WASHINGTON D.C. – U.S. Senators Mark Pryor (D-AR), John Boozman (R-AR), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), and Al Franken (D-MN) today introduced the National Child Protection Training Act, a bipartisan bill that seeks to improve child abuse training programs and enhance child protection nationwide.
Their bill would build on the success of the National Child Protection Training Center’s (NCPTC) facilities at Northwest Arkansas Community College in Bentonville, Arkansas and at Winona State University in Winona, Minnesota. These centers have developed cutting-edge curricula, certification and degree programs, and classes for law students, medical students, and professionals to help improve child abuse training.
“As Arkansas’s Attorney General, I saw first-hand the value of reliable leadership and high-quality training when it came to keeping our kids safe,” Pryor said. “That’s why I’m proud to sponsor this common-sense bill to ensure child advocates have the tools and resources they need to protect our kids. The National Child Protection Training Center in Bentonville has been a strong leader in this fight, and I hope our bill will allow others to learn from their success.”
“Child Protection Training Centers are an important tool in the fight against child abuse and neglect,” Boozman said. As the home to the Southern Regional Training Center, Northwest Arkansas Community College has a unique role in developing the most effective training and education to help young victims overcome issues resulting from child abuse. We need to continue the development made on this front to help respond to the needs of children during this critical time in their lives and prevent these horrific crimes from happening in the future.”
“As a former prosecutor, I’ve seen firsthand how important it is for children and families to have the resources they need to escape the horrors of child abuse,” Klobuchar said. “I have visited Winona State many times to see the good work their National Child Protection Training program is doing to put a stop to child abuse and give victims the support they deserve. This bill will help build on the success of the Winona State program at centers across the country and help make sure our childcare advocates have the tools and training they need to identify and prevent child abuse.”
“One of the best ways to help end child abuse is to spot the signs early, and making sure that those who work closely with children have the appropriate training is key,” said Franken. “This bill takes an innovative, Minnesota-based program and expands on our success by giving professionals around the country who work with kids the tools they need to detect and prevent abuse."The bill would also direct the Attorney General to coordinate with the NCPTC to operate at least four regional training centers nationwide. It would require these centers to develop undergraduate and graduate curricula on child maltreatment, distribute the curricula to institutions of higher education, and to develop “laboratory” training facilities for students and professionals. The centers would also be required to help communities develop child abuse prevention programs and forensic interview training programs.