The legislation will create a bipartisan, two-year commission to recommend a comprehensive national strategy to reduce and prevent child abuse and child neglect fatalities.
NASW has been a longtime supporter of the bill, and submitted written testimony Dec. 12 at a U.S. House Committee on Ways and Means hearing.
In its testimony, NASW noted that the social work profession has worked tirelessly to safeguard children from child abuse and neglect and that it is vital to include social workers among the commission’s stakeholders.
“Social workers can be found in a broad array of settings serving children and families, including child welfare, mental health, health care and schools, and in early childhood, juvenile justice and family support programs,” NASW stated.
“Social workers are invested in promoting policies and practices that will prevent child abuse and neglect and reduce the number of child abuse fatalities.”
NASW also announced in a statement that a key sponsor of the Protect Our Kids Act, U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Texas, is the recipient of NASW’s 2012 Public Elected Official of the Year Award.
After the bill passed in both chambers, Doggett said it would help provide thoughtful consideration to the steps lawmakers can take to better protect vulnerable children.
“It represents an improvement on legislation that I introduced a year ago,” he said in a statement. “Working together in a bipartisan way, we can make meaningful progress on this troubling issue.”
Michael Petit, president of Every Child Matters, a member of the National Coalition to End Child Abuse Deaths, said, “For the first time in decades, a congressionally sponsored panel will be collecting information on the conditions which create violence for so many children in their own homes.”
Petit said this action will help prompt the national government to make investments in children and families a political priority.
The National Coalition to End Child Abuse Deaths also includes the National District Attorneys Association, the National Children’s Alliance and the National Center for the Review and Prevention of Child Deaths.