Today's bill S.1984, Protect Our Kids Act of 2011, sponsored by Senator John Kerry and Senator Susan Collins was introduced on December 13, 2011. The bill's goal is to establish a commission to develop a national strategy and recommendations for reducing fatalities resulting from child abuse and neglect. The House has introduced the companion bill H.R. 3653 sponsored by Representative Lloyd Doggett and Representative Joseph Crowley.
Why establish a commission now?
- Deaths from child abuse and neglect are preventable.
- Deaths from child abuse and neglect are significantly underreported.
- There is no national standard for reporting these deaths.
Statistics on Child Abuse and Neglect Deaths:
- In 2009, approximately 1,770 children are reported to have died from child abuse and neglect
- Nearly ½ of the children were under age 1 and approximately 80% are under age 4
- Nearly 36% were cause by neglect
- 23% were from physical abuse
- More than 36% were cause by multiple forms of maltreatment
What will the commission look like?
The commission will be comprised of members from a variety of backgrounds including law enforcement, medicine, social services and education. The commission will study the incidents of child abuse and neglect, practices that focus on prevention, current limitations and barriers to preventing fatalities, and identify training and education standards for child welfare workers. The commission will also study the roles of families and coordination of resources. Check out the bill for a full list of the matters that will be studied.
The Foreign Policy Association has addressed the recent legislation that was introduced and the support from organizations around the Nation.
What do you think the outcome of the study will be? How do you feel it may affect the work you do with families in the child welfare system?