Senator John Boozman – Failure of the Family and Child Abuse

Senator John Boozman – Failure of the Family and Child Abuse


Boozman Bulletin: Together We Can Help

As a father of three daughters, there is nothing more rewarding than being called ‘Dad.’ Now I even have the good fortune of being called ‘Grandpa.’ I understand how important it is to have family to count on. I believe that all children deserve to know this throughout their entire lives.

The sad fact is that at any given time in Arkansas, 3,800 to 4,000 children are in the custody of the Division of Children and Family Service (DCFS). Unfortunately, the most recent numbers reported from DCFS show that in the last quarter of 2015, more than 4,500 Arkansas children were in foster care, an increase of one percent from the previous quarter.

We all have a responsibility to protect our most vulnerable citizens. April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month. By working together as a community we can promote child well-being, encourage strong families and provide children with a safe environment to call home.

Fortunately, Arkansas is blessed to have outstanding advocates committed to the protection, safety and welfare of children during a critical time in their lives.

There are 14 Child Advocacy Centers (CACs) in Arkansas and four satellite locations. These centers promote intervention and prevention of child abuse and neglect. In 2015, CACs helped more than 4,800 children in Arkansas. These centers offer support to reduce the trauma experienced by victims and their families by coordinating the investigation, treatment and prosecution of child abuse cases.

An important funding source for CACs comes from the Victim of Child Abuse (VOCA) Victim Assistance Grant Program. Last year I was proud to join efforts urging Attorney General Loretta Lynch to clarify that grant funding can be used for forensic interviews and forensic medical examinations for young victims.

We need to provide the resources our children deserve and the tools for professionals to best serve the unique needs of each child. That’s why I supported the creation of the Melba Shewmaker Southern Region National Child Protection Training Center. Located on the campus of NorthWest Arkansas Community College in Bentonville, this is one of only four regional partners of the National Child Protection Training Center (NCPTC) which is dedicated to the prevention of child abuse. The center provides training, certification and degree programs, as well as classes for law students, medical students and professionals to help improve child protection training.

I spoke to participants at the NCPTC workshop in Bentonville last year about the importance this facility and the training they receive that impacts the lives of Arkansas children.

Child Protection Training Centers are an important tool in the fight against child abuse and neglect. To build on their successes, I helped introduce the National Child Protection Training Act. This bipartisan bill seeks to improve the training of child protection professionals nationwide.

Arkansans are committed to enhancing child protection. I’m proud of the foundation that we’ve built to improve the lives of our youngest, most vulnerable citizens. Together we will continue the fight against child abuse.

Quick Takes:

  • Strengthening Consumer Protections and Air Travel Security: The Senate overwhelmingly passed the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reauthorization bill last week. A consumer columnist for the Washington Post called the bill, “one of the most passenger-friendly” FAA reform bills in years. In an era when air travel has become increasingly frustrating, this bill will upgrade the experience from the moment a traveler books a flight on through to arrival at his or her destination. In addition, the bill also includes several measures to bolster airport security. It also contains language I authored to reform general aviation medical standards to maintain safety while supporting capable pilots and sustaining economic growth in the industry.
  • Paving Way for Interstate Status of U.S. 67: The Senate Appropriations Committee reported a bill last week that contains language I included designating Highway 67 from North Little Rock to Walnut Ridge as “Future I-57.” The bill would also give Arkansas the ability to request that any segment of the road that is built to interstate standards be officially added to the federal interstate system as “I-57.” The presence of an official interstate highway is one of the key factors that developers consider when determining where to make major investments, such as building new factories. That’s why several Arkansas Chambers of Commerce passed resolutions of support for this designation.
  • Blocking Funding for Clean Line Energy’s Transmission Project: Sen. Tom Cotton and I filed an amendment to the Energy and Water Appropriations bill to block funding for projects carried out under Section 1222 of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 which includes Clean Line Energy’s electric transmission project across Arkansas. Last month, the U.S. Department of Energy said it will partner with Clean Line Energy, a private company, to build a large power line all the way across Arkansas, even though the project was reviewed and rejected by our state. This marks the first time Washington bureaucrats have used Section 1222 to build this type of project.
  • Defending Combat-Injured Veterans: Legislation I introduced to ensure that veterans who suffer service-ending combat-related injuries are not taxed on the severance payment they receive from the Department of Defense cleared a major hurdle when it was approved by the Senate Finance Committee last week. The bill language was added as an amendment to the Taxpayer Protection Act of 2016.
  • Protecting Arkansas Poultry: Mexico recently lifted its ban on Arkansas poultry products that it put in place during the avian flu outbreak last year. It is important that producers in Arkansas are treated fairly, and as a leading producer of poultry, having access to export markets is important to our state’s economy. Mexico is a top importer of U.S. poultry.
  • Preventing Iranian Access to our Financial System: Earlier this month the Associated Press reported that the Obama administration is considering easing the ban that prevents Iran’s access to U.S. dollars as a further concession to the regime in Tehran. I’m committed to restricting Iranian access to the dollar and will strenuously work to ensure the Obama administration does not make this terrible nuclear deal worse.
  • Fighting Government Waste: The Council for Citizens Against Government Waste recognized my dedication to protecting taxpayer money with its “Taxpayer Super Hero” Award. I am honored to receive this recognition and I continue my work to get our country on the path of fiscal responsibility.
  • Salute to Veterans: My ‘Salute to Veterans’ series highlights the service and sacrifice of Arkansas veterans who served our nation in uniform. In the latest edition, I recognized Russell ‘Bo’ Falls, a WWII veteran who served in Navy and was stationed on Guam. His memories of his service are an important part of our history. Nominate an Arkansas veteran to be featured in the ‘Salute to Veterans’ series at [email protected].
  • Arkansas Take Back: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Arkansas is one of 12 states with more painkiller prescriptions than people. Prescription drug abuse is the fastest growing drug problem in the country. It’s a problem that the CDC classifies as an epidemic. The Senate recently passed legislation providing a series of incentives and resources designed to encourage states and local communities to pursue proven strategies to combat addiction and support individuals in recovery. To help fight this widespread abuse I encourage you and your neighbors, friends and family to participate in Arkansas Take Back this Saturday, April 30 to get expired, unused and unwanted prescription drugs out of the home. More than 100 collection sites across the state will take old and unneeded prescription drugs. Find a site closest to you.
  • How Can I Help You: I’m proud of what my staff and I have accomplished to resolve issues involving the federal government on behalf of hardworking Arkansas families including problems with Social Security, Medicare paperwork glitches, passport troubles, tax matters or veterans issues. Let us help you. Come and visit with my staff at mobile offices they’re hosting this week in Hamburg and Fayetteville.
  • Connect on Social Media: Stay up to date with what I’m doing for Arkansans via social media. You can find me on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.
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