Yesterday, the House of Representatives passed the Protect Our Kids Act, HR 6655, which establishes a Presidential Commission to study child deaths. A bi-partisan vote of 330-77 has sent the legislation to the Senate for consideration. Similar versions of the bill had been introduced in both chambers earlier in the session. More recently, a hearing was held on the proposal last week. Champions of the bill on the Ways and Means Committee issued supportive statements about it, saying it will enable a process to consider what is needed to protect vulnerable children.
Specifically, the legislation would have the President and Congressional leaders appoint a commission composed of 12 stakeholders with various expertise in related fields including, social work, health, law, and education. The commission would study pertinent topics including the incidence of child fatalities, data collection, best practices, and resource limitations. Then, the commission would develop recommendations to reduce child fatalities from maltreatment and implement a comprehensive national strategy to that end. The commission’s recommendations would be due within three years and the legislation would reserve $2 million of the TANF contingency fund to meet associated expenses.