Following the release of the independent Freeh report on the Sandusky child sexual abuse case and the revelation that Penn State administrators abdicated their moral responsibility to protect children, George Miller (D-CA), Ranking Member of the House Education and Workforce Committee, called for a hearing to investigate child maltreatment reporting laws. Chairman John Kline (R-MN) responded that possible violations of the Clery Act must be investigated first. That Act requires higher education agencies who receive federal financial aid to report information about crime on or near campus. In his letter, Kline elaborates that the committee is also working on CAPTA implementation following the December 2010 reauthorization with an eye on the newly required report on state and local child abuse prevention systems that is overdue from the administration.
Prior to the Committee’s latest reaction, Congress as a whole has proposed several responses. A flurry of bills followed news of the tragedy. CWLA joined the discussion, thanking Congress for their efforts to raise awareness regarding the reporting of child abuse and neglect and will continue to monitor their efforts. We hope that this hearing, like the previous ones, lays a foundation for further work on strengthening federal laws to better protect all children from abuse and neglect.