Reps. Crowley, Doggett Introduce Legislation to Help Reduce Child Abuse Fatalities

December 13, 2011
Press Release

(Washington, D.C.) — Today, Reps. Joe Crowley (Queens, the Bronx) and Lloyd Doggett (D-TX) introduced the Protect Our Kids Act 2011, legislation that would create a presidentially-appointed commission to develop a national strategy to reduce child fatalities that are the result of abuse and neglect. The legislation stems from recommendations made at a hearing held by the House Ways and Means Human Resources Subcommittee, of which Rep. Crowley is a member, on child deaths due to maltreatment and neglect earlier this summer. Senators John Kerry (D-MA) and Susan Collins (R-ME) introduced companion legislation in the Senate.

“As a father to three young kids, it breaks my heart to hear the thousands of stories of children suffering from abuse or neglect every day. What’s worse is the alarming number of children who die each year from mistreatment. The simple fact is, even one child’s death from abuse, neglect or maltreatment is one too many,” said Rep. Crowley. “This is an issue of grave concern and one that deserves a national focus. That’s why I’m proud to stand with my colleagues Rep. Doggett, Senator Kerry and Senator Collins in creating legislation that will help determine how we as a nation can better protect our children.”

An estimated 2,500 children die each year from abuse and neglect. In 2009, 109 children in New York died of maltreatment.

Specifically, the bill would:

  • Require the President to appoint between 12 and 15 individuals to a Commission that would make recommendations for reducing child fatalities that result from abuse and neglect.  Commission members would need to have experience in one or more of a wide range of areas related to child well-being and development, including child welfare administration and advocacy, the medical field, law enforcement, education, and the legal field.
  • The Commission would develop recommendations for Federal, State, and local agencies, as well as private sector and non-profit organizations.  The issues studied by the group include a number of topics that would seek to reduce the incidence of child abuse and neglect, prevent fatalities due to maltreatment, review the feasibility of establishing a method that accurately records the number of child fatalities due to abuse and neglect, and improve the effectiveness of public agencies (e.g., health care, child protective services, education, and law enforcement) in reducing child maltreatment and fatalities.
  • Recommendations must be submitted no later than three years after the enactment of the legislation creating the Commission, although the President would have the option to extend the Commission by one additional year.
  • The legislation would authorize $2 million for the next three fiscal years for the Commission to meet its administrative costs and expenses associated with fulfilling its duties.  Any sums appropriated would remain available until they are expended.

Rep. Crowley has a long track record of working to keep children safe.  Along with Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Rep. Crowley successfully worked with the Consumer Product Safety Commission to ban the sale and resale of dangerous drop-side cribs. Crowley also introduced legislation that would warn parents about the dangers of video and audio transmission in baby monitors.

Congressman Crowley is a seven-term representative from the 7th Congressional District of New York, which includes sections of Queens and the Bronx. He serves as chief deputy whip in the Democratic leadership of the U.S. House of Representatives and is a member of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee.