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Casey Bill Would Strengthen Protections for Children in Danger

Child Abuse & Neglect
Child Rights

Washington — U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) introduced legislation today to strengthen protections for children victimized by abuse or neglect. While federal law currently requires states to establish mandatory child abuse and neglect reporting laws, it does not delineate who must report abuse and neglect. While retaining states’ flexibility to define other “mandatory reporters,” the Speak Up to Protect Every Abused Kid Act (“SPEAK Up Act”) would specify that individuals working in professional or volunteer capacities directly with children, including health professionals and school employees, must report incidences and suspected cases of child abuse or neglect. The proposal would also provide federal grants to help states educate and train adults who work with children on warning signs of abuse or neglect, appropriate reporting, and available prevention resources. It also requires improved coordination between states in child abuse and neglect investigations, so jurisdictional boundaries don’t impede thorough and timely investigations.

In response, First Focus Campaign for Children President Bruce Lesley released the following statement:

“A child in danger should never be ignored. We applaud Senator Casey for his leadership in increasing protections for children. Authorities can’t stop abuse or neglect if they don’t know about it, so this legislation responds to an urgent need, and we urge congressional leadership to advance this important proposal.”