Prior to the introduction of his Speak Up to Protect Every Abused Kid Act of 2011, Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) wrote to the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Subcommittee on Children and Families requesting a hearing to examine federal statutes designed to force those who witness the sexual abuse of a child to report the crime to authorities. In his letter, Casey explained that the serious nature of the allegations of sexual abuse and the evidence on the public record of failure to report by individuals at Penn State warrant a review of the relationship between federal and state reporting requirements on child abuse and neglect. Furthermore, he asked that the hearing pay special attention to the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act, which was recently reauthorized and contains a new provision to strengthen reporting of child abuse and neglect.
This week, Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), the Chairwoman of the Subcommittee, along with Ranking Member Richard Burr (R- N.C.), joined with Casey to announce that the Senate would hold its first hearing in the wake of the Penn State child abuse scandal. As a former social worker, Mikulski said she believes that the hearing will shed light on prevention and deterrence of child sexual abuse. She also thanked Casey for his
The hearing will also examine existing gaps in the system and examine proposals to improve reporting requirements. As previously reported, only 18 states currently require all adults to report suspected child abuse. Mikulski and Burr are working on putting together a balanced and comprehensive hearing which is scheduled for Tuesday, December 13th.