The 2011 Legislature approved Senate Joint Resolution 30, for a study of childhood health trauma. The resolution called for a study of promising and evidence-based practices for the prevention of childhood trauma and for reducing its effects on children.
Legislators ranked the study seventh out of 16 study resolutions in a post-session poll, and the Legislative Council in May 2011 assigned the study to the Children and Families Committee.
As outlined in the adopted study plan, the committee began its SJR 30 activities at its March 2012 meeting. Members heard from a number of speakers who covered topics as far-ranging as the development of a child's brain to the ways in which the state responds to reports of child abuse and neglect. The presentations were designed to give national, state, and local views of the many issues associated with childhood trauma. In May, committee members heard more about the Child and Family Services Division workforce and related issues, oversight options for state child abuse and neglect efforts, the use of interdisciplinary teams, and barriers to providing more early intervention services.
The committee approved four legislative proposals as a result of the study:
LCCF04, creating an ombudsman office for child abuse and neglect matters;
LCCF05, requiring the Department of Public Health and Human Services to seek national accreditation of its child and family protective services program;
LCCF07, revising confidentiality requirements for child abuse and neglect reports by expanding the list of relatives who may obtain information from the reports and requiring DPHHS to respond to inquiries from people who have reported suspected abuse and neglect; and
LCCF10, to transfer $10 million to the Endowment for Children. Interest from the endowment goes to the Children's Trust Fund, which makes grants to local abuse prevention and mitigation efforts.