Press Release

Rep. Cuellar Helps Secure $85 Million to Prevent Child Abuse

Stopping child abuse and expanding access to crisis resources

Washington | Olya Voytovich, DC Press Secretary (202-226-1583); Leslie Martinez, District Press Secretary (956-286-6007), July 13, 2018
WASHINGTON – Congressman Henry Cuellar (TX-28) announced his success in helping secure $85 million in funding in the U.S. House of Representative’s fiscal year 2019 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Government Agencies Appropriations bill for state grants for child abuse prevention. These funds will provide states with the means for improving their child protective service systems (CPS). In addition, he secured $1.5 million to develop and expand a national child abuse hotline which will provide youth seeking assistance with much needed improved access to crisis resources. This bill passed full committee markup on Wednesday and is scheduled for a vote on the House and Senate Floors this summer.

Reauthorized by the Keeping Children and Families Safe Act of 2003, the State Child Abuse Prevention program requires states to provide assurances in their five-year Child and Family Services plan that the State is operating a statewide child abuse and neglect program that includes several requirements, such as:

• Policies and procedures that address the needs of drug-exposed infants;
• Procedures for referral, in order of risk level, of children not at imminent risk of harm to community or preventative services;
• Training for CPS workers on their legal duties and parents’ rights; and
• Provisions to refer children under age three who are involved in a case to early intervention services.

This funding will assist states with meeting the expectation of the grants and also allow them to place a greater emphasis on the prevention-related activities to help strengthen and support families that are brought to the attention of CPS agencies across the country. The Children’s Bureau, a federal agency tasked with improving the lives of children and families, is also working with the country’s National Child Welfare Resource Centers to provide training and technical assistance to the states on best practices for CPS.

Additionally, the Congressman helped secure $1.5 million, a $500,000 increase from FY18, for an extramural grant to develop and expand a child abuse hotline to determine best practices in appropriate communication, identity verification, privacy protection, and resource sharing with victims seeking assistance.

“In FY2016, state and local child protection agencies carried out child protection responses involving 3.5 million children,” said Congressman Cuellar. “This is why I worked to secure funding for both child abuse prevention services and an improved child abuse hotline. No child deserves to be abused, and it is essential that we do everything in our power as lawmakers to ensure that child abuse victims have all the resources they need to recover and be safe.”

“I want to thank my fellow Appropriators and Labor, Health and Human Services, and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Tom Cole and Ranking Member Rosa DeLauro for helping include these provisions that will benefit abused children who need help.”

Congressman Cuellar’s additional wins include:

• $22.3 million for Emergency Medical Services for Children (EMSC). The mission of EMSC is to reduce child and youth mortality and morbidity resulting from severe illness or trauma. EMSC’s major programs focus on state partnerships which ensure that pediatric emergency care is integrated into the larger emergency medical services system. This includes the development of systems and infrastructures to improve pediatric emergency care capacity in rural and tribal communities.

• $49.4 million for CDC’s Rape Prevention and Education (RPE) program. RPE works collaboratively with diverse stakeholders, including state sexual violence coalitions, educational institutions, rape crisis centers, community organizations and other state agency partners to guide implementation of their state sexual violence prevention efforts. Their approach involves promoting comprehensive initiatives to address the factors that contribute to risk for sexual violence and fostering the factors that protect against sexual violence.

Congressman Henry Cuellar (TX-28) speaks at the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Government Agencies Appropriations Committee Markup for fiscal year 2019 in Washington on Wednesday.

See video from the markup here.

See attached bill language here.