February 1, 1995 in Nation/World

Gop Cut Could Increase Risk Of Child Abuse

Compiled From Wire Services

As part of the Republican move toward smaller government, the federal mechanism that has protected children from abuse for more than 20 years may be dismantled.

Hearings began Tuesday on repealing the 1973 Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act, which provides federal matching funds to states that comply with strict federal guidelines in setting up child-abuse detection, prosecution and prevention programs.

Within a few years of its passage, all 50 states had complied, and the impact was felt almost immediately. From 1976 to 1993, the yearly number of child abuse reports grew from 669,000 to more than 2.9 million.

“There’s no question that thousands of kids have been helped,” said Mark Ells, director of the National Center for the Prosecution of Child Abuse in Alexandria, Va. “Before CAPTA became law, child abuse was almost never reported, and repealing it would put things back in the Dark Ages.”

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