WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. House of Representatives passed the FY2021 National Defense Authorization Act, which included a provision Congressman Brian Mast (FL-18) helped write to stop child abuse in the military. Specifically, this provision 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.

“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,” Rep. Mast said. “Getting this provision written into law will ensure we are working together to protect children from abuse and making sure no one slips through the cracks.”

There are approximately 1.2 million school-aged military dependents around the world, including tens of thousands in Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) schools. Earlier this year, GAO issued a report on Increased Guidance and Collaboration Needed to Improve DOD's Tracking and Response to Child Abuse that outlined 23 recommendations for DoD to implement. The End Military-Connected Child Abuse and Neglect Act seeks to codify these GAO recommendations.