CONGRESSWOMAN ELISE STEFANIK
On Monday, January 26, 2015, the House will consider H.R. 469, the Strengthening Child Welfare Response to Trafficking Act of 2015, under a suspension of the rules. H.R. 469 was introduced on January 22, 2015 by Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA) and referred to the Committee on Education and the Workforce.
H.R. 469 is substantively identical to H.R. 5081, the Strengthening Child Welfare Response to Trafficking Act of 2014, which passed the House on July 25, 2014 by a vote of 399-0. (See Roll Call #454).
H.R. 469 amends Section 106 of the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) to add assurances in the state plan for grants for child abuse or neglect prevention and treatment programs, including: 1) provisions and procedures to identify and assess reports involving children who are sex trafficking victims; 2) provisions and procedures for training representatives of the state child protective services systems about identifying and assessing children who are sex trafficking victims; and 3) provisions and procedures for identifying services and procedures for appropriate referral to address the needs of children who are sex trafficking victims. The state will also report the number of children identified as sex trafficking victims in the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System.
This legislation also requires the Secretary of HHS to submit a report to Congress within one year of enactment that: 1) describes the type and prevalence of severe forms of trafficking in persons to which children who are identified for services in the child welfare system have been subjected; 2) summarizes the practices and protocols utilized by states to identify and serve children who are victims of trafficking (or are at risk of being trafficked); and 3) specifies any barriers in federal laws or regulations that may prevent identification and assessment of children who are victims of trafficking.
In 1974, Congress passed CAPTA as the key federal legislation addressing child abuse and neglect to improve the response to, and understanding of, its occurrence. Among the programs that CAPTA authorizes are formula grants to states and territories to help improve their child protective services (CPS) systems, in exchange for state compliance on reporting, investigation, and treatment of child abuse or neglect. This legislation will improve practices within state child welfare systems to identify, assess, and document sex trafficking victims.
 Emilie Stoltzfus, “The Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA): Background, Programs, and Funding,” Congressional Research Service (Nov. 4, 2009), at 1.
A CBO cost estimate is currently unavailable. However, an informal CBO estimate states that this legislation would not increase direct spending or revenues.
For questions or further information contact the GOP Conference at 5-5107.