Walz, Womack Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Train Child Protection Professionals to Detect, Prevent Child Abuse
According to statistics, between four and seven children die every day in the United States due to child abuse and neglect – one of the worst records of industrialized nations
Washington, D.C. [6/24/14] – Today, U.S. Representatives Tim Walz (D-MN-1) and Steve Womack (R-AR-3) introduced the National Child Protection Training Act, a bipartisan bill to help train child protection professionals to detect and prevent child abuse. The bill would establish regional training centers – including the National Child Protection Training Center in Winona, MN, and the Melba Shewmaker Southern Region National Child Protection Training Center at NorthWest Arkansas Community College – that would create new undergraduate and graduate curricula for professions likely to be involved in identifying and reporting cases of abuse. Additionally, the legislation increases coordination between federal, state and local officials to institute best practices for the training of child protection professionals. Representatives McCollum and Nolan are also co-sponsors of the legislation.
"Each year far too many of our children fall victim to abuse and neglect. We must do all we can to ensure that the people in the best position to recognize and respond to child abuse are getting the proper training to do so,” Representative Walz said. “This legislation will create more badly needed training centers across the country, based off the model of the National Child Protection Training Center at Winona State, and is an important step forward in the fight against child abuse.”
“There have been tremendous technological advances in the criminal justice, medical, and psychological fields that can help our child protection professionals better detect and prevent child abuse,” said Representative Womack. “It is important that our institutions – like the Melba Shewmaker Southern Region National Child Protection Training Center at NorthWest Arkansas Community College – have the tools they need to teach the professionals in the field how to use these technologies to make a difference in the lives of these most vulnerable victims. This bill is a step in that direction.”
"As a pediatrician, I understand the importance of fully preparing those working with children who have been maltreated. This legislation will ensure that education and resources are available throughout the country to better protect children from abuse,” said Jeff Thompson, MD, CEO Gundersen Health System.
"In offering improved training to tens of thousands of front line child protection professionals, this bipartisan legislation also offers real hope to millions of maltreated children," said Victor Vieth, executive director emeritus, Gundersen National Child Protection Training Center.
The National Child Protection Training Act directs the Attorney General to coordinate with the National Child Protection Training Center to operate at least four regional training centers – including the National Child Protection Training Center in Winona, MN, and the Melba Shewmaker Southern Region National Child Protection Training Center at NorthWest Arkansas Community College – to be affiliated with universities, colleges, or community colleges. The regional training centers will be required to:
- Develop undergraduate and graduate curricula on child maltreatment;
- Disseminate curricula to colleges, law schools, medical schools, seminaries, and other institutions of higher education;
- Develop ‘‘laboratory'' training facilities that include mock houses, medical facilities, courtrooms, and forensic interview rooms that provide a real world experience to students and professionals;
- Assist communities in developing child abuse prevention programs; and
- Assist states in developing forensic interview training programs.