Senator Alexander Helps Send Child Abuse Prevention Act To Senate Floor

Posted on May 22, 2003

WASHINGTON — As a conference committee member, U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander today played a role in sending the "Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA)" to the Senate floor. The legislation authorizes funding for research and demonstration projects dedicated to preventing and treating child abuse and neglect and provides grants to states to improve child protection systems and community-based family resource and support services. "This is vital legislation that protects our most precious resource, our children," Alexander said. "The changes made to this program will encourage new training and better qualifications for child and family service workers. "Additionally, this program will create or improve coordination between child protection services and education, health, mental health, and judicial systems to ensure that children who are abused and neglected are properly identified and receive referrals to appropriate services." The main objectives of the bill are to:
  • Train workers on how to best work with families from initial investigation through treatment;
  • Increase cross-training for workers to better recognize neglect, domestic violence or substance abuse in a family;
  • Promote partnerships that offer creative approaches to meet the needs of abused children.
Tennessee programs funded by CAPTA include:
  • Catholic Charities, Chap-Plus: The purpose of Chap-Plus is to provide services to families in Davidson County that will reduce the likelihood of abuse of children born drug-affected or who have a life threatening disease. Referrals come from the medical community and the Department of Children's Services.
  • Child and Family Services, Therapeutic Visitation Services: This grant funded a pilot project to provide intensive service to families with children in the foster care system from four rural areas in east Tennessee. The goal is to preserve and strengthen family relationships while facilitating visitation between children and biological parents.
  • Wicklander/Zowloski, Investigative Interviewing Techniques: The purpose of this training is to provide cross-training seminars for Child Protective Service and Law Enforcement staff. The training provides trainees with the tools to accurately obtain information leading to better case assessment.
  • University of Tennessee, Legally Defensible Child Interviewing: This grant provides training to Child Protective Services case managers who are legally mandated to work in multidisciplinary investigative teams. Participants learned skills to improve their performance in conducting effective child interviews.
  • University of Tennessee, Citizen Review Panel and Support Services: This grant provides the technical support to facilitate the activities of three Citizen Review Panels and to generate the annual report. Additionally, this project assists DCS to comply with the Tennessee legislature mandated annual report on severe abuse and sexual abuse investigations and facilitates the coordination of Methamphetamine Action Teams in rural Tennessee areas to address the growing child protection issues associated with methamphetamine production.
Alexander, an original co-sponsor of the bill, is one of five appointed conferees from the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee. He chairs the Subcommittee on Children and Families. Other senate conferees include Sens. Judd Gregg (R-NH), Mike DeWine (R-OH), Edward Kennedy (D-MA) and Christopher Dodd (D-CT). The conference committee met today to reconcile the House and Senate versions of the CAPTA bill.