Originally enacted in 1974, the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) is the only federal program exclusively dedicated to the prevention, assessment, identification,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
#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)
Legislative assistant: Rebecca Howard
Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R–Alaska)
Legislative aide: Anna Dietderich
Sen. Chris Murphy (D–Connecticut)
Legislative director: David Bonine
Sen. Johnny Isakson (R–Georgia)
Legislative assistant: Michael Black
Sen. Mike Braun (R–Indiana)
Legislative assistant: Allison Feikes
Sen. Pat Roberts (R–Kansas)
Legislative assistant: Flin Hyre
Sen. Rand Paul (R–Kentucky)
Legislative assistant: Zach Bennett
Sen. Bill Cassidy (R–Louisiana)
Legislative assistant: Pamela Davidson
Sen. Susan Collins (R–Maine)
Legislative assistant: Katie Brown
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D–Massachusetts)
Legislative director: Beth Pearson
Sen. Tina Smith (D–Minnesota)
Legislative Assistant: Brenna Barber
Sen. Jacky Rosen (D–Nevada)
Legislative assistant: Grant Dubler
Sen. Maggie Hassan (D–New Hampshire)
Legislative director: Dave Christie
Sen. Richard Burr (R–North Carolina)
Health policy assistant: Rachel Soclof
Sen. Bob Casey, Jr. (D–Pennsylvania)
Legislative director: Derek Miller
Sen. Tim Scott (R–South Carolina)
Legislative assistant: Emily Lavery
Sen. Lamar Alexander (Chairman, R–Tennessee)
Education policy staff: Jordan Hynes
Sen. Mitt Romney (R–Utah)
Legislative assistant: Jess Pavel
Sen. Bernie Sanders (D–Vermont)
Legislative director: Lori Kearns
Sen. Tim Kaine (D–Virginia)
Legislative assistant: Karishma Merchant
Sen. Patty Murray (Ranking Member, D–Washington)
Education policy director: Kara Marchione
Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D–Wisconsin)
Legislative assistant: Rachael Kauss
Sen. Mike Enzi (R–Wyoming)
Legislative assistant: Conroy Stout
Click here to view and download a PDF version of this web page.