U.S. Congressman Lloyd Doggett (D-TX) hailed the House and Senate passage of the Protect Our Kids Act (H.R. 6655) to establish a national commission, appointed by the President and Congress, to develop recommendations to reduce the number of children who die from abuse and neglect. The measure was sponsored by Rep. Doggett and Rep. Dave Camp (R-MI). Congressman Doggett originally authored the legislation in 2011, and introduced an improved version in 2012. Companion legislation was introduced in the Senate by Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) and Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME).
"Texas has the highest rate of child abuse and neglect fatalities in the nation," said Rep. Doggett. "The Protect Our Kids Act will help provide thoughtful consideration of the steps we can take to better protect vulnerable children. Working together in a bipartisan way, we can make meaningful progress on this troubling issue.
Video of Congressman Doggett's remarks on the House floor can viewed below.
The bill was considered and passed in the House on Wednesday, December 19, and was passed by the Senate last night. The commission established in the bill will contain 12 members, with six appointed by the President, three by the House (two majority, one minority), and three by the Senate (two majority, one minority). Each member will be required to have experience in one or more areas relevant to child maltreatment. The commission will study a variety of issues, including data on fatalities, prevention methods, and the adequacy of current programs, and then make recommendations to reduce child maltreatment deaths.
In a Ways & Means Human Resources Subcommittee hearing last year on the issue of child deaths stemming from neglect and abuse, Rep. Doggett concluded that "We are aware that there are so many, many children across the country who lose their lives or are permanently scarred by abuse from a caretaker. We know that there are many reasons why this happens--but [our goal] must be to improve our understanding of these causes and what we can do to prevent this kind of maltreatment of children."