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The Senate Labor and Human Resources Committee last week approved a bill to reauthorize programs aimed at preventing child abuse and promoting adoptions.

The bill, S 1663, would authorize $48 million in fiscal 1988 for the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act, which provides grants to states for social-service programs and research.

It would also authorize $9 million to help states encourage adoptions, particularly of hard-to-place minority, handicapped, and abused children, and $26 million for programs to prevent family violence.

The companion House bill, HR 1900, which was approved by that chamber June 8, would provide the same amount for child-abuse programs as S 1663 and $3 million more for the adoption effort, but $11- million less for the family-violence program.

The bills would also require new federal studies on the topic of child abuse, including surveys of the number of child-abuse-related deaths, the number of abuse reports that prove false, and the incidence of child abuse among handicapped youngsters and other "high risk" groups.

Additionally, the Senate bill would establish a National Commission on Child and Youth Deaths that would evaluate the effectiveness of federal and state prevention efforts.

A Senate committee voted unanimously last week to approve a bill rejecting a proposal by the Bureau of Indian Affairs to transfer the agency's schools to tribes or school districts.

The bia plan, unveiled late last year, would have offered tribes the right of first refusal to assume responsibility for federal schools on their reservations. (See Education Week, Oct. 7, 1987.)

The measure approved by the Senate Select Committee on Indian Education also authorized a special White House conference on Indian education, which would be held between September 1989 and September 1991.

In addition, the bill would create a $45-million, three-year, early-childhood-development program for Indian children; establish a new administrative-funding formula for Indian schools; and allow tribes to consolidate several federal contract programs into one grant.

Senate aides said they expected to attach the measure as an amendment to an omnibus education bill being considered by the chamber. Similar provisions were included in HR 5, the version of the omnibus bill approved by the House.

Polly Gault, the minority staff director of the Senate Subcommittee on Education, Arts, and Humanities, has been named the new executive director of the Presidential commission on aids.

Ms. Gault, who will oversee the commission's staff, served as staff director of the Senate panel between 1980 and 1986, when Republicans controlled the Senate. Before joining the subcommittee, she was an aide specializing in health and human- services issues to former Senator Richard S. Schweiker, Republican of Pennsylvania.

Ms. Gault replaces Linda Sheaffer, who resigned last month from the panel. Since its establishment in July, the panel has been plagued by both organizational strife and ideological differences among its members.

Vol. 07, Issue 07

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