Child Abuse Legislation Passes Both Chambers

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The much-discussed DREAM Act remains in limbo as the Senate and House deal on tax cuts and fiscal 2011 spending. But another youth-related bill quietly moved to the desk of President Barack Obama on Friday night.

The Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act of 2010 (CAPTA), likely the last feather in the cap of outgoing Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.), actually includes four different laws that have been grouped together for the past 15 years:

–CAPTA, originally passed in 1974, which provides federal grants to states to assist them in preventing, investigating and intervening in child abuse and neglect cases. In order to qualify for CAPTA grants, all 50 states have passed mandatory reporter laws.

–Family Violence Prevention and Services Act: funds shelters and support services for survivors of domestic violence.

–Adoption Opportunities Act: Funds efforts to eliminate barriers to adoption through data collection, information sharing and technical assistance.

–Abandoned Infants Assistance Act: Funds efforts to prevent the abandonment of infants, particularly ones born with drug dependencies or HIV, as well as family preservation or foster care services.

CAPTA reauthorization passed the Senate in early December and was sent to the House for consideration. The House passed it with minor amendments, and the Senate approved the amended bill by unanimous consent on Friday.

“The passage of the CAPTA reauthorization bill will provide states with the resources they need to keep our children and families safe,” Dodd said in a statement on his website.