The Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) was first enacted 40 years ago to improve child protective systems. Since its inception, CAPTA has been amended several times, most recently by the Victims of Child Abuse Act Reauthorization Act of 2018.
“The term ‘child abuse and neglect’ means, at a minimum, any recent act or failure to act on the part of a parent or caretaker, which results in death, serious physical or emotional harm, sexual abuse or exploitation (including sexual abuse, or an act or failure to act which presents an imminent risk of serious harm.” - CAPTA
CAPTA Funds and Grants
CAPTA provides Federal funding (grants) and guidance to States in support of prevention, assessment, investigation, prosecution, and treatment activities. It also provides grants to public agencies and nonprofit organizations, including Indian Tribes and Tribal organizations, for demonstration programs and projects.
CAPTA funds are authorized to help states make improvements to child protective services, such as intake, assessment, screening, and investigation of reports of child abuse and neglect; develop, improve, and implement risk and safety assessment tools and protocols; and case management and monitoring processes.
Finally, the statutory authority for the Children’s Justice Act is housed in CAPTA. These grants administered by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services are available to states and territories to improve the assessment, investigation, and/or prosecution of child abuse and neglect cases.
How Can CAPTA Grants be Used?
According to the HHS Report to Congress, states reported their intention to use their CAPTA grant funds to:
- Improve the intake, assessment, screening, and investigation of reports of child abuse or neglect (85%).
- Use the funds to develop, improve, and implement risk and safety assessment tools and protocols, including use of differential response (73%).
- Improve case management, ongoing case monitoring, and delivery of services and treatment provided to families (65%).
According to CAPTA, States may use grant funding for the following:
Grants may be awarded to public or private organizations for the training of mandated reporters such as:
- Health care
- Law enforcement
- Social work and child protection
- other relevant field
Grant funds can also be used for additional training, such as:
- training persons who are engaged in, or intend to work in, the field of prevention, identification, and treatment of child abuse and neglect
- training volunteers in child and/or family organizations to prevent abuse or neglect
- establishing resource centers for the purpose of providing information and training for professionals in the fields of child abuse and neglect
- training to enhance partnerships between child protective service agencies and health care agencies to meet the health evaluation needs of children who have been subjects of substantiated cases of child abuse or neglect
- training of personnel in best practices to meet the unique needs of children with disabilities
- training of personnel in best practices to promote collaboration with the families from the initial time of contact during the investigation through treatment;
- training regarding the legal duties of such personnel and their responsibilities to protect the legal rights of children and families
- training of personnel in childhood development including the unique needs of children under age 3
- improving the training of supervisory and nonsupervisory child welfare workers
- enabling State child welfare agencies to coordinate with State and local health care agencies, alcohol and drug abuse prevention and treatment agencies, mental health agencies, other public and private welfare agencies to promote child safety, permanence, and family stability
- cross-training for child protective service workers in research-based strategies for recognizing situations of substance abuse, domestic violence, and neglect
- for developing, implementing, or operating information and training programs designed to improve the provision of services to infants or toddlers with disabilities with life-threatening conditions
CAPTA grants may be used by public and private agencies that demonstrate innovation in responding to reports of child abuse and neglect to allow for the establishment of a triage system that:
- accepts, screens, and assesses reports received to determine which such reports require intensive intervention and which require voluntary referral to another agency, program, or project
- provides, either directly or through referral, a variety of community-linked services to assist families in preventing child abuse and neglect
- provides further investigation and intensive intervention when the child’s safety is in jeopardy
Mutual Support Programs
CAPTA grants may be awarded to private organizations to establish or maintain a national network of mutual support, leadership, and self-help programs as a means of strengthening families in partnership with their communities.
CAPTA grants may be awarded to public and private entities to assist in placing children removed from their homes with adult relatives when such relatives are determined to be capable of providing a safe nurturing environment for the child and comply with the State child protection standards.
Linkages Among Agencies
CAPTA grants may be awarded to entities that provide linkages among State or local child protective service agencies and public health, mental health, substance abuse, developmental disabilities, and domestic violence service agencies, and entities that carry out community-based programs to ensure that a greater number of substantiated victims of child maltreatment have their physical health, mental health, and developmental needs appropriately diagnosed and treated, in accordance with all applicable Federal and State privacy laws.
Collaborations Between Child Protective Service and Domestic Violence Service
CAPTA grants may be awarded to public or private agencies and organizations to develop or expand effective collaborations between child protective service entities and domestic violence service entities to improve collaborative investigation and intervention procedures, provision for the safety of the non-abusing parent involved and children, and provision of services to children exposed to domestic violence that also support the caregiving role of the non-abusing parent.
To learn more about CAPTA grants, please visit Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment (CAPTA) State Grants at the U.S Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Children and Families.