the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Human Resources held a hearing
on the Protect Our Kids Act (H.R. 3653). This legislation establishes a
commission to examine child deaths due to maltreatment and recommend
ways to improve current policy and practices. Full Committee Chair David
Camp (R-MI) and Subcommittee ranking member Lloyd Doggett (D-TX)
developed the proposal and called the hearing to solicit input on how
such a commission would best undertake this work.
Representative Doggett spoke about the serious need to
address child abuse and neglect and the undercount of child deaths due to
maltreatment. He invited those attending the hearing to work with him and the
other members of the Subcommittee to improve the bill. He stated he was
looking forward to the testimony offered at the hearing to determine
legislation could be perfected.
Representative Bill Frenzel, a guest Scholar at the Brookings
Institute, testified that he has served on many similar commissions and
offered suggestions in regards to the makeup of the commission members
to insure high leadership qualities. Teresa Huizar, Executive Director
of the National Children’s Alliance, offered support for the commission
in her testimony and emphasized the need for more research due to the
serious undercounting of such deaths. Madeline McClure, Executive
Director of the Texas Association for the Protection of Children, is
also strongly supportive of the legislation. She testified that the bill
will build on prevention efforts as well as increase our understanding
of the size and dimension of the challenges. David Sanders, Executive
Vice President of Casey Family Programs, offered suggestions on ways to
improve the commission in his testimony primarily through expanding the
areas of expertise of the potential commission members.
is unclear whether H.R. 3653 will proceed to floor for a vote before
the end of this Congress but if not it will be re-introduced soon after
the 113th Congress convenes in January.