The Keep Kids Safe movement, a survivor-based coalition dedicated to protecting children and adolescents from sexual violence, is praising the work of Congress on passing the Fiscal Year 2022 appropriations bill that includes funding for programs to protect children and adolescents from physical and sexual violence. We also applaud President Biden for signing these much-need investments to ensure our children’s safety and well-being into law.
This bill includes funding for programs dedicated to protecting children, including:
Increased funding for the Missing and Exploited Children’s program ($99 million) to address increased incidents of online child sexual abuse and exploitation andto ensure the capacity of the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Forces are strengthened to pace the evolving threats that children face online.
Increased funding for the Victims of Child Abuse Act program ($33 million) that provides resources for Children’s Advocacy Centers. There are over 900 CACs across the country. These child protection teams arevictim-centered, trauma-informed first responders providing an array of services to child victims of abuse and help these children and their families survive, heal and thrive.
Robust funding for the Victims of Crime Fund which provides direct assistance and programs to survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, child abuse, human trafficking and other violent crimes. The legislation redirects monetary penalties from federal deferred prosecution and non-prosecution agreements to provide continued support for state victim compensation and assistance programs.
Increased funding for the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) state grants ($95 million) and for community grants ($65.6 million). CAPTA funds locally driven child abuse prevention services and programs and funding is provided to the states for child abuse and neglect prevention efforts including child abuse hotlines and family resource centers.
Funding for child exploitation investigations at the Department of Homeland Security ($27.5 million). The Homeland Security Investigations (HSI)team works to protect children from exploitation by predators who participate in the production, distribution, and possession of child sexual abuse material (CSAM) and those who travel internationally to engage in illicit sexual conduct with minors. HSI collects evidence and tracks the activities of individuals and organized groups who sexually exploit children; works to identify and rescue child victims; identifies and apprehends offenders; and delivers training to HSI investigators as well as state, local, federal, and international law enforcement partners.
We also applaud additional investments in child sexual abuse prevention research and addressing Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs)at the CDC. And we are encouraged to see investments to safeguard young athletes participating in organized sports from sexual, physical and emotional abuse.
“These programs are essential to efforts to Keep Kids Safe. This funding will be used for essential services to prevent childhood sexual abuse, provide healing services for child victims of sexual violence, and provide justice for victims and their families.”