66ºF

Federal legislation introduced to help children at risk of abuse

New bills aim to improve child welfare system

photo

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine introduced two pieces of legislation Tuesday aimed at strengthening America's child welfare system.

The Child Welfare Workforce Support Act is designed to address high turnover rates among child welfare workers and the Protecting LGBTQ Youth Act would help prevent the mistreatment of LGBTQ youth. 

Kaine says the two bills would help ensure that there are well-trained child welfare workers to improve outcomes for vulnerable youth. 

“Abuse has devastating impacts on children’s lives, and more resources are needed to both prevent maltreatment and help those recovering from trauma. With high turnover rates among staff, America’s child welfare system often lacks workers needed to care for at-risk youth. By strengthening the child welfare workforce and specifically addressing the higher rates of abuse among LGBTQ children, these bills would help ensure that our child welfare system better supports vulnerable kids,” said Kaine.

The Child Welfare Workforce Support Act would:

  • Reduce barriers to recruitment, development, and retention of child welfare workers
  • Better support the child welfare workforce and their efforts to better meet the unique needs of infants and children
  • Provide ongoing professional development opportunities and support, including addressing secondary-trauma, to improve the retention of child welfare workers
  • Require programs to be monitored and evaluated by the Department of Health and Human Services and issue a report on outcomes from the pilot program 

The Protecting LGBTQ Youth Act would amend the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act to:  

  • Conduct research to protect LGBTQ youth from child abuse and neglect and to improve the well-being of victims
  • Expand demographic information collected to include sexual orientation and gender identity when reporting on incidences and prevalence of child maltreatment
  • Open grant funding opportunities for the training of personnel in best practices to meet the unique needs of LGBTQ youth
  • Include individuals experienced in working with LGBTQ youth and families in state task forces