ACTION ALERT: Contact the Senate HELP Committee today and ask them to increase authorization levels and funding for CAPTA

Originally enacted in 1974, the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) is the only federal program exclusively dedicated to the prevention, assessment, identification, and treatment of child abuse and neglect.

On May 20, the US House of Representatives unanimously passed Stronger CAPTA, a bold, bipartisan response to combat the rising rates of child maltreatment occurring as the opioid crisis devastates families and communities across the country. Stronger CAPTA will:

  • Shift focus toward prevention by helping states build networks of cost-effective and locally driven services that prevent child abuse and strengthen families;
  • Increase federal funding authorization levels;
  • Support evidence-based strategies to treat and prevent child abuse and neglect; and
  • Improve transparency, accountability, and focus on key priorities.

The bill increases authorization levels to $270 million for both Title I & II—but this is still just a drop in the bucket compared to taxpayer dollars spent after neglect or abuse has occurred.

The Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions (HELP) Committee must act on CAPTA now. We need you to contact your senator today—and mobilize your network to do the same—and request he/she increase authorization levels to $1 billion—$500 million for Title I and $500 million for Title II provisions and pass a comprehensive CAPTA reauthorization bill today.  

Here’s what you can do if your senator sits on the Senate HELP Committee (see directory below):

1. Contact your senator today.

Use the Senate HELP Committee directory at the bottom of this document to identify and contact your senator, or call the congressional switchboard at 202-224-3121, and ask to be connected with your senator.

When you reach your senator’s receptionist, identify yourself as a constituent—clearly stating your name and the town or city and state where you live—and ask to speak to him/her directly. You may be transferred to a legislative assistant/aide, or you may be asked to leave a voice message or send an email, which is fine, but ask to be connected directly to your senator if possible. Be persistent but polite.

What to say:

When speaking or leaving/sending a message, be sure to identify yourself as a constituent—again, clearly stating your name and the town or city and state where you live—and say:

“I’m asking you to increase authorization levels and funding for CAPTA to $1 billion—$500 million for Title I and $500 million for Title II provisions and pass a comprehensive reauthorization bill to reduce child abuse and neglect and strengthen families.”

Feel free to elaborate using the sample messages below. Thank them for their time. Repeat this process at least once for each of your senators, if applicable.

Sample message #1: Increasing authorization levels and funding for CAPTA makes good financial sense.

Currently, the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) is funded at less than half its authorized level of $200 million, a drop in the bucket compared to taxpayer dollars spent after neglect or abuse has occurred. In the US, the total lifetime economic burden associated with child maltreatment is approximately $2 trillion, rivaling the cost of other high-profile public health crises, such as stroke and type two diabetes. We need to focus on proactive strategies that address problems before they occur—such as the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA). I’m asking you to increase authorization levels and funding for CAPTA to $1 billion—$500 million for Title I and $500 million for Title II provisions. Your support for CAPTA reauthorization will be the impetus for healthier children, families, and communities across the nation.

Sample message #2: Join your colleagues on both sides of the aisle who have already requested increased funding for CAPTA.

28 senators have signed a bipartisan request for increased funding for CAPTA because they know prevention services—such as evidence-based voluntary home visiting programs, early childhood and child care programs, and mental and substance use services—strengthen families across the country. These services also increase upward mobility and enable families to achieve self-sufficiency. Ultimately, they give families the tools they need to help nurture the next generation. Join your colleagues on both sides of the aisle and increase authorization levels and funding for CAPTA to $1 billion—$500 million for Title I and $500 million for Title II provisions. The well-being of our nation’s children depends on you.

Sample message #3: Reauthorize CAPTA before the August recess.

The Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) expired in 2015—we’ve already waited too long for legislation dedicated to the prevention, assessment, identification, and treatment of child abuse and neglect. Act now to help children and families in all 50 states by reauthorizing CAPTA before the August recess.

2. Encourage family and friends to join you.

We all play a role in creating healthy childhoods. Reach out to relatives and your social and professional circles and urge them to contact their representatives, too—start by forwarding this message to five family members or friends and encourage them to call or write.

3. Spread the word on social media.

Take 5 minutes to show your support on social media and encourage others to take action. Follow Prevent Child Abuse America (@PCAAmerica on Twitter; @preventchildabuseamerica on Facebook) and share our posts/tweets, or create your own using the samples below. In addition to raising awareness throughout your network, Twitter is a great way to contact your representatives— contact information for members of the Senate HELP Committee can be found at: https://twitter.com/PCAAmerica/lists/senate-help-committee/members. Be sure to tag your representative and Prevent Child Abuse America and include these hashtags when posting/tweeting: #CAPTA #PreventChildAbuse #StrengthenFamilies #HealthyChildhoods

Sample tweets:

#CAPTA expired in 2015—now’s the time for Congress to act! Reauthorize and fully fund Stronger CAPTA to #PreventChildAbuse, #StrengthenFamilies, and ensure #HealthyChildhoods @PCAAmerica

Congress must act NOW to support families & children across America—reauthorize & fully fund #CAPTA today! #PreventChildAbuse #StrengthenFamilies #HealthyChildhoods @PCAAmerica

#CAPTA helps fund programs that #PreventChildAbuse and #StrengthenFamilies in all 50 states. Invest in [YOUR STATE]’s future. Fully fund & reauthorize CAPTA today! @PCAAmerica

Sample Facebook post:

I support the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (#CAPTA), which improves child health and development and helps to #StrengthenFamilies and empower communities across the country. Call your senator today and ask him/her to fully fund CAPTA at $1 billion to ensure #HealthyChildhoods and #PreventChildAbuse…follow the link to learn how https://preventchildabuse.org/latest-activity/capta-action-alert-senate-help-committee/ @PCAAmerica

4. Stay tuned for updates and additional ways you can get involved.

Senate HELP Committee
(Alphabetically by state)

Sen. Doug Jones (D–Alabama)
202-224-4124
Legislative assistant: Rebecca Howard
rebecca_howard@jones.senate.gov

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R–Alaska)
202-224-6665
Legislative aide: Anna Dietderich
anna_dietderich@murkowski.senate.gov

Sen. Chris Murphy (D–Connecticut)
202-224-4041
Legislative director: David Bonine
david_bonine@murphy.senate.gov

Sen. Johnny Isakson (R–Georgia)
202-224-3643
Legislative assistant: Michael Black
michael_black@isakson.senate.gov

Sen. Mike Braun (R–Indiana)
202-224-4814
Legislative assistant: Allison Feikes
allison_feikes@braun.senate.gov

Sen. Pat Roberts (R–Kansas)
202-224-4774
Legislative assistant: Flin Hyre
flin_hyre@roberts.senate.gov

Sen. Rand Paul (R–Kentucky)
202-224-4343
Legislative assistant: Zach Bennett
zach_bennett@paul.senate.gov

Sen. Bill Cassidy (R–Louisiana)
202-224-5824
Legislative assistant: Pamela Davidson
pamela_davidson@cassidy.senate.gov

Sen. Susan Collins (R–Maine)
202-224-2523
Legislative assistant: Katie Brown
katie_brown@collins.senate.gov

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D–Massachusetts)
202-224-4543
Legislative director: Beth Pearson
beth_pearson@warren.senate.gov

Sen. Tina Smith (D–Minnesota)
202-224-5641
Legislative Assistant: Brenna Barber
brenna_barber@smith.senate.gov

Sen. Jacky Rosen (D–Nevada)
202-224-6244
Legislative assistant: Grant Dubler
grant_dubler@rosen.senate.gov

Sen. Maggie Hassan (D–New Hampshire)
202-224-3324
Legislative director: Dave Christie
dave_christie@hassan.senate.gov

Sen. Richard Burr (R–North Carolina)
202-224-3154
Health policy assistant: Rachel Soclof
rachel_soclof@help.senate.gov

Sen. Bob Casey, Jr. (D–Pennsylvania)
202-224-6324
Legislative director: Derek Miller
derek_miller@casey.senate.gov

Sen. Tim Scott (R–South Carolina)
202-224-6121
Legislative assistant: Emily Lavery
emily_lavery@scott.senate.gov

Sen. Lamar Alexander (Chairman, R–Tennessee)
202-224-4944
Education policy staff: Jordan Hynes
jordan_hynes@help.senate.gov

Sen. Mitt Romney (R–Utah)
202-224-5251
Legislative assistant: Jess Pavel
jess_pavel@romney.senate.gov

Sen. Bernie Sanders (D–Vermont)
202-224-5141
Legislative director: Lori Kearns
lori_kearns@sanders.senate.gov

Sen. Tim Kaine (D–Virginia)
202-224-4024
Legislative assistant: Karishma Merchant
karishma_merchant@kaine.senate.gov

Sen. Patty Murray (Ranking Member, D–Washington)
202-224-2621
Education policy director: Kara Marchione
kara_marchione@help.senate.gov

Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D–Wisconsin)
202-224-5653
Legislative assistant: Rachael Kauss
rachael_kauss@baldwin.senate.gov

Sen. Mike Enzi (R–Wyoming)
202-224-3424
Legislative assistant: Conroy Stout
conroy_stout@enzi.senate.gov

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