Florida Rep. Brian Mast (R) and California Rep. Gilbert R. Cisneros (D) have joined forces to introduce the End Military-Connected Child Abuse and Neglect Act that would improve how the Department of Defense tracks and responds to incidents of child abuse and neglect occurring on military installations or involving military dependents.
Currently, there are 1.2 million estimated school-aged military dependents around the world, which includes tens of thousands in Department of Defense Education Activity schools.
In a statement, Rep. Mast commented that “children are among the most vulnerable in our society, and it is clear that protecting the more than 1.2 million children in military families needs to be a higher priority.” With this legislation, Mast asserted that it “will ensure we are working together to protect children from abuse and making sure no one slips through the cracks.”
Rep. Cisneros echoed in Mast’s remarks, adding that “as a Navy Veteran, the livelihood and safety of our military families has always been” a top priority for him.”
Moreover, “after learning about the challenges military families face through HASC and GAO’s recent report on military-connected child abuse response, I wanted to ensure the Department of Defense is abiding by the important recommendations in the report.”
He concluded by mentioning that “incidents of abuse can have a significant impact not only on the victims, but also military families and servicemember performance.”
Teresa Huizar, the Executive Director of National Children’s Alliance, praised the work the lawmakers have done, informing that the “NCA is grateful for the commitment of Reps. Cisneros and Mast, congress and all of our military partners to this initiative,” and they “look forward to continuing our collaboration to complete the MOUs and provide a comprehensive response to child victims of abuse in military families.”