CHILD ABUSE PREVENTION AND TREATMENT ACT OF 1974
By 1967, all 50 states and the District of Columbia had enacted mandatory reporting laws based on the United States Children’s Bureau’s model reporting law. In 1974, Congress enacted the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) and created the National Center on Child Abuse and Neglect (Nelson, 1984). CAPTA provided a federal definition of child maltreatment, funds for states to implement prevention and treatment efforts, and a mandate to carry out a national incidence study of child maltreatment. State definitions of child maltreatment had to conform to requirements articulated in CAPTA in order for states to receive federal funds. The requirements include enforcing mandatory child- abuse and neglect-reporting laws, investigating reports of abuse and neglect, and educating the public about abuse and neglect. CAPTA has been re-authorized numerous times, with major modifications to the definition of child maltreatment and enhancing service delivery. The main practice implication of CAPTA is enforcing and funding state mandatory reporting laws.