WASHINGTON, D.C. - Ohio Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown teamed up with Missouri Republican Sen. Roy Blunt on Wednesday to introduce legislation that would require states to collect data on deaths that stem from child-abuse, and to devise ways to prevent them by collaborating with the Department of Health and Human Services, pediatricians, public health and law enforcement officials.
Brown said better reporting of child abuse fatalities would help states gauge the scope of the problem and figure out when and why the fatalities occur. He hopes his legislative proposal will be wrapped into a larger Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) bill that Congress is considering.
“Too many kids slip through the cracks,” said Brown, citing an estimate that 1,720 children died from abuse and neglect in 2017. “One child’s death is too many.”
Sierra Giles of Cleveland endorsed Brown’s bill in a conference call with reporters. Giles is legal guardian of a child named Rayvon Owens whose five-year-old sister, Ta’naejah McCloud, died of a seizure after his mother threw her into a dresser. Giles said she reported prior abuse of the girl, but authorities didn’t take the report seriously.
“Hopefully, we can get a better set of data and prevent more children from passing,” said Giles, who said the bill would provide nationwide consistency in assessing and reporting fatalities.
Brown’s office said the bill is also supported by organizations including the National Children’s Alliance, Child Welfare League of America, Children’s Advocacy Institute, Within Our Reach, and the Alliance for Strong Families and Communities. Brown urged people to report cases of child abuse or neglect to the National Child Abuse Hotline at-1-800-422-4453, local law enforcement, or child protective services offices.