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Sacramento Bee Editorial Supports CAI’s Position on Abuse/Neglect Near Fatality Disclosures

Sacramento, CA (May 19, 2016) — An editorial appearing in today’s Sacramento Bee publicly supports the position taken by the University of San Diego of Law’s Children’s Advocacy Institute (CAI) with regard to California’s child abuse and neglect public disclosure policy.  The federal Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) requires states to have policies that allow for the public disclosure of findings and information about child abuse and neglect fatalities and near fatalities; the goal of this requirement is to give the public access to information that will enable it to identify and address systemic failures in the child welfare system. One of CAI’s main campaigns over the past several years has been to ensure that all states have broad, mandatory disclosure policies that give the public a meaningful opportunity to review how the system performed in these tragic cases and suggest reforms where appropriate.

CAI co-sponsored legislation – SB 39 (Migden) (Chapter 468, Statutes of 2007) – that put in place California’s public disclosure policy regarding child abuse and neglect fatalities. However, the state lacks an appropriate disclosure policy regarding near fatalities – a fact CAI has been trying to remedy for several years.  The California Department of Social Services recently introduced budget trailer language that would put a near fatality policy into place, but CAI and other children's groups and the organization representing the voice of foster children oppose the last-minute measure because it would permit the very agencies under scrutiny because a child nearly died -- county welfare agencies --‎to release summaries of case files they draft rather than original, system-revealing documents with all identifying information redacted.

In supporting CAI’s position, the editorial states, “We join the California Newspaper Publishers Association, the National Center for Youth Law, and the Children’s Advocacy Institute at the University of San Diego in urging legislators to ensure public access to important information. By helping to shine light, legislators can combat child abuse and maybe save lives.”

 

 

 
 
     
 
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Children's Advocacy Institute
University of San Diego School of Law
5998 Alcalá Park, San Diego, CA 92110
Telephone: 619.260.4806
Fax: 619.260.4753