Judith Sandalow, executive director of Children’s Law Center, testified before the DC Council’s Committee on Human Services at the public hearing of Bill 19-466, the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Amendment Act. Children’s Law Center is supportive of the bill, which brings District law in line with requirements mandated by 2010’s reauthorization of the federal Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act. However, Sandalow’s testimony suggested moving the language of the bill to a different area in DC statutes.
As amended in 2010, the federal CAPTA legislation says that even if a state does not “require” reunification between parents and children previously removed from their care – which DC does not – the state must still have legislation that clarifies reunification is not required if a parent must register in a sex offender registry pursuant to the federal Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006. Bill 19-466 goes further than federal requirements and removes the requirement that CFSA make reasonable efforts toward reunification in these cases. “We are concerned that removing the requirement that reasonable efforts be made will discourage reasonable efforts in cases where reunification is appropriate,” Sandalow testified.
Read Sandalow’s full testimony as submitted to the committee.