Act Now for CACs

Action Alert: Contact your elected officials in Congress and urge them to support funds to assist CACs.

Congress continues to develop and work on additional COVID-19 relief legislation stimulus package. We need your help to ensure that any future COVID-19 emergency supplement package includes funds to assist CACs.

Please contact your senators and representative in Congress and urge their support and action in the following ways:

Urgent CAC funding needs:

  • $50 million in emergency supplemental Victims of Child Abuse Act dollars in a COVID package is needed to directly address the gap in services created by the pandemic.

Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) Changes—Crime Victims Fund deposits fix and VOCA match waiver:

  • Crime Victims Fund deposits fix. This fix will direct that Department of Justice deferred prosecution and non-prosecution agreements be deposited into the Crime Victims Fund. State VOCA offices have given flexibility to allow for VOCA dollars to be used to respond to the pandemic, and this fix is needed to ensure VOCA dollars are available.
  • Waive the VOCA matching requirement during the COVID-19 pandemic. State VOCA offices have been slow (if at all) to work with CACs and other services providers and implement a waiver of the VOCA match, so this language is still critically needed. It’s a priority of CACs and other victim service providers that are not able to meet their current match requirements due to the pandemic.

Background/Need:

  • Currently, child abuse reports are down across the U.S. as compared to this time last year—in some cases between 50-70%—because children are not able to interact with folks that are mandatory reporters such as teachers or other school personnel, doctors, etc. In response, children and teens across the country are taking it upon themselves to contact hotlines from unsafe environments.
  • Compared to March 2019, the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline experienced a 23% increase in calls and a 263% increase in texts in March 2020.
  • During the pandemic/stay-at home orders, CACs have continued to conduct forensic interviews for cases dealing with imminent risk; however, a backlog of additional cases continues to build.
  • Even before the COVD-19 pandemic hit, Health and Human Services’ recent annual Child Maltreatment Report showed the need for increased CAC resources by reporting that, last year, there were an estimated 300,000 substantiated abuse cases without access to CACs and an additional 600,000+ cases of suspected abuse needing a forensic interview.
  • The cases that are being reported are more severe cases of physical abuse (including child abuse deaths) because these cases are severe enough that they are brought to the emergency room. (See wsj.com/articles/child-abuse-reports-are-falling-and-thats-bad-news-for-children-11591263001 and washingtonpost.com/education/2020/04/30/child-abuse-reports-coronavirus/)
  • For the first time ever, more than half of the callers to RAINN’s National Sexual Abuse Hotline were minors reporting their own abuse, with 79% of them living with their abuser. (rainn.org)
  • CACs estimate at least $87 million in losses due to the pandemic.

 

If you have questions, contact Denise Edwards at dedwards@nca-online.org.

If your members of Congress support these urgent CAC needs, consider sending them a short thank-you note. You can find names and contact information for your elected officials online.