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Baucus Applauds Montana Child Welfare Champion Nominated to National Child Abuse Prevention Task Force

Press Release

Location: Washington, DC

Montana U.S. Senator Max Baucus today applauded the nomination of Marilyn J. Bruguier Zimmerman, a prominent Montana advocate for children and Native Americans, to the Child Abuse Fatalities Commission (CAFC), a special task force created in a bill Senator Baucus authored to study and evaluate federal, state and private child welfare systems and provide policy recommendations to prevent child maltreatment, abuse and neglect. Bruguier Zimmerman is a highly regarded Montana advocate for children and Native Americans.

"Marilyn is a tireless advocate for kids and brings real experience working to protect kids and prevent child abuse and neglect. We need a Montanan's voice on this task force and I'm thrilled we have one," Senator Baucus said. "Marilyn will bring a valuable perspective to the task force as it works to find solutions to keep kids safe. I look forward to working with Marilyn and this taskforce as we work to make sure every child is protected."

Bruguier Zimmerman, nominated to be one of twelve members of the commission, is the associate director of the Institute for Educational Research and Services (IERS) and director of the IERS's National Native Children's Trauma Center both at the University of Montana. She focuses on culturally-relevant, evidence-based interventions to treat childhood traumatic stress.

Bruguier Zimmerman is a member of the Assiniboine-Sioux tribes of the Fort Peck reservation. She is a graduate of the University of Montana with a bachelor's degree in Psychology and a master's degree in Social Work.

"I applaud the leadership of Senator Baucus and other leaders in prioritizing the improvement of agency coordination, reporting standards and prevention programs necessary to reduce child death and maltreatment. In Indian Country and across the nation, our children are calling out to us. There are new, effective interventions which prevent violence, help children and parents with trauma and support child welfare workers," said Bruguier Zimmerman. "For the sake of these children we must enhance the systems designed to protect them. I am honored to help the Commission with this effort."

Senator Baucus authored the Protect Our Kids Act, which created the Child Abuse Fatalities Commission (CAFC). The legislation was signed into law earlier this year. Upon completion of its evaluation of the nation's child welfare systems, the task force will report its findings to the president and Congress.

More than six million children are abused or neglected in America every year, most of whom are younger than four years old, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. In fiscal year 2011, 1,545 children in the United States were reported to have died from abuse and neglect, and many experts believe that the actual number may be significantly higher.

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