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H.R. 485: Stronger Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act

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The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress, and was published on Mar 16, 2021.

Stronger Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act

This bill reauthorizes through FY2027 and revises the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act and the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment and Adoption Reform Act of 1978 to expand services for preventing and treating child abuse.

Specifically, the bill establishes requirements concerning collecting and exchanging data about child abuse and neglect. For instance, the bill requires the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to (1) establish uniform national standards for tracking and reporting child fatalities and near fatalities resulting from maltreatment, and (2) develop an electronic interstate data exchange system that allows states to share information from their child abuse and neglect registries with other states.

The bill also addresses child abuse and neglect related to families impacted by substance use disorders, racial bias in the child protective services system, and child sexual abuse.

Further, the bill revises the community-based grants program to emphasize access to effective services for diverse populations and to promote the development of statewide strategies to scale up family strengthening services.

Finally, the bill requires HHS to examine unregulated custody transfers and make recommendations for preventing, identifying, and responding to such transfers.