May 20, 2019
Floor Statements

Mr. SCOTT of Virginia. Madam Speaker, I thank Dr. SCHRIER and Mr. Comer for sponsoring this important legislation.

   Madam Speaker, I rise today in support of the Stronger Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act, or Stronger CAPTA.

   Congress has a vital role in helping States protect children from physical injury and emotional trauma associated with child abuse and neglect.

   Stronger CAPTA will fulfill that role by increasing investment in both treatment of child abuse and neglect, and programs designed to prevent maltreatment from happening in the first place.

   Specifically, this bill would provide States with resources to strengthen prevention programs, invest in child protective service agencies, and streamline communication between those agencies across this country. It would also build upon the bipartisan commitment to keep families together when it is in the best interests of the child.

   Last Saturday, May 18, was the 1-year anniversary of the tragic death of Heaven Watkins, an 11-year-old girl in my community who lost her life because of child abuse. Had the reforms in this bill been in place, Heaven's death could have been prevented.

   Specifically, investing in prevention strategies and improving the collection and sharing of vital information can help children like Heaven from slipping through the cracks.

   Madam Speaker, I would like to thank, again, Dr. SCHRIER and Mr. Comer for their leadership, as well as Ms. Bonamici, Mrs. TRAHAN, Mr. Johnson, Ms. Stefanik, and, of course, the ranking member, Dr. FOXX, for their work in bringing this bill to the floor.

   Madam Speaker, I urge my colleagues to support Stronger CAPTA.