Bipartisan legislation introduced by Representative Josh Harder (CA-10) to help prevent child abuse passed the House of Representatives unanimously this week as part of the Stronger Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA). The provision aims to strengthen Child Protective Services’ (CPS) ability to respond to child abuse and neglect resulting from Substance Use Disorder (SUD). Rep. Harder introduced the legislation with support from Republican Rep. Dan Meuser of Pennsylvania.
“It’s incredibly sad and troubling that so many Central Valley children are living in homes where they have to fear for their safety,” said Rep. Harder. “This legislation will help to get parents who suffer with addiction back on their feet while also empowering CPS to guarantee their children are protected.”
“As the opioid epidemic continues to devastate our communities and loved ones, children are suffering the consequences,” added Rep. Dan Meuser (PA-9). “This amendment will provide much-needed support to communities fighting to protect children from harm and neglect.”
Rep. Harder’s amendment directs federal grants to states to intake and assess reports of child abuse and neglect resulting from SUD and improve legal preparation and representation for survivors of abuse.
According to a 2017 report compiled by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, one in eight children lived with a parent who had SUD. In Stanislaus County, as many as 3,400 people struggle with opioid use disorder alone and more than 1,600 children experienced physical abuse in 2015.
The amendment is cosponsored by Republican Dan Meuser and was passed unanimously by the House Education and Labor Committee earlier this month. To become law, it must also pass the Senate and be signed by the president.
Last week, Harder passed an amendment he authored through the House of Representatives which would improve health care access for people struggling with addictions. The week before that, he worked to pass another amendment he introduced through the House which would require the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to offer expert analysis on the impact that the administration’s support of junk health care plans would have on access to mental health care.