Baucus bill aims to reduce deaths of child abuse victims

Baucus said more than 15,000 children have died due to abuse and neglect since 2002, but that the numbers could be much higher because information is not being shared.

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“We don't have clear facts because currently, there is no national standard for collecting data on these young victims,” Baucus said when introducing the bill. “Many state child protection agencies do not share vital data and statistics with other agencies, officials or law enforcement.

“Clearly, more must be done to better protect our nation's children. More must be done to protect them from the fear and terror of abuse, especially when the threat to their safety often comes from those that should cherish them the most. We need to bring this issue out of the shadows.”

Baucus said the task force created under S. 3705 would be made up of child welfare administrators and researchers, law enforcement officers and other experts to study and evaluate federal, state and private child welfare systems and develop a comprehensive national strategy to prevent and reduce the deaths of children being abused.

Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) and Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) are co-sponsoring the bill.

Baucus said the House passed similar legislation and that now is the time for the Senate to act as well.

“The House of Representatives has already acted on this legislation,” Baucus said. “Let us now join together and create a life free of violence and fear for our most vulnerable citizens.”

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