Changes to the Children’s Safety Act Debated

By Josh Montez

July 28, 2005

The Children’s Safety Act has been around for 10 years and is showing its
age. Representative Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI) has introduced legislation
with reforms that would make the national registry that’s part of the law
consistent between the states. It is hoped that the changes will make it
harder for sex offenders to slip out of state and change their identity.
Yesterday the House Judiciary Committee weighed in. Congressman Mark
Green of Wisconsin is on the panel.

“If we are in fact going to take steps to prevent future crimes against
kids, we have to have tools like this registry that they have to be
complete, people have to be able to count upon them.”

Patty Wetterling knows all too well why changes are needed. Her son Jacob
was abducted in 1989 and is still missing. She supports the bill.

“It strikes at the heart of child victimization issues. It goes after the
most violent of offenders, it will give some money to law enforcement, we
are going to have to work on getting better funding for this because
we’re asking law enforcement to do more.”

The Act requires all offenders to verify their registry information in
person every six months and increases penalties on offenders who don’t.
Richard Widdon with National Law Center for the Protection of Children
and Families thinks the provision will correct a huge hole in the current
law.

“It’s estimated that 23 states have lost track of between ten and fifty
percent of their sex offenders.”

A sobering statistic considering that there are more than 550,000
registered sex offenders in the US according to the National Center for
Missing and Exploited Children. The Children’s Safety Act easily passed
the committee with bi-partisan support. It now moves to the House Floor.

Copyright © 2005 Focus on the Family

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