Child Welfare and Public Policy: Specific discussion of policy proposals regarding child welfare (physical and sexual abuse in children under 18).

Essay by ErikaTarynUniversity, Bachelor's May 2004

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Public Policy Proposals

There are several policies currently employed to ameliorate the increasing number of cases of physical and sexual abuse in children. Many of these policies provide for "after the fact" support services for the abused. The Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA), the Promoting Safe and Stable Families Act (PSSF), and the John H. Chafee Foster Care Independence Program (CFCIP) greatly fund intervention, assessment, counseling, and support services. Though these services are vitally important, there also need be strict policies governing the prosecution and punishment of the abusers. In the past, numerous policy proposals were centered on establishing preset sentences for abusers, however because the courts are hesitant to believe young children, these policies failed more often than not. Presently there is no law that directly states the amount of time an abuser must be sentenced to, resulting in many abusers not being punished at all.

After much research into the legislation surrounding child welfare, we have several policy proposals regarding the sentencing and punishment of offenders.

In cases where the abuse in deemed minor, the offender will be subject to a large fine, a warning, and the child will be removed temporarily pending an investigation. When the abuse directly results in the death of the child, the abuser will be handed two life sentences or, in extreme cases, the death penalty. For first time offenders of minor abuse, the child will be removed from the abusive environment and the abuser will have to attend Child Abuse Prevention and Rehabilitation training. In all another abusive situations, the child will be immediately removed from the environment, and immediate investigation will take place, and harsh sentencing will be handed down ranging from three to five in a correctional facility to life imprisonment.

As of March 1, 2004, several new...