U.S. Senators Mark Pryor and John Boozman today joined Senators Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken of Minnesota to introduce the National Child Protection Training Act, a bipartisan bill that aims to improve child abuse training programs and enhance child protection nationwide. Congressman Steve Womack (AR-3) has co-sponsored companion legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives.
The National Child Protection Training Act would build on the success of the National Child Protection Training Center's (NCPTC) facilities at Northwest Arkansas Community College in Bentonville, Arkansas and at Winona State University in Winona, Minnesota. According to Pryor and Boozman, these centers have developed cutting-edge curriculum, certification and degree programs, and classes for law students, medical students, and professionals to help improve child abuse training.
"The National Child Protection Training Center has been a critical partner in the fight against child abuse," Pryor said. "That's why I was pleased to team up with Senator Boozman on this critical legislation that will build on their success and give students, teachers, and professionals the skills they need to keep our children safe."
"Child Protection Training Centers, like the one at Northwest Arkansas Community College, are leaders in providing opportunities to better serve and protect our children," Boozman said. "Senator Pryor and I want to see these efforts continue because our children deserve the best opportunities we can provide to keep them safe and help them overcome issues resulting from abuse."
"It is imperative that we seek to protect those who cannot protect themselves -- especially the victims of child abuse," said Womack. "The National Child Protection Training Center (NCPTC) has trained more than 40,000 child protection professionals to do just that, and I am proud to be an original cosponsor of the companion legislation to Senators Pryor and Boozman's bill which will expand the work of the NCPTC throughout the country."
Pryor and Boozman said their bill would direct the Attorney General to coordinate with the NCPTC to operate at least four regional training centers nationwide. Their bill would require these centers to develop undergraduate and graduate curricula on child maltreatment, distribute the curricula to institutions of higher education, and to develop "laboratory" training facilities for students and professionals. The centers would also be required to help communities develop child abuse prevention programs and forensic interview training programs.