The Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Administrative Oversight and the Courts held a hearing on “Protecting Our Children: The Importance of Training Child Protection Professionals.” Subcommittee Chair Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) is planning to introduce the Child Protection Training Act. This legislation will focus on improving and expanding training opportunities and quality to all who come in contact with children in their professional lives. Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA) ranking member of the Judiciary Committee spoke during the hearing about the need to provide high quality training and to make sure all the various agencies involved coordinate and reduce any overlap or duplication.
The first witness at the hearing Melodee Hanes, Acting Administrator of the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, U.S. Department of Justice, highlighted the need to substantially expand training opportunities for many disciplines that come in contact with children. Other panelists included Victor Vieth, Executive Director, National Child Protection Training Center; Michael Johnson, Director of Youth Protection, Boy Scouts of America; Chris Newlin, Executive Director, National Children’s Advocacy Center; and Stephanie Smith, Southern Regional Director, National Child Protection Training Center. All spoke strongly in favor of the need for increased resources to substantially expand training. Veith emphasized that we must end the current practice of on-the-job-training for child abuse investigators. Johnson underscored the importance of multi-disciplinary training. Newlin described how the NCAC, started by former Representative Bud Cramer (D-AL) has revolutionized training practices but much more needs to be done. Smith highlighted that many supervisors are not able to send their staff to training due to lack of resources.
More information on the hearing, including the testimonies of all the witnesses can be found on the committee website.