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PROTECT OUR KIDS ACT OF 2012
(House of Representatives - December 19, 2012)

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[Pages H7313-H7317]
                      PROTECT OUR KIDS ACT OF 2012

  Mr. CAMP. Mr. Speaker, I move to suspend the rules and pass the bill 
(H.R. 6655) to establish a commission to develop a national strategy 
and recommendations for reducing fatalities resulting from child abuse 
and neglect.
  The Clerk read the title of the bill.
  The text of the bill is as follows:

                               H.R. 6655

       Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of 
     the United States of America in Congress assembled,

     SECTION 1. COMMISSION.

       This Act may be cited as the ``Protect our Kids Act of 
     2012''.

     SEC. 2. FINDINGS.

       Congress finds that--
       (1) deaths from child abuse and neglect are preventable;
       (2) deaths from child abuse and neglect are significantly 
     underreported and there is no national standard for reporting 
     such deaths;
       (3) according to the Child Maltreatment Report of 2011, in 
     fiscal year 2011, 1,545 children in the United States are 
     reported to have died from child abuse and neglect, and many 
     experts believe that the actual number may be significantly 
     more;
       (4) over 42 percent of the number of children in the United 
     States who die from abuse are under the age of 1, and almost 
     82 percent are under the age of 4;
       (5) of the children who died in fiscal year 2011, 70 
     percent suffered neglect either exclusively or in combination 
     with another maltreatment type and 48 percent suffered 
     physical abuse either exclusively or in combination;
       (6) increased understanding of deaths from child abuse and 
     neglect can lead to improvement in agency systems and 
     practices to protect children and prevent child abuse and 
     neglect; and
       (7) Congress in recent years has taken a number of steps to 
     reduce child fatalities from abuse and neglect, such as--
       (A) providing States with flexibility through the Child and 
     Family Services Improvement and Innovation Act of 2011 to 
     operate child welfare demonstration projects to test services 
     focused on preventing abuse and neglect and ensuring that 
     children remain safely in their own homes;
       (B) providing funding through the Child and Family Services 
     Improvement Act of 2006 for services and activities to 
     enhance the safety of children who are at risk of being 
     placed in foster care as a result of a parent's substance 
     abuse;
       (C) providing funding through the Fostering Connections to 
     Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008 for grants to 
     facilitate activities such as family group decisionmaking 
     meetings and residential family treatment programs to support 
     parents in caring for their children; and
       (D) requiring States through the Child and Family Services 
     Improvement and Innovation Act of 2011 to describe how they 
     will improve the quality of data collected on fatalities from 
     child abuse and neglect.

     SEC. 3. ESTABLISHMENT OF COMMISSION.

       (a) Establishment.--There is established the Commission to 
     Eliminate Child Abuse and Neglect Fatalities (in this Act 
     referred to as the ``Commission'').
       (b) Membership.--
       (1) Composition.--
       (A) Members.--The Commission shall be composed of 12 
     members, of whom--
       (i) 6 shall be appointed by the President;
       (ii) 2 shall be appointed by the Speaker of the House of 
     Representatives;
       (iii) 1 shall be appointed by the minority leader of the 
     House of Representatives;
       (iv) 2 shall be appointed by the majority leader of the 
     Senate; and
       (v) 1 shall be appointed by the minority leader of the 
     Senate.
       (B) Qualifications.--Each member appointed under 
     subparagraph (A) shall have experience in one or more of the 
     following areas:
       (i) child welfare administration;
       (ii) child welfare research;
       (iii) child development;
       (iv) legislation, including legislation involving child 
     welfare matters;
       (v) trauma and crisis intervention;
       (vi) pediatrics;
       (vii) psychology and mental health;
       (viii) emergency medicine;
       (ix) forensic pathology or medical investigation of injury 
     and fatality;
       (x) social work with field experience;
       (xi) academia at an institution of higher education, as 
     that term is defined in section 101 of the Higher Education 
     Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1001), with a focus on one or more of 
     the other areas listed under this subparagraph;
       (xii) law enforcement, with experience handling child abuse 
     and neglect matters;
       (xiii) civil law, with experience handling child abuse and 
     neglect matters;
       (xiv) criminal law, with experience handling child abuse 
     and neglect matters;
       (xv) substance abuse treatment;
       (xvi) education at an elementary school or secondary 
     school, as those terms are defined

[[Page H7314]]

     in section 9101 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act 
     of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 7801);
       (xvii) epidemiology; and
       (xviii) computer science or software engineering with a 
     background in interoperability standards.
       (C) Diversity of qualifications.--In making appointments to 
     the Commission under subparagraph (A), the President and the 
     congressional leaders shall make every effort to select 
     individuals whose qualifications are not already represented 
     by other members of the Commission.
       (2) Date.--The appointments of the members of the 
     Commission shall be made not later than 90 days after the 
     date of enactment of this Act.
       (c) Period of Appointment; Vacancies.--Members shall be 
     appointed for the life of the Commission. Any vacancy in the 
     Commission shall not affect its powers, but shall be filled 
     in the same manner as the original appointment.
       (d) Initial Meeting.--Not later than 60 days after the date 
     on which a majority of the members of the Commission have 
     been appointed, the Commission shall hold its first meeting.
       (e) Meetings.--The Commission shall meet at the call of the 
     Chairperson.
       (f) Quorum.--A majority of the members of the Commission 
     shall constitute a quorum, but a lesser number of members may 
     hold hearings.
       (g) Chairperson.--The President shall select a Chairperson 
     for the Commission from among its members.

     SEC. 4. DUTIES OF THE COMMISSION.

       (a) Study.--
       (1) In general.--The Commission shall conduct a thorough 
     study on the use of child protective services and child 
     welfare services funded under title IV and subtitle A of 
     title XX of the Social Security Act to reduce fatalities from 
     child abuse and neglect.
       (2) Matters studied.--The matters studied by the Commission 
     shall include--
       (A) the effectiveness of the services described in 
     paragraph (1) and best practices in preventing child and 
     youth fatalities that are intentionally caused or that occur 
     due to negligence, neglect, or a failure to exercise proper 
     care;
       (B) the effectiveness of Federal, State, and local policies 
     and systems within such services aimed at collecting 
     accurate, uniform data on child fatalities in a coordinated 
     fashion, including the identification of the most and least 
     effective policies and systems in practice;
       (C) the current (as of the date of the study) barriers to 
     preventing fatalities from child abuse and neglect, and how 
     to improve efficiency to improve child welfare outcomes;
       (D) trends in demographic and other risk factors that are 
     predictive of or correlated with child maltreatment, such as 
     age of the child, child behavior, family structure, parental 
     stress, and poverty;
       (E) methods of prioritizing child abuse and neglect 
     prevention within such services for families with the highest 
     need; and
       (F) methods of improving data collection and utilization, 
     such as increasing interoperability among State and local and 
     other data systems.
       (3) Materials studied.--The Commission shall review--
       (A) all current (as of the date of the study) research and 
     documentation, including the National Survey of Child and 
     Adolescent Well-Being and research and recommendations from 
     the Government Accountability Office, to identify lessons, 
     solutions, and needed improvements related to reducing 
     fatalities from child abuse and neglect; and
       (B) recommendations from the Advisory Board on Child Abuse 
     and Neglect.
       (b) Coordination.--The Commission shall provide 
     opportunities for graduate and doctoral students to 
     coordinate research with the Commission.
       (c) Recommendations.--The Commission shall--
       (1) develop recommendations to reduce fatalities from child 
     abuse and neglect for Federal, State, and local agencies, and 
     private sector and nonprofit organizations, including 
     recommendations to implement a comprehensive national 
     strategy for such purpose; and
       (2) develop guidelines for the type of information that 
     should be tracked to improve interventions to prevent 
     fatalities from child abuse and neglect.
       (d) Report.--
       (1) In general.--Not later than 2 years after the date on 
     which a majority of the members of the Commission have been 
     appointed, the Commission shall submit a report to the 
     President and Congress, which shall contain a detailed 
     statement of the findings and conclusions of the Commission, 
     together with its recommendations for such legislation and 
     administrative actions as it considers appropriate.
       (2) Extension.--The President may extend the date on which 
     the report described in paragraph (1) shall be submitted by 
     an additional 1 year.
       (3) Online access.--The Commission shall make the report 
     under paragraph (1) available on the publicly available 
     Internet Web site of the Department of Health and Human 
     Services.

     SEC. 5. POWERS OF THE COMMISSION.

       (a) Hearings.--
       (1) In general.--The Commission may hold such hearings, sit 
     and act at such times and places, take such testimony, and 
     receive such evidence as the Commission considers advisable 
     to carry out this Act.
       (2) Location.--The location of hearings under paragraph (1) 
     shall include--
       (A) areas with high fatality rates from child abuse and 
     neglect; and
       (B) areas that have shown a decrease in fatalities from 
     child abuse and neglect.
       (3) Subject.--The Commission shall hold hearings under 
     paragraph (1)--
       (A) to examine the Federal, State, and local policies and 
     available resources that affect fatalities from child abuse 
     and neglect; and
       (B) to explore the matters studied under section 4(a)(2).
       (b) Information From Federal Agencies.--The Commission may 
     secure directly from any Federal department or agency such 
     information as the Commission considers necessary to carry 
     out this Act. Upon request of the Chairperson of the 
     Commission, the head of such department or agency shall 
     furnish such information to the Commission.
       (c) Postal Services.--The Commission may use the United 
     States mails in the same manner and under the same conditions 
     as other departments and agencies of the Federal Government.
       (d) Gifts.--The Commission may accept, use, and dispose of 
     gifts or donations of services or property.

     SEC. 6. COMMISSION PERSONNEL MATTERS.

       (a) Travel Expenses.--The members of the Commission shall 
     be allowed travel expenses, including per diem in lieu of 
     subsistence, at rates authorized for employees of agencies 
     under subchapter I of chapter 57 of title 5, United States 
     Code, while away from their homes or regular places of 
     business in the performance of services for the Commission.
       (b) Staff.--
       (1) In general.--The Chairperson of the Commission may, 
     without regard to the civil service laws and regulations, 
     appoint and terminate an executive director and such other 
     additional personnel as may be necessary to enable the 
     Commission to perform its duties. The employment of an 
     executive director shall be subject to confirmation by the 
     Commission.
       (2) Compensation.--The Chairperson of the Commission may 
     fix the compensation of the executive director and other 
     personnel without regard to chapter 51 and subchapter III of 
     chapter 53 of title 5, United States Code, relating to 
     classification of positions and General Schedule pay rates, 
     except that the rate of pay for the executive director and 
     other personnel may not exceed the rate payable for level V 
     of the Executive Schedule under section 5316 of such title.
       (c) Detail of Government Employees.--At the discretion of 
     the relevant agency, any Federal Government employee may be 
     detailed to the Commission without reimbursement, and such 
     detail shall be without interruption or loss of civil service 
     status or privilege.
       (d) Procurement of Temporary and Intermittent Services.--
     The Chairperson of the Commission may procure temporary and 
     intermittent services under section 3109(b) of title 5, 
     United States Code, at rates for individuals that do not 
     exceed the daily equivalent of the annual rate of basic pay 
     prescribed for level V of the Executive Schedule under 
     section 5316 of such title.

     SEC. 7. TERMINATION OF THE COMMISSION.

       The Commission shall terminate on the earlier of--
       (1) the 30th day after the date on which the Commission 
     submits its report under section 4(d); or
       (2) the date that is 3 years after the initial meeting 
     under section 3(d).

     SEC. 8. FEDERAL AGENCY RESPONSE.

       Not later than 6 months after the submission of the report 
     required under section 4(d), any Federal agency that is 
     affected by a recommendation described in the report shall 
     submit to Congress a report containing the response of the 
     Federal agency to the recommendation and the plans of the 
     Federal agency to address the recommendation.

     SEC. 9. ADJUSTMENT TO THE TANF CONTINGENCY FUND FOR STATE 
                   WELFARE PROGRAMS.

       (a) In General.--Section 403(b)(2) of the Social Security 
     Act (42 U.S.C. 603(b)(2)) is amended by striking ``for fiscal 
     years 2011 and 2012'' and all that follows through the end of 
     the paragraph and inserting ``for fiscal years 2013 and 2014 
     such sums as are necessary for payment to the Fund in a total 
     amount not to exceed $612,000,000 for each fiscal year, of 
     which $2,000,000 shall be reserved for carrying out the 
     activities of the commission established by the Protect our 
     Kids Act of 2012 to reduce fatalities resulting from child 
     abuse and neglect.''
       (b) Prevention of Duplicate Appropriations for Fiscal Year 
     2013.--Expenditures made pursuant to section 148 of the 
     Continuing Appropriations Resolution, 2013, for fiscal year 
     2013, shall be charged to the applicable appropriation 
     provided by the amendments made by this section for such 
     fiscal year.

  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to the rule, the gentleman from 
Michigan (Mr. Camp) and the gentleman from Texas (Mr. Doggett) each 
will control 20 minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Michigan.


                             General Leave

  Mr. CAMP. Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that all Members have 
5

[[Page H7315]]

legislative days in which to revise and extend their remarks and to 
include extraneous material on the subject of the bill under 
consideration.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the 
gentleman from Michigan?
  There was no objection.
  Mr. CAMP. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of H.R. 6655, the Protect Our 
Kids Act of 2012. As we are too painfully reminded this week by the 
horrific tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut, for all the good this Nation 
has done to lift up children, we still have much more work to do. So, 
Mr. Speaker, before I get into the remarks about the bill I want to 
extend my heartfelt condolences to the victims and their loved ones 
struggling, as we all are, to understand this senseless assault on 
children and their educators.
  While Newtown is rightly receiving the Nation's attention, what goes 
unnoticed far too often is the number of children that die each year in 
this country as a result of abuse and neglect. Sadly, their deaths 
often come at the hands of those who should be caring for them the 
most.
  State reports indicate that more than 1,500 children in the U.S. died 
from abuse or neglect in fiscal year 2010, and research shows that 
these reports may significantly understate the actual number of these 
fatalities. Congress should do what it can to prevent these tragedies, 
which is why this legislation is before us today.
  This legislation is the result of careful bipartisan work over the 
past couple of years. In 2010, I requested that the Government 
Accountability Office (GAO) review what is known about the 
circumstances of child deaths and near deaths resulting from abuse and 
neglect, State approaches to gathering and reporting this information, 
and what steps the Department of Health and Human Services has taken to 
support the collection and accurate reporting of this information.
  GAO completed its review in July of last year and presented its 
findings at a Ways and Means Subcommittee on Human Resources hearing 
that same month. In their report, GAO said many more children die from 
abuse and neglect than are currently reported. They also reported that 
government agencies have different definitions of abuse and neglect, 
and that administrative barriers hinder the sharing of this information 
across agencies.
  Following that hearing, I worked with Congressman Doggett--and I 
thank him for his bipartisan support--the ranking member of the 
Subcommittee on Human Resources, to develop a legislative proposal to 
address these issues. Last week, the subcommittee held another hearing 
to review this proposal. Finally, after almost 2 years of work, we are 
here on the House floor today to consider and pass this important bill.
  This bipartisan legislation will establish a commission charged with 
developing recommendations to reduce child deaths caused by abuse and 
neglect. The commission will study a variety of issues, including data 
on fatalities, prevention methods, and the adequacy of current programs 
before making their recommendations. Any Federal agency affected by a 
recommendation of the commission will be required to report within 6 
months on how it plans to address the recommendation. Importantly, this 
legislation is paid for and will not add to our deficit.
  Mr. Speaker, I urge all of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle 
to vote in favor of this bipartisan bill and, in doing so, take an 
important step toward preventing the tragic deaths of so many of our 
Nation's children from abuse and neglect.
  Mr. Speaker, I yield the remainder of my time to Mr. Paulsen, the 
acting chair of the Human Resources Subcommittee, and ask unanimous 
consent that he be allowed to control the time.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Without objection, the gentleman from 
Minnesota will control the balance of the time.
  There was no objection.
  Mr. DOGGETT. My thanks to Chairman Camp and Chairman Paulsen, whose 
leadership has facilitated our consideration of this bill today and the 
crafting of it into the piece of legislation that it is.
  I rise in support of the Protect Our Kids Act, which represents an 
improved version over legislation that I introduced about a year ago.
  We are reminded, as Chairman Camp indicated, by the tragedy in 
Connecticut, each family touched by the damage, the deaths of these 
youngest Americans. In contrast, as with so many families, in our 
family we share the joy of three little girls. As difficult as it is to 
conceive of the wrong, the evil that occurred in Connecticut so 
recently, it is similarly difficult to conceive of how many of our 
youngest Americans are the subject of abuse and even death.
  We, through the Protect Our Kids Act, are seeking to have thoughtful 
consideration of what steps we can take to protect these most 
vulnerable children. We're not interested in another commission that 
just prepares another report that gets filed somewhere; we're 
interested in action coming from this commission.
  The original legislation, which was filed in a way that provided for 
its consideration in a number of committees, has been, in terms of 
jurisdiction, narrowed somewhat, but the objectives of the legislation 
remain as broad as they ever were--to explore every aspect of child 
abuse leading to child fatalities and to find more bipartisan solutions 
to addressing that serious matter.
  I reflect on the testimony of a witness from Dallas, Madeline 
McClure, the executive director of the Texas Association for the 
Protection of Children, who testified before our committee very 
recently that the estimate of 753,000 children being abused and 
neglected in America is a conservative one, but that to put it in 
context, if you filled the Alamodome, the Darrell K. Royal Stadium in 
Austin, the Hubert Humphrey Metro Dome in Minneapolis, Yankee Stadium, 
the stadium in Georgia, in Tennessee, Tiger Stadium in Louisiana, the 
Rose Bowl, the Century Link Fields in Washington State, you would fill 
those and still not cover all of the children who are subject to abuse 
and neglect each year in this country. Almost half of those children 
that are abused are age 4 or under.
  Our bill provides an opportunity to take an important step forward in 
developing a national strategy to protect our most vulnerable children. 
The commission, appointed by the President and Congress, would develop 
recommendations to reduce the number of children who die from abuse and 
neglect.
  The commission would bring together a group of experts from around 
the country in a wide variety of professions to identify prevention 
efforts. So little of the resources that we focus on abused and 
neglected children in America today goes to prevention, and that should 
be an important focus in a broad sense, as well as the collection of 
good data so that we can adequately compare what's happening and can 
also understand the best practices that are already underway in many 
communities across America.

                              {time}  1520

  As we listened to experts both in our recent hearing in front of the 
Subcommittee on Human Resources and last year when we held a hearing, 
we note the need for what one called an ``accessible blueprint'' for 
the States to implement better child abuse prevention strategy. That's 
a blueprint that this commission can provide.
  In my home State of Texas, there are groups like Voices for Children 
San Antonio, CASA, Children's Shelters in San Antonio, Austin and other 
communities, and TexProtects, that are serving as a voice for the 
voiceless and trying to prevent child abuse. There are local leaders 
like Texas State Senator Carlos Uresti, who was the moving force behind 
the Texas Blue Ribbon Task Force and the Bexar County Task Force on 
Child Abuse.
  The important work that these folks are doing has been a great 
benefit; but despite it, the fatalities that are stemming from child 
abuse continue to grow, and they are almost at epidemic proportions in 
Texas, and in San Antonio in particular. Last year, there were almost 
6,000 confirmed cases of child abuse in the San Antonio area in Bexar 
County, the highest number in Texas, higher than even Houston and 
Harris County, which has about twice the population.
  In the last decade, Texas had over 2,000 children who were killed--
who

[[Page H7316]]

died--as a result of abuse and neglect. Last year, we had a total in 
Texas of nearly 66,000 confirmed cases. That's just too much. There is 
more that we can do and that we must do to protect these youngest 
Americans.
  Child abuse and neglect are not isolated. The children don't just 
``bounce back.'' The consequences of abuse and neglect are felt 
throughout the lifetime and, indeed, often from one generation to 
another. These conditions can linger for a very long time. The data are 
clear: among those adults who have experienced the highest level of 
childhood trauma, these individuals were five times more likely to 
suffer from alcoholism, nine times more likely to be involved in drug 
abuse, three times more likely to be clinically depressed, and four 
times more likely to be addicted to nicotine. Additional research shows 
a relationship between childhood abuse and the presence of a range of 
adult diseases.
  In the past, this Congress' adoption of expert advice has provided 
progress in dealing with the issue of child neglect and abuse. We have 
made some positive changes to the way children are placed into foster 
care and have elevated child safety as a primary welfare goal for the 
States. But as evidenced by the statistics, there are gaps in policy. 
There is much more work to be done to reduce the number of children who 
die each year in the hands of someone who is supposed to be caring for 
them.
  The Protect Our Kids Act is a significant step in the right 
direction, and I urge its approval.
  I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. PAULSEN. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  Mr. Speaker, today we have an opportunity to improve the way our 
child welfare system works. We have a chance to learn what is most 
effective in preventing fatalities from child abuse and neglect. By 
acting on this bill today, we can make a significant difference in the 
lives of children who need to be protected.
  In a hearing that we held just this last week on the Protect Our Kids 
Act of 2012, I shared the heartbreaking story of Devin Drake, who is an 
example of the type of tragedy we hope to prevent through the work of 
this important commission.
  In August of 2011, Devin Drake was a 3-year-old boy living just 
outside of Minneapolis with his mother and her boyfriend. Child welfare 
officials had been in contact with the family previously, but this 
wasn't enough to prevent what happened next. It was on one fateful 
night that Devin was seriously injured when his mother's boyfriend 
struck him, knocking him down to the bathroom floor. Devin hit his head 
hard enough that he had trouble standing up, but neither his mother nor 
her boyfriend took the time to bring him to the hospital.
  His condition worsened the next day; and when he was finally taken to 
the hospital, it was too late. Doctors reported that Devin had severe 
head trauma, punctured lungs, and a number of contusions. Four days 
later, Devin Drake died.
  This bill will help to prevent those types of tragedies. This 
commission created by this bill would review the effectiveness of 
current child welfare services, it will examine the data we have now 
about childhood fatalities, and it will study factors that are 
predictive of child abuse and neglect. And through this work, this 
commission can provide Congress and others with critical information on 
how we can improve our child abuse prevention efforts.
  I note that while this bill provides some resources for the 
commission to do its work, thanks to Chairman Camp and Mr. Doggett, 
they have worked very carefully to ensure that the commission operates 
within existing social services funding. As a result, this bill does 
not add to the deficit. This shows how critical this issue is and how 
bipartisan this issue is, as well.
  I urge all my colleagues to support this important legislation and 
reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. DOGGETT. Mr. Speaker, at this time, I would yield 2 minutes to 
the gentlewoman from California, who is the cochair of the Foster Youth 
Caucus and who has actively participated in coming to the hearings in 
our committee because of her great interest in preventing child abuse, 
Ms. Bass.
  Ms. BASS of California. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in strong support 
of the Protect Our Kids Act. First of all, I want to thank Ranking 
Member Doggett, Chairman Camp, and Chairman Paulsen for their 
leadership and commitment to eliminating child fatalities.
  Unfortunately, Federal Government statistics estimate that every day 
in America approximately 2,000 children are confirmed victims of child 
abuse and neglect, nearly 700 children are removed from their families 
and placed in foster care due to child abuse and neglect, and about 
four children die as a result.
  Additionally, in fiscal year 2010 alone, more than 1,500 children in 
the U.S. died due to maltreatment. Of these, more than 40 percent were 
under the age of 1 year old, and more than 80 percent were under the 
age of 4.
  These statistics are absolutely unacceptable; and to make matters 
worse, research has shown that these reports substantially 
underestimate the number of children who die due to maltreatment.
  As a Nation, we have a responsibility to develop effective strategies 
and solutions to proactively stop this abuse and neglect. When children 
are removed from their home, they really become our children, and it is 
our responsibility.
  While Congress has enacted a variety of laws regarding child welfare 
and protection, there is no unified, comprehensive Federal strategy for 
reducing instances of child abuse and neglect. This bill will ensure 
that the highest levels of government work together to develop a 
national strategy to eliminate child abuse and neglect fatalities. By 
bringing together experts on child development, trauma and crisis 
intervention, pediatrics, social work, law enforcement, criminal law, 
and substance abuse treatment, the commission will truly protect our 
kids.
  As the cochair of the Congressional Caucus on Foster Youth, I look 
forward to continue working with my colleagues to help prevent child 
abuse, neglect and fatalities. I urge my colleagues to support H.R. 
6655.
  Mr. PAULSEN. Mr. Speaker, we have no other speakers. I reserve the 
balance of my time.
  Mr. DOGGETT. I would yield myself such time as I may consume.
  Mr. Speaker, as Texas District Judge Darlene Byrne, a leader in 
establishing child protection courts has said:

       Childhood should be a time of innocence and freedom, but it 
     is a sad fact that many children are vulnerable to injury and 
     abuse. Our Nation's children need good leaders to stand up 
     and find creative ways to protect them from harm. The 
     creation of the National Commission to End Child Fatalities 
     is an important step in that direction.

  At a hearing, Mr. Speaker, of our Ways and Means Human Resources 
Subcommittee that we held over a year ago, I expressed hope that we 
would be able to come together in a bipartisan response. Today, we are 
doing just that.
  As we take this step toward reducing child neglect and abuse, I would 
like to thank the many children's protection groups that have been so 
instrumental in providing input and support for this legislation, 
including the members of the National Coalition to End Child Abuse 
Deaths; particularly the National Association of Social Workers; the 
National Center for the Review and Prevention of Child Deaths; the 
National Children's Alliance; Every Child Matters Education Fund; and, 
of course, the National District Attorneys Association, as well as 
individuals like Michael Petit, Teresa Huizar, who testified before our 
committee, Kim Day, Teri Covington and Joan Zlotnick.
  We have a real chance to see this bipartisan legislation become law 
this very year in the few days that remain. There is similar, 
bipartisan legislation that was introduced last year at the same time I 
originally filed the bill that is authored by Senators Kerry and 
Collins.

                              {time}  1530

  I'm hopeful that the Senate will see the bipartisan action that we 
have here today and the commitment we have and will move forward with 
this improved version of the legislation quickly.
  With that, I yield back the balance of my time and give my thanks to 
Chairman Paulsen.
  Mr. PAULSEN. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

[[Page H7317]]

  Mr. Speaker, the Protect Our Kids Act of 2012 will help us prevent 
child fatalities from abuse and neglect. The commission created by this 
bill will show us how we can improve on our current efforts, and it 
will help provide us with the information we need to move forward on 
this issue.
  I urge my colleagues to support the bill today.
  I want to thank not only Chairman Camp, but Ranking Member Doggett 
for his leadership and his passion on this issue.
  I urge support and yield back the balance of my time.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The question is on the motion offered by the 
gentleman from Michigan (Mr. Camp) that the House suspend the rules and 
pass the bill, H.R. 6655.
  The question was taken.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. In the opinion of the Chair, two-thirds 
being in the affirmative, the ayes have it.
  Mr. PAULSEN. Mr. Speaker, on that I demand the yeas and nays.
  The yeas and nays were ordered.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to clause 8 of rule XX, further 
proceedings on this question will be postponed.

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