Yesterday the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Human Resources held a hearing on the Protect Our Kids Act (H.R. 3653). This legislation establishes a commission to examine child deaths due to maltreatment and recommend ways to improve current policy and practices. Full Committee Chair David Camp (R-MI) and Subcommittee ranking member Lloyd Doggett (D-TX) developed the proposal and called the hearing to solicit input on how such a commission would best undertake this work.
Representative Doggett spoke about the serious need to
address child abuse and neglect and the undercount of child deaths due to
maltreatment. He invited those attending the hearing to work with him and the
other members of the Subcommittee to improve the bill. He stated he was looking forward to the testimony offered at the hearing to determine ways the
legislation could be perfected.
Former Representative Bill Frenzel, a guest Scholar at the Brookings Institute, testified that he has served on many similar commissions and offered suggestions in regards to the makeup of the commission members to insure high leadership qualities. Teresa Huizar, Executive Director of the National Children’s Alliance, offered support for the commission in her testimony and emphasized the need for more research due to the serious undercounting of such deaths. Madeline McClure, Executive Director of the Texas Association for the Protection of Children, is also strongly supportive of the legislation. She testified that the bill will build on prevention efforts as well as increase our understanding of the size and dimension of the challenges. David Sanders, Executive Vice President of Casey Family Programs, offered suggestions on ways to improve the commission in his testimony primarily through expanding the areas of expertise of the potential commission members.
It is unclear whether H.R. 3653 will proceed to floor for a vote before the end of this Congress but if not it will be re-introduced soon after the 113th Congress convenes in January.