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Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act a Review

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Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act A Review

Jennifer Rodriguez

Simmons College

June 6, 2017


The Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA, 2010) was signed into law in 1974 and it was created to provide funding to prevent, identify and treat child abuse. The main goal of this act was to provide agencies with tools and strategies to prevent child abuse and neglect and to help treat those who were effected by child abuse and neglect by providing them with treatment. This act also provided agencies with research of child abuse and neglect, the information varied from the number of deaths that happened due to child abuse to the number of cases that were found to be sustained or not sustained. The act also created some agencies to help with child abuse and those were the: Office of Child Abuse and Neglect who coordinated the activities for the act, the National Clearing House on Child Abuse and Neglect Information that provided agencies with data of child abuse and neglect. The act provided agencies public, private and community based organization with the planning, improving, developing, and carrying out programs and activities that also included the replication of successful program models that related to the prevention, assessment, identification, and treatment of child abuse and neglect. The target populations of this act are private, public agencies and the community based organizations (CAPTA, 2010).


The agencies that are in charge of implementing the benefits for CAPTA are the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and under the umbrella of the HHS are the Children’s Bureau, Administration on Children, Youth and Families, Administration for Children and Families. These agencies are the ones who award the grants to the various agencies such as private, public agencies, community based agencies and nonprofit agencies throughout the United States for the implementation of programs to prevent and treat child abuse (CAPTA, 2010).


The policy has created a variety of programs to help with the prevention and treatment of child abuse. The CAPTA uses its funds in the form of grants from the federal government to enter into contracts with agencies who are States, Indian tribes or tribal organizations, or public agencies or private agencies or organizations (or combinations of such entities) for programs and projects that take care of training programs to train professional and paraprofessional personnel who may be working closely with preventing child abuse (CAPTA, 2010). Some of these professionals are ones who work in the fields of health care, medicine, law enforcement, judiciary, social work and child protection, education, child care, and others or CASA advocates and guardian ad litem (CAPTA, 2010).  It also provides for the establishment of resource centers to provide information and training to professionals working in the field of child abuse and neglect. The act may also provide grants to agencies for triage procedure such as accepting, screenings, and assessing reports received to determine if reports may need further intensive intervention that may require voluntary referral to another agency, program, or project referral, to a variety of community-linked services to assist families in preventing child abuse and neglect.  Third, the Secretary may award grants to private organizations to launch or maintain a national network of mutual support, leadership, and self-help programs as a means of strengthening families in partnership with their communities.  Fourth, the secretary may award grants to public and private entities to assist with Kinship care for children who are removed from their homes and be placed with relatives as long as the relatives are determined to be able to provide a safe nurturing environment for the child and where the relatives are able to comply with the State child protection standards. Fifth, the agency is able to provide grants to make a link among agencies involved with the children to ensure that the child’s health, mental health and other needs are met with a collaboration of these agencies. Sixth, the secretary provides grants to public or private agencies and organizations to develop or expand effective collaborations between child protective service agencies and domestic violence service agencies to be able to improve the collaboration of investigation and intervention procedures, for the children and family members involved. Last, it provides discretionary grants for programs within a hospital setting such as; nursery respite, improvement for better diagnostics, hospital based referrals and other hospital services. The secretary evaluates all the programs named above to determine their effectiveness. The Secretary creates regulations to ensure that there is effective coordination among programs related to child abuse and neglect under this Act and other programs that are assisted by Federal funds (CAPTA, 2010).

Magnitude and Dimensions of the Problem

According to the National Children's Alliance there are about 700,000 children that are being abused in the United States. In the year of 2015 alone there were about 683,000 children who were victims of child abuse (NCA, 2014).  Child abuse can be defined in many different ways; the definitions can vary from state to state and from situation to situation. The Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act CAPTA defines child abuse as follows; “the term ‘child abuse and neglect’ means, at a minimum, any recent act or failure to act on the part of a parent or caretaker, which results in death, serious physical or emotional harm, sexual abuse or exploitation, or an act or failure to act which presents an imminent risk of serious harm;”

The Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act was created because of the continuous need for agencies to prevent child abuse. Previously stated statistics show that at least 700,000 children are being abused in the United States in a given year with the numbers increasing each year (NCA, 2014). Child abuse has a huge impact in our society because it is costing our government $103.8 billion dollars or more since the year 2007 (Wang & Holton 2007). The 103.8 billion dollars is going towards programs for children who are abuse, towards putting these children in placement and other costs that come with having a child in care of the state (Wang & Holton, 2007).This may affect the society as a whole because money that can be used to make communities better such as creating parks, funding camps, and other projects is now being used to treat child abuse. Also it can affect the treatment for the children who are receiving treatment for child abuse because the overwhelming amount of children coming into the system can cause for poor treatment options due to providers having a big case load. With poor treatment options some children may be misdiagnosed, or not receive treatment at all. Child abuse comes in different forms such as neglect, physical abuse, verbal abuse, sexual abuse, exploitation, psychological abuse and other types of abuse. Those of types of abuse can lead to affect the individual’s physical, cognitive, psychological, and behavioral development. The individual who suffer from the effects of their normal development can suffer from minor physical injuries, low self-esteem, attention disorders, and poor peer relations to severe brain damage, extremely violent behavior, and death (Goldman, 2003). These effects can be long term to short term and the CAPTA is responsible for funding agencies that try to prevent child abuse and treat any of the symptoms that the individual may experience from child abuse. The CAPTA funds these agencies so that children are able to live a somewhat normal life after the abuse that they have endured. 



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