Public Policy

APA Public Interest Government Relations Office update

A new law creates a national commission to prevent child maltreatment fatalities.

By Kerry Bolger, PhD
On Jan. 14, President Obama signed into law APA-supported legislation, the Protect our Kids Act of 2012 (P.L. 112-275), to create a Commission to Eliminate Child Abuse and Neglect Fatalities. The commission will comprise 12 members — to be appointed by the President and congressional leaders — including members with experience in psychology, mental health, and child development. The bill passed the House of Representatives on Dec. 19 and the Senate on Jan. 2. APA’s Public Interest Government Relations Office (PI-GRO) had been working in support of the bill since 2011, when it originally was introduced in Congress. In December 2012, APA submitted written testimony in support of the bill to the House of Representatives Committee on Ways and Means, Subcommittee on Human Resources, for a hearing on reducing child deaths due to maltreatment.

Federal Trade Commission updates children’s online privacy protection rule

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has updated its Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule to strengthen privacy protections for children and give parents more control over the personal information that websites and online services may collect from children under 13. APA and a broad coalition of partner organizations encouraged the FTC to update the Rule to reflect the growing use of newer technologies, such as social networks and smartphone apps.

Under the new FTC Rule, which was released on Jan. 17, websites and smartphone apps will have to obtain parental consent before gathering photos, videos, or geographic location of children, and before tracking children’s online behavior. Web sites that collect information on children will be required to protect it, keep it “for only as long as is reasonably necessary,” and then delete it safely.

APA participates in National Convening on Fair Sentencing of Youth

APA’s PI-GRO participated in a panel at the 2012 National Convening of the Campaign for the Fair Sentencing of Youth on Nov. 15 at Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, D.C. PI-GRO staff discussed APA’s contributions to the fair sentencing of youth, including APA’s influential amicus curiae briefs submitted to the Supreme Court in cases on capital punishment and sentences of life without parole for juveniles. The meeting provided an opportunity for partners from around the country to build relationships and share strategies in response to the recent Supreme Court decision abolishing mandatory life without parole sentences for children, Miller v. Alabama.