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Kaine Provisions To Improve Child Welfare Pass Out Of Help Committee

You can watch video of Kaine’s remarks here

WASHINGTON, D.C.— Today, U.S. Senator Tim Kaine, a member of the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, applauded the committee passage of the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA), legislation to strengthen America’s child welfare system that included provisions from Kaine’s Child Welfare Workforce Support Act. CAPTA provides funding to states to improve child protective services and funds community-based activities that stop child abuse and neglect before it happens. 

The Child Welfare Workforce Support Act would address high turnover rates among child welfare workers. The bill would help ensure there are enough well-trained child welfare workers and improve outcomes for vulnerable youth. The bill is also sponsored by Senator Tammy Baldwin.

“I am pleased the HELP Committee is taking steps to strengthen our child welfare system and protect at-risk youth,” said Kaine. “These provisions will help prevent abuse by ensuring that vulnerable youth have the support they need to succeed, while also addressing the major shortages in the child welfare workforce.” 

“Our legislation will build best practices for better supporting child welfare workers. When we do more on workforce recruitment, retention, and professional development, we will strengthen the quality of the services being provided children and families,” said Baldwin.

The physical and emotional challenges inherent in child welfare work, combined with relatively low compensation and work benefits, make these careers difficult to sustain, resulting in high turnover rates — including a 30% annual turnover rate in Virginia. High turnover decreases the quality of services delivered to children and families and results in an estimated cost of $54,000 per worker leaving an agency.

The Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act includes the following provisions from the Child Welfare Workforce Support Act:

Creates a capacity building grant program that would: 

  • Reduce barriers to recruitment, development, and retention of child welfare workers.
  • Improve support for the child welfare workforce and their efforts to better meet the unique needs of infants and children.
  • Provide ongoing professional development opportunities and support, including addressing secondary trauma, to improve the retention of child welfare workers.

Last year, Senator Kaine joined multiple efforts to push for vital resources for the child welfare system that support vulnerable children and families suffering from abuse and neglect during the COVID-19 pandemic.