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Big Boost for Child Abuse Prevention in COVID-19 Relief

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The latest COVID-19 relief package makes major investments in families, including billions for child care. (Brocreative/Adobe Stock)
The latest COVID-19 relief package makes major investments in families, including billions for child care. (Brocreative/Adobe Stock)
 By Eric Tegethoff - Producer, Contact
March 15, 2021

BOISE, Idaho -- The latest COVID-19 relief package makes massive investments in child well-being.

The $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan makes investments, including $250 million in community-based child abuse prevention programs, with about $1 million coming to Idaho.

Jim McKay, policy director for the Children's Trust Fund Alliance, said the programs provide resources for families, helping to prevent abuse and neglect, and it's been a long time coming.

"We have not seen funding levels that are included in this bill for the community-based child abuse prevention programs in the entire history of that program, which is over 30 years old," McKay observed.

McKay, who is speaking at an Idaho-based conference on child abuse prevention this week, said the bill also invests in other provisions that prevent abuse and neglect, including $24 billion to stabilize the child-care industry and $15 billion in child-care subsidies.

The bill puts money in a broader prevention method with relief from economic stress, through the latest round of stimulus checks and increases to the child tax credit.

McKay contended the funding helps stabilize families.

"Providing that economic security is estimated to lift thousands and thousands of families out of poverty and could cut our child poverty rate in half as a nation," McKay asserted. "So those achievements are just so critical in our fight against child abuse."

Usually held in Boise, the Strengthening Families Training Institute is meeting virtually this year.

Tuesday, McKay will talk about advocating for family-friendly policies.

"How families, individuals, advocates can lift up their voices based on their experiences," McKay explained. "What's happening in their communities, what's happening in their lives, the challenges they're facing and how they can share those ideas and solutions with policymakers, other decision makers."

The conference starts today and runs through Wednesday. This year, the theme is "Becoming Mandated Supporters: Creating a 21st century child well-being system."

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