IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES
February 4, 2010
Mr. Dodd introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions
To enhance Federal efforts focused on public awareness and education about the risks and dangers associated with Shaken Baby Syndrome.
This Act may be cited as the
Shaken Baby Syndrome Prevention Act of
Congress finds the following:
Shaken Baby Syndrome is a term used to describe the constellation of symptoms, trauma, and medical conditions resulting from the violent shaking, or abusive impact to the head, of an infant, toddler or other young child.
Shaken Baby Syndrome is a form of child abuse affecting between 1,200 and 1,600 children every year.
Children who are age 1 or younger accounted for over 40 percent of all child abuse and neglect fatalities in 2007, and children who are age 4 or younger accounted for nearly 77 percent of all child abuse and neglect fatalities in 2007.
The most recent National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System figures reveal that almost 794,000 children were victims of abuse and neglect in the United States in 2007. That abuse and neglect caused unspeakable pain and suffering to the Nation’s most vulnerable citizens.
It is estimated that between one-quarter and one-third of Shaken Baby Syndrome victims die as a result of their injuries, while one-third suffer permanent, severe disabilities including paralysis, seizures, loss of hearing or vision, cognitive impairments, and other disabilities, often resulting in a lifetime of extraordinary medical, educational, and care expenses.
Shaken Baby Syndrome is preventable. Prevention programs have demonstrated that educating new parents and other caregivers about the danger of shaking young children, healthy strategies for coping with infant crying, infant soothing skills, and how to protect children from injury can bring about a significant reduction in the number of cases of Shaken Baby Syndrome.
Efforts to prevent Shaken Baby Syndrome are supported by child welfare and advocacy groups across the United States, including many groups formed by parents and relatives of children who have been killed or injured by the syndrome.
Education programs have been shown to raise awareness about Shaken Baby Syndrome and provide critically important information about the syndrome to parents, caregivers, child care providers, child protection employees, law enforcement personnel, health care professionals, and legal representatives.
Education programs can give parents healthy strategies for dealing with a crying infant and change the knowledge and behavior of parents of young children.
Public health campaign
The Secretary of Health and Human Services
(referred to in this Act as the
Secretary), acting through the
Director of the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control of the
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Director of the National
Institute of Child Health and Human Development, the Director of the Maternal
and Child Health Bureau of the Health Resources and Services Administration,
and the Director of the Office of Child Abuse and Neglect in the Administration
for Children and Families, shall develop an effective national Shaken Baby
Syndrome public health campaign.
The public health campaign shall inform the general public, and new parents, child care providers and other caregivers of young children, health care providers, and social workers, among others, about brain injuries and other harmful effects that may result from shaking, or abusive impact to the head, of infants and children under age 5, and healthy strategies to cope with a crying infant and related frustrations, in order to help protect children from injury.
In carrying out the public health campaign, the Secretary shall also coordinate activities with providers of other support services to parents and other caregivers of young children.
In carrying out the public health campaign, the Secretary shall carry out the activities described in paragraphs (2) through (4).
National action plan and strategies
The Secretary shall—
develop a National Action Plan and effective strategies to increase awareness of opportunities to prevent Shaken Baby Syndrome through activities that comprehensively and systematically provide information and instruction about healthy strategies for parents and other caregivers concerning how to cope with a crying infant and related frustrations; and
coordinate the Plan and effective strategies with evidence-based strategies and efforts that support families with infants and other young children, such as home visiting programs and respite child care efforts, which have a role to play in prevention of the syndrome.
Communication, education, and training
The Secretary shall carry out communication, education, and training about Shaken Baby Syndrome prevention, including efforts to communicate with the general public by—
disseminating effective prevention practices and techniques to parents and caregivers through maternity hospitals, child care centers, organizations providing prenatal and postnatal care, organizations providing programs for fathers, and organizations providing parenting education and support services;
producing evidence-based educational and informational materials in print, audio, video, electronic, and other media, giving special attention to educating young men and English language learners through the materials; and
coordinating activities carried out under clause (i) with national and Federal awareness activities, such as the activities accompanying Shaken Baby Awareness Week, to the extent possible; and
carrying out Shaken Baby Syndrome training, which shall aim—
to ensure that primary care providers, home visitors, parent educators, child care providers, foster parents and others involved in the care of young children, and nurses, physicians, and other health care providers, are aware of ways to prevent abusive head trauma and other forms of child maltreatment, and the need to secure immediate medical attention in cases of abusive head trauma; and
to provide health care providers and early childhood educators with the knowledge, skills, and materials to simply, quickly, and effectively educate parents, including adoptive and foster parents, as well as others who are caregivers of young children, about infant crying and thus reduce abuse.
Supports for parents and caregivers
The Secretary, in consultation with the Shaken Baby Awareness Advisory Council, shall work to ensure that the parents and caregivers of children are connected to effective supports through the coordination of existing programs and networks or the establishment of new programs.
To the extent practicable, the supports provided under this paragraph shall include the provision of a 24-hour phone hotline, and the development of an Internet website for round-the-clock support, for—
parents and caregivers who struggle with infant crying and related concerns;
parents and caregivers of surviving children who suffer serious injuries as a result of shaking or an abusive impact to the head, as a young child; and
parents and family members of children who do not survive such shaking or abusive impact.
Shaken baby awareness advisory council
There is established a Shaken Baby
Awareness Advisory Council (referred to in this subsection as the
The Council shall be composed of members appointed by the Secretary, not later than 6 months after the date of enactment of this Act, including, to the maximum extent possible, representatives from—
Shaken Baby Awareness advocacy organizations, including groups formed by parents and relatives of victims;
child protection advocacy organizations;
organizations involved in child protection and child maltreatment prevention;
disability advocacy organizations;
pediatric medical associations;
psychologists, child development professionals, or family studies professionals;
professional associations or institutions involved in medical research related to abusive head trauma;
parenting support organizations, including those providing programs targeted towards fathers;
organizations who come in contact with families and caregivers of infants, toddlers, and other young children; and
other Federal and State agencies involved in child abuse prevention activities.
Period of appointment; vacancies
Period of appointment
The Secretary shall, after consultation with the members of the Council initially appointed by the Secretary under paragraph (2), determine and establish the term of service on the Council that shall apply to all current and future members.
Any vacancy in the Council shall not affect the powers of the Council, but shall be filled in the same manner as the original appointment.
The Council shall meet at least semi-annually—
to develop recommendations regarding the National Action Plan and effective strategies described in subsection (b)(2); and
to develop recommendations related to support services for families and caregivers of young children.
The members of the Council shall not receive compensation for the performance of services for the Council, but shall be allowed travel expenses, including per diem in lieu of subsistence, at rates authorized for employees of agencies under subchapter I of chapter 57 of title 5, United States Code, while away from their homes or regular places of business in the performance of services for the Council. Notwithstanding section 1342 of title 31, United States Code, the Secretary may accept the voluntary and uncompensated services of members of the Council.
Detail of government employees
Any Federal Government employee may be detailed to the Council without reimbursement, and such detail shall be without interruption or loss of civil service status or privilege.
Termination of committee
Section 14 of the Federal Advisory Committee Act (5 U.S.C. App.) shall not apply to the Council. The Secretary shall terminate the Council when the Secretary determines, after consultation with the Council, that it is no longer necessary to pursue the goals and carry out the activities of the Council.
Study on data collection
The Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shall conduct a study that—
identifies current data collected on Shaken Baby Syndrome;
determines the feasibility of collecting uniform, accurate data from all States regarding—
incidence rates of Shaken Baby Syndrome;
characteristics of perpetrators of Shaken Baby Syndrome, including age, gender, relation to victim, access to prevention materials and resources, and history of substance abuse, domestic violence, and mental illness; and
characteristics of victims of Shaken Baby Syndrome, including gender, date of birth, date of injury, date of death (if applicable), and short- and long-term injuries sustained; and
identifies what would be needed in order to establish a national collection of data on Shaken Baby Syndrome, including examining the possibility of integrating the data collection into an appropriate, existing (as of the date of the identification) national data collection system, and determining what would be needed to accomplish that integration.
Authorization of appropriations
There is authorized to be appropriated to carry out this section $500,000.
Authorization of appropriations
There are authorized to be appropriated to carry out this Act, except section 4, $10,000,000 for fiscal year 2011 and such sums as may be necessary for each of fiscal years 2012, 2013, and 2014.