On February 24, the Commission to Eliminate Child Abuse and Neglect Fatalities, a committee established by the Protect Our Kids Act of 2012, will hold its first public hearing. To attend in person participants needed to RSVP by last Friday, February 14 but for individuals that cannot attend there is a call-in phone number at 877-939-8175, with the meeting ID number 3067305 (push # when prompted for Attendee ID).
In the last hours of the 112th Congress on January 2, 2013 the Senate approved the Protect Our Kids Act, (HR 6655). The bill establishes a commission to examine child deaths in the United States. The legislation was being championed by Congressman Lloyd Doggett (D-TX) and he was later joined by the Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, Congressman David Camp (R-MI). The original bill was introduced by Senator John Kerry (D-MA) (S 1894) in the Senate. The commission has 12 members. The President selected six of the members and the House and Senate leadership each appointed three members with the majority parties selecting two of the three members. The work of the commission will be paid for by a reallocation of $2 million from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) contingency funds.
President Obama completed the selection process last September when he announced his six selections. The presidential appointees are: Dr. David Sanders, Casey Family Programs, Theresa Martha Covington, the National Center for the Review and Prevention of Child Deaths, Patricia M. Martin, Presiding Judge of the Child Protection Division, Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois, Michael R. Petit, Every Child Matters Education Fund, Jennifer Rodriguez, Youth Law Center (YLC), Dr. David Rubin, the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.
The six congressional members and who selected them are: Wade Horn, Deloitte Consulting by Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, former Congressman Bud Cramer by Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Amy Ayoub, Nevada public speaking and presentation skills coach by Majority Leader Harry Reid, Marilyn Bruguier Zimmerman, National Native Children’s Trauma Center by Senator Reid (and Senator Max Baucus), Susan Dreyfus, Alliance for Children and Families, by Speaker John Boehner, and Cassie Bevan, Graduate School of Social Policy and Practice at the University of Pennsylvania by Speaker John Boehner. An expanded biography piece and a link to the legislation is available on the National Child Abuse Coalition website.
The commission’s work includes an examination of:
- best practices in preventing child and youth fatalities that are intentionally caused due to negligence, neglect, or a failure to exercise proper care
- the effectiveness of federal, state, and local policies and systems aimed at collecting accurate and uniform data on child fatalities
- the current barriers to preventing fatalities from child abuse and neglect, and how to improve child welfare outcomes
- trends in demographic and other risk factors that are predictive of or correlated with child maltreatment, such as age of the child, child behavior, family structure, parental stress, and poverty
- methods of prioritizing child abuse and neglect prevention families with the highest need
- methods of improving data collection and utilization, such as increasing interoperability among state and local and other data systems
After working in these areas the Commission is directed to make recommendations in two general areas: reducing child fatalities resulting from abuse and neglect for federal, state, and local agencies, the private sector and nonprofit organizations, including recommendations to implement a comprehensive national strategy, and they are to develop guidelines for the type of information that should be tracked to improve interventions to prevent fatalities from child abuse and neglect.
~ Written by John Sciamanna