The Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) is the key Federal legislation addressing child abuse and neglect.  CAPTA was enacted in 1974 to support the prevention, assessment, identification, and treatment of child abuse and neglect. It is currently the only piece of federal legislation to address the representation of children in dependency cases. CAPTA provides modest state grants to prevent and treat child abuse and neglect. For states to receive grant funds under the Act, states are required to certify that they have specific procedures in place for receiving and responding to allegations of abuse or neglect and for ensuring children’s safety.

CAPTA Reauthorization

CAPTA has been amended several times and was last reauthorized on December 20, 2010, by the CAPTA Reauthorization Act of 2010 (P.L. 111-320). In addition, it was amended in 2015, 2016, and 2018, and most recently, specific provisions of the Act were amended on January 7, 2019, by the Victims of Child Abuse Act Reauthorization Act of 2018 (P.L. 115-424). CAPTA is currently up for reauthorization, and current drafts include several new provisions

Provisions and recommendations for CAPTA that connect to FJI’s mission include:

  • Requirements for states to develop a plan to ensure that all children and parents have legal representation by a trained attorney in all cases involving an allegation of child abuse or neglect for the duration of court jurisdiction.

Learn More

To learn more about CAPTA and the reauthorization process, please visit: