CAI’s National Policy Director Amy Harfeld Quoted in The Boston Globe on Law to Prevent Child Abuse and Lack of State Compliance

Amy HarfeldAmy Harfeld, National Policy Director, Children's Advocacy INstitute

SAN DIEGO (December 13, 2019) – University of San Diego (USD) School of Law Children’s Advocacy Institute (CAI) National Policy Director, Amy Harfeld, was quoted in The Boston Globe article entitled, "The federal government has one main law to prevent child abuise. No state follows it." The article is the result of a three year invesitigation into state compliance with the Child Abuse Prevention Act of 1974 (CAPTA).

According to the article, “hundreds of thousands of children face abuse every year, but there is only one federal law that directly addresses this national tragedy” and no state follows it.

The article describes in detail how not one of the 50 states complies with CAPTA, though required to by law.  Though funding for CAPTA has increased over the years, for most states it is not enough to fulfill the mandates by CAPTA. 

“Congress has repeatedly ratcheted up CAPTA’s requirements over the years, while funding lags far behind," said Amy Harfeld, CAI’s national policy director, likening CAPTA to “a starving toothless beast wandering through Congress, in search of a proper meal.”

To read the article by Emily Palmer and Jessica Huseman in The Boston Globe click here.

To read the article by Emily Palmer and Jessica Huseman on click here.

About the Children’s Advocacy Institute

The Children’s Advocacy Institute (CAI), founded at the nonprofit University of San Diego School of Law in 1989, is one of the nation's premiere academic, research, and advocacy organizations working to improve the lives of children and youth, with special emphasis on improving the child protection and foster care systems and enhancing resources that are available to youth aging out of foster care.

In its academic component, CAI trains law students and attorneys to be effective child advocates throughout their legal careers. Its Child Advocacy Clinic gives USD Law students three distinct clinical opportunities to advocate on behalf of children and youth, and its Dependency Counsel Training Program provides comprehensive training to licensed attorneys engaged in or contemplating Dependency Court practice.

CAI's research and advocacy component, conducted through its offices in San Diego, Sacramento, and Washington, D.C., seeks to leverage change for children and youth through impact litigation, regulatory and legislative advocacy, and public education. Active primarily at the federal and state levels, CAI's efforts are multi-faceted—comprehensively and successfully embracing all tools of public interest advocacy to improve the lives of children and youth. To support CAI’s work, please visit

About the University of San Diego School of Law

Each year, USD educates approximately 800 Juris Doctor and graduate law students from throughout the United States and around the world.  The law school is best known for its offerings in the areas of business and corporate law, constitutional law, intellectual property, international and comparative law, public interest law and taxation.

USD School of Law is one of the 84 law schools elected to the Order of the Coif, a national honor society for law school graduates.  The law school's faculty is a strong group of outstanding scholars and teachers with national and international reputations and currently ranks 36th nationally among U.S. law faculties in scholarly impact and 22nd nationally in past-year faculty downloads on the Social Sciences Research Network (SSRN). The school is accredited by the American Bar Association and is a member of the Association of American Law Schools. Founded in 1954, the law school is part of the University of San Diego, a private, independent, Roman Catholic university chartered in 1949.



Katie Gonzalez
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