DearColleague.us

Letter

Sending Office: Honorable Ann M. Kuster
Sent By:
Sam.Cooper-Wall@mail.house.gov

        Request for Signature(s)

Help Protect Children and Animals from Violence

Deadline: NOON Wednesday, March 11

Dear Colleague:

We invite you to sign on to this year’s bipartisan appropriations letter urging the inclusion of report language that encourages the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to specifically collect and analyze data on the disturbing intersectionality
of child and animal abuse.

Animal abuse is a serious crime in and of itself, and significantly, well documented evidence has identified a strong link between it and child abuse, domestic violence, and elder abuse. For example, committing animal abuse is a better predictor of sexual
assault conduct than previous convictions for homicide, arson, or weapons offenses. Several studies and surveys have found that in households where animal abuse is present, domestic violence or child abuse is also likely to be found.  A survey of families
in New Jersey who had been referred for physical child abuse found that animal abuse was also present in 88 percent of those homes.

The Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) of 1988 directs the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to create a national data collection and analysis program for state-level child abuse and neglect information. CAPTA
identified several facets of child abuse for specific study, including: the prevalence of abuse among children with disabilities, those living in families with alcoholism, and how legal representation of children in child abuse cases is provided in each state.
These are also factors that, if identified, can be addressed before child abuse occurs.

Adding the intersectionality of child and animal abuse to data that NCANDS specifically gathers and assesses will enhance our understanding of both of these abhorrent behaviors and will provide a better foundation for screening, prevention, and treatment
programs. To sign on, please contact Sam in Rep. Kuster’s office (Sam.Cooper-Wall@mail.house.gov) or Elizabeth in Rep. Katko’s office (Elizabeth.White@mail.house.gov).
 

Sincerely,

Ann McLane Kuster            John Katko

Member of Congress           Member of Congress

_______________________

Dear Chairwoman DeLauro and Ranking Member Cole:  

As the House Appropriations Committee and Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Subcommittee (Labor-HHS) begin work on the Fiscal Year 2021 (FY21) Appropriations Bill, we write to respectfully request that you include report language that encourages
the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to specifically collect and analyze data on the disturbing intersectionality of child and animal abuse. 

Animal abuse is a serious crime in and of itself, and significantly, well documented evidence has identified a strong link between it and child abuse, domestic violence, and elder abuse. For example, committing animal abuse is a better predictor of sexual
assault conduct than previous convictions for homicide, arson, or weapons offenses. Several studies and surveys have found that in households where animal abuse is present, domestic violence or child abuse is also likely to be found.  A survey of families
in New Jersey who had been referred for physical child abuse found that animal abuse was also present in 88 percent of those homes. As Dr. Lynn Loar wrote, “The behavior that harms the animal is the same behavior that harms the human.”  

The Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) of 1988 directs the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to create a national data collection and analysis program for state-level child abuse and neglect information. The
resulting National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System (NCANDS) compiles and analyzes information about reports voluntarily submitted by child protective services (CPS) from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. These data are used to examine
trends in child abuse and neglect across the country, and key findings are published in Child Welfare Outcomes Reports to Congress and annual Child Maltreatment reports. NCANDS data help to inform the need for screening and preventive services, and “allow
analysis of victim, caretaker, and perpetrator characteristics, as well as responses to abused/neglected children in need of services.”

CAPTA identified several facets of child abuse for specific study, including: the prevalence of abuse among children with disabilities, those living in families with alcoholism, and how legal representation of children in child abuse cases is provided in
each state. The law specifically requires maintaining and disseminating information relating to child abuse cases that are related to substance abuse, so it makes sense to do likewise with cases relating to animal cruelty as these are both factors in a household
that can increase the possibility that there will be child abuse. These are also factors that, if identified, can be addressed before child abuse occurs. Adding the intersectionality of child and animal abuse to data that NCANDS specifically gathers and assesses
will enhance our understanding of both of these abhorrent behaviors and will provide a better foundation for screening, prevention, and treatment programs.

The report language is as follows:
The National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System (NCANDS) was established in response to the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act of 1988.  It is a voluntary data collection system that gathers information from all 50 states, the District of Columbia,
and Puerto Rico about reports of child abuse and neglect. The data are used to examine trends in child abuse and neglect across the country, and its key findings are published in its Child Welfare Outcome Reports, which are submitted to Congress, and in its
annual Child Maltreatment Reports.  In light of the acknowledged close relationship between child maltreatment and animal abuse, and with exposure to animal abuse considered an Adverse Childhood Event (ACE), the Committee encourages the Department of Health
and Human Services to expand its NCANDS reports to add a category of “animal abuse” to the child and caregiver characteristics and environmental factors that may place the child at risk for maltreatment.

Thank you for your attention to this important request, and for the hard work that your Subcommittee does with funding critical federal programs. 

Sincerely,

Related Legislative Issues

Selected legislative information:Appropriations, Family Issues, HealthCare

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