Hickenlooper Bill to Help States Prevent Child Abuse Passes Senate Committee

Colorado News

FILE—John Hickenlooper, Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate seat in Colorado, speaks during a car rally for Doug Emhoff, husband of Democratic vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris, at East High School late Thursday, Oct. 8, 2020, in Denver. More than 70 motorists took part in the rally to urge people to get out and vote in the upcoming election. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senator John Hickenlooper today applauded the unanimous vote to move his Strengthening Families Act out of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee. The bill would help states prevent child abuse by modifying the Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention (CBCAP) grants to clarify how states can use the funds. Because current law is unclear, many states are unable to use these grants for their intended purpose. Hickenlooper’s bill passed out of committee as part of the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) Reauthorization Act of 2021.

“We have to make it easier for states to support families and prevent child abuse,” said Hickenlooper. “Clarifying how states can use these funds will do that.”

Full text of the bill is available HERE.

The CBCAP program helps  families get the support they need before abuse ever occurs. Existing law allows states to use CBCAP grants to enhance “protective factors,” which serve as safeguards, helping parents who might otherwise be at risk of abusing their children find resources, support, or coping strategies that allow them to parent effectively.

Protective factors are ill-defined under existing law, leaving many states unsure of which programs qualify for the grants.

Specifically, the bill would:

  • Define protective factors as areas that have been demonstrated to ensure that families are less likely to experience child abuse and neglect. Protective factors include knowledge of parenting and child development, parental resilience, social connections, support in times of need, and support for the social and emotional development of children.
  • Promote coordination between local programs, public agencies, and relevant private providers to develop and expand primary preventive support programs that promote child, parent, and family well-being, with a focus on increasing access to services for diverse populations.

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