Federal Legislation
January 24, 2011

S. 54—“Supporting Child Maltreatment Prevention Efforts in Community Health Centers Act of 2011”

Action Requested:
No action is requested at this time. HSLDA will continue to monitor this bill and will send out an e-lert if the bill comes up for a hearing.

Summary:
If S. 54 becomes law, it would establish federally funded health centers. These centers would be authorized to intervene on a child’s behalf—assisting with maltreatment, abuse, and parenting practices.

Status:

1/25/2011Referred to Senate committee. Status: Read twice and referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions.

Sponsor: Senator Daniel Inouye (HI)

Bill Summary and Status S. 54

HSLDA’s Position:
Oppose.

Background:
S. 54 will create federally funded health centers. These centers will “provide universal access to a family centered integrated and voluntary services model that prevents child maltreatment and promotes family well-being.”

The centers will:

  • “Provide preventative parenting skills training programs (supporting children’s optimal social, emotional, physical, and academic development).”
  • “Screen to identify parental risk factors.”
  • “Help parents overcome impediments to effective parenting and change their behaviors toward child rearing and parenting.”

HSLDA believes that parents are best equipped to instruct and provide for their children. We are concerned that this bill will increase the federal government’s role in child-rearing and education decisions at the expense of parental rights.

S. 54 will also set up another federal home visitation program. This program will fund “trained professionals [to] visit a caregiver in the permanent or temporary residence of the caregiver, and provide a combination of information support, or training regarding child development, parenting skill, and health-related issues.”

All the details of the home visitation programs are open to being politically influenced by government bureaucrats who may think that they know more about parenting than do parents. They may pressure parents to adopt child-rearing methods that are against the family’s religious beliefs. Home visitation officials may even threaten families with abuse and neglect investigations if the families do not choose to follow the official parenting education models.