Washington, D.C. — The Health Committee voted to advance the reauthorization of the bipartisan Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA), which includes measures that U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) fought to include to ensure that family members caring for children are eligible for necessary support services. CAPTA is the only federal program dedicated exclusively to the prevention, assessment, identification, and treatment of child abuse and neglect.
A growing consequence of the opioid crisis is an increasing number of grandparents raising their grandchildren because the children’s parents overdosed or are absent due to substance use disorders. Earlier this year, Senators Collins and Hassan introduced the bipartisan Help Grandfamilies Prevent Child Abuse Act, legislation that provides greater support services to meet the unique needs of children who have experienced trauma, including exposure to substance misuse.
“Throughout the United States, the opioid epidemic continues to devastate families, and grandparents increasingly are being called on to become the primary caregivers of their grandchildren. Although this caretaker role can be a source of tremendous comfort and stability for families, it also presents several challenges,” said Senator Collins. “The Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act will help ensure that grandparents have access to important resources they need to help their grandchildren succeed.”
“Grandparents and other relatives who are primary caregivers for children impacted by the opioid crisis are taking on an enormous and crucial responsibility, and they need additional support,” Senator Hassan said. “I am pleased that the reauthorization of the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act rightfully makes sure that grandfamilies and other caregivers are eligible for child services under this bill, which helps ensure that both caregivers and children have what they need to thrive.”
As the Chairman of the Senate Aging Committee, Senator Collins authored key legislation that created a one-stop-shop of resources to support grandparents raising grandchildren. The Supporting Grandparents Raising Children Act was cosponsored by Senator Hassan and was signed into law last June.