POLICY UPDATE: Congress holds CAPTA hearings

L toR: Judy King, Marissa Morabito, LaCrisha Rose, Bradley Thomas & Yo Jackson


On Tuesday, March 26, the US House Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Human Services, within the House Education and Labor Committee, held a hearing on “Strengthening Prevention and Treatment of Child Abuse and Neglect” (you can watch the full hearing in the embedded video below, beginning at 53:04). This was the first congressional hearing on the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) since 2010. In the decade since our last congressional discourse, a lot has changed for the better in the child welfare field, and all witnesses in attendance—including Prevent Child Abuse Washington Executive Director Judy King— were in agreement on the basic principles and need for upstream primary prevention through CAPTA. Here’s the full roster of witnesses, with links to their testimony:

  • Dr. Yo Jackson, Ph.D., ABPP, Associate Director, Child Maltreatment Solutions Network; Professor of Psychology, College of Liberal Arts, Penn State University; Research Professor, University of Kansas (view Dr. Jackson’s testimony);
  • Judy King, MSW, Director of Family Support Programs, Washington State Department of Children, Youth, and Families; Executive Director, Prevent Child Abuse Washington (view Ms. King’s testimony);
  • Bradley Thomas, CEO, Triple P America, Inc.— Positive Parenting Program (view Mr. Thomas’s testimony); and
  • LaCrisha Rose, Parent; Facilitator, West Virginia Circle of Parents Network/TEAM for WV Children (view Ms. Rose’s testimony).

CAPTA reauthorization has truly been a bipartisan effort: Chairman Bobby Scott (D-VA) and Ranking Member Virginia Foxx (R-NC) were in attendance during the proceedings, and representatives from both parties enthusiastically discussed child abuse prevention and sought additional information from our witnesses, including perspectives from impacted families and service providers and examples of recent innovative research.

“We cannot continue to have a child welfare system that is reactive…we must shift our focus toward preventing abuse and neglect…we need a focus on community based prevention…we need wrap-around services and streamlining communication between and among states to connect the dots and prevent cases of maltreatment no matter where they occur. We must work together to work on services that prevent and not just treat child abuse and neglect. ”

—Susan Bonamici (D-OR), Chairwoman of the Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Human Services

“No child should ever have to endure the pain of abuse or neglect…Efforts should begin with prevention and educating parents and caregivers on how to keep children safe…”

—James Comer (R-KY), Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Human Services

There’s still work to be done, though, and we need your help. The legislative session ends on April 15, after which representatives will be on break in their districts until April 29. This is an ideal opportunity to meet your representative in person and stress the importance of prevention funding for your state through CAPTA and Title II CB-CAP grants—urge him/her to reauthorize CAPTA now. (You can find helpful resources for these meetings in our online CAPTA toolkit.)


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