Bi-cameral and bi-partisan legislation (H.R. 3653 and S. 1984) to create a commission on reducing child fatalities was introduced yesterday by Representatives Lloyd Doggett (D-TX), Joseph Crowley (D-NY) and Senators John Kerry (D-MA) and Susan Collins (R-ME). The legislation would have the president appoint a commission composed of 12 to 15 stakeholders with various expertise in related fields including, social work, health, law, and education. The commission would study pertinent topics including the incidence of child fatalities, record keeping, best practices, and resource limitations. Then, the commission would develop a strategy engaging federal, state and local agencies and private organizations to respond to maltreatment and reduce child fatalities. The commission’s recommendations would be due within in three years and the legislation would authorize $2 million to meet associated expenses.
At a recent hearing of the House Ways and Means Human Resources Subcommittee on child deaths due to maltreatment, Ranking Member Doggett said, “In order to begin to address this kind of tragedy, we must begin to improve our understanding of the causes of abuse and neglect and determine what steps we can take to prevent this kind of maltreatment. This bipartisan commission is the first step in developing a coordinated, national response.” Remarking on the legislation, Senator Kerry said, “Our bill will elevate this issue and give child abuse the laser-like focus it requires. I’m confident we will secure the support needed from both parties to get it passed and signed into law.” CWLA endorses this legislation.