Four members of Congress’ Minnesota delegation are working together to expand the National Child Protection Training Center, with the goal of replicating its work at centers across the country.
U.S. Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken and U.S. Reps. Tim Walz and Betty McCollum introduced legislation this week to found regional centers that would train teachers, health-care and law-enforcement professionals, and day-care providers to identify, report and ultimately prevent child abuse.
“It really hit home to me that these kids are completely vulnerable, sometimes they’re babies, and we have to step in and protect them,” Klobuchar said in an interview Wednesday. Klobuchar, who served eight years as as Hennepin County’s chief prosecutor, said such training is critical to protecting victims who can’t necessarily speak for themselves.
“Winona has a proven track record of doing a great job and really looking in-depth at what we need for training and creating smart curriculum for training workers,” she said.
“As a parent and a teacher, protecting our children is a top priority for me,” Walz said in a statement. “The work of the National Child Protection Training Center at Winona State is essential to ending child abuse, and I am proud to represent this outstanding organization.”
Klobuchar praised the support several Democratic and Republican legislators have already lent the bill, including three members of Congress from Arkansas, where the center plans to soon open its second primary training center intended to serve 15 southern states.
“We have a good start in that it’s a bipartisan bill,” Klobuchar said.