U.S. Senator Katie Britt, R-Ala., a member of the Senate Committee on Appropriations, secured a critical 22 percent funding increase for Child Advocacy Centers (CACs) across the country, including 21 in Alabama, in the Fiscal Year 2024 Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act.
CACs are tasked with coordinating the investigation, treatment, and prosecution of child abuse cases by working with child protective and victim advocacy services, health authorities, and law enforcement. The nation’s first CAC was established in Huntsville in the 1980s by then-Madison County District Attorney Robert E. “Bud” Cramer, who would later represent Alabama in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1991 to 2009.
According to the National Children’s Alliance, more than 600,000 children are abused in the United States each year. The most recent complete national data shows that an estimated 1,750 children died from abuse and neglect in 2020.
“Child Advocacy Centers perform some of the most important work in a community – protecting children from abuse, harm, and neglect. I worked to ensure that this critical funding increase was included in the Appropriations Committee’s CJS bill because we need to be providing CACs with every resource and tool necessary to keep our next generation safe,” said Senator Britt. “America will achieve its promise when every single child across our nation can reach their full potential.”
The increase in the appropriations legislation would raise the total funding for CAC programs from $41 million to $50 million and direct the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention to ensure that not less than 90 percent of the grants awarded are for the purposes of developing and maintaining CACs. The FY24 Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act now goes to the full Senate for consideration.