President Bush has signed the final two major pieces of juvenile legislation recently passed in Congress: the Protect Our Children Act, signed Monday and the Reconnecting Homeless Youth Act, signed Oct. 8.
The Protect Our Children Act, a bi-partisan effort sponsored in Congress by Sens. Joe Biden (D-Del.) and Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), gives more than $320 million to the Justice Department to fight online child pornography with advanced tracking technology and more investigators. The law also requires Internet companies to report child pornography.
The president also signed a related bill-Keeping the Internet Devoid of Sexual Predators Act that same day. This mandates sex offenders provide the National Sex Offender Registry with all their Internet identifiers, such as e-mail addresses.
The Reconnecting Homeless Youth Act authorized appropriations for the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act, which passed in Congress Sept. 30. The law increases the national budget to serve runaway and homeless youth from $113 to $165 million and includes money for shelters, counseling and other programs. In addition, the act mandates a study on runaway and homeless youth every five years in order know how to serve this group properly. It also requires a more careful review of who receives grants to favor those most experienced in running youth programs.
Terry Modglin, the public policy consultant for the National Network For Youth, said advocates consider the law a “legislative victory.”