful funding increase for CAPTA in the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Fiscal Year 2020 appropriations bill.

We hope you will join us in urging House Appropriators to include increased funding for CAPTA in FY 2020. The letter will close COB Mar. 25. Any additional questions can be directed to Alex Payne (Alex.Payne@mail.house.gov) with Representative Kim Schrier’s
Office or Woo Lim (Woo.Lim@mail.house.gov) with Representative Lori Trahan’s Office.

If you would like to sign onto the letter, please fill out this
form
.

 

Sincerely,

Kim Schrier

Member of Congress

Lori Trahan

Member of Congress

March 28, 2019

The Honorable Nita Lowey, Chairwoman
House Appropriations Committee

H-305, The Capitol
Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable Kay Granger, Ranking Member
House Appropriations Committee

1016 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable Rosa DeLauro, Chairwoman
House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education

2368-B Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable Tom Cole, Ranking Member
House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education

1016 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

 

Dear Chairwoman Lowey, Ranking Member Granger, Chairwoman DeLauro, and Ranking Member Cole:

As you consider the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Fiscal Year 2020 Appropriations bill, we write to express our support for a meaningful funding increase for the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA).

Enacted in 1974, CAPTA is foundational to our child protection system, and includes important provisions to promote the full continuum of services aimed at keeping vulnerable children and their parents and families out of the foster care system. Unfortunately,
CAPTA has been chronically under-resourced and, as a result, the law has not lived up to its potential. Substantial resources are necessary for states to implement the systems, protections, and community-based services that Congress has long envisioned in
order to effectively prevent as well as treat child abuse and neglect.

Increasing appropriations for CAPTA is essential to reducing the rates of child abuse and neglect in this country. Largely due to the opioid crisis, the number of children in foster care has risen for five consecutive years, and parental substance abuse
that leads to the removal of a child is rising faster than any other reason for removal. CAPTA is a critical lever in our federal efforts to address the impact of opioids and other substances on parents, children, and families. Therefore, we must increase
resources to help stem the tide of children being removed from their homes and placed into foster care.

Title I of the law focuses on providing a social service response to parents, children, and families at risk and includes a number of important assurances that states must make aimed at keeping children safe and, where possible, keeping children safely with
their parents and families. But Title I CAPTA state grants are funded at $85 million, which is below the 2010 authorized level of $120 million and does not come close to providing states with the resources they need to prevent child abuse and neglect and provide
treatment.

The Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention grants (CB-CAP), included in Title II of CAPTA, are already helping to support community-based approaches to child abuse and neglect prevention in all fifty states. These grants are designed to meet the specific
needs of individual communities and carried out by robust public-private partnerships that use federal funding to leverage greater state and local public and private funds. Title II CB-CAP, however, is funded at $39.8 million, which is well below its 2010
authorization of $80 million and limits states and local communities in supporting the many different family strengthening services that reduce incidences of child abuse and neglect. Both authorizations targets are now a decade old.

Leading officials and experts have long recognized the importance of increasing resources for CAPTA. The Congressionally-commissioned National Commission to End Child Abuse and Neglect (CECANF) recognized the fundamental role CAPTA plays in our national
system to support parents and families and keep children safe. In its 2016 report, the Commission recognized how CAPTA’s chronic underfunding has compromised child safety and recommended that Congress authorize and appropriate at least $1 billion to the base
allotment for CAPTA to improve outcomes for children, parents, and families and prevent the need for foster care.

Jerry Milner, Commissioner of the Children’s Bureau, has also acknowledged the necessity of rethinking our approach to child maltreatment, and investing in prevention rather than systems that react after a problem has already occurred. In his words: “We
need to change the focus on child welfare to primary prevention of maltreatment and unnecessary removal of children from their families. We can only break the cycle of family disruption and maltreatment by addressing the root causes of those situations.” Increasing
appropriations for CAPTA offers us a crucial opportunity to do just that.

We urge you to provide new resources to a reformed CAPTA to support a new vision of child welfare that truly supports families and effectively prevents child abuse and neglect. Thank you for considering our request.

Sincerely,

 

Related Legislative Issues

Selected legislative information: Appropriations, Civil Rights, HealthCare

icon eDC logo e-Dear Colleague version 2.0
 
e-Dear Colleagues are intended for internal House use only.