Capito calls for more help for children

Here in West Virginia and Ohio, we are all too familiar with the effect various types of trauma can have on children. Much of it during recent years has stemmed from the drug abuse epidemic.

Last year, U.S. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-West Virginia, teamed with a bipartisan coalition of lawmakers to get a bill on the subject approved by Congress. It provides new tools and added federal support for treatment of drug addicts, including young people.

Now, Capito is taking the next step, also in bipartisan fashion. She and others have crafted the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) Act.

It was introduced in the Senate by two Republicans, including Capito, and two Democrats. In the House, a companion bill has been introduced with one Democrat and one Republican introducing it.

A comprehensive approach to helping young people affected by trauma, including drug abuse that can affect them in many ways, is taken by the ACEs Act. A key section of the bill would “provide more tools for early childhood clinicians, teachers, school leaders, first responders and certain community leaders,” according to Capito.

That will strike a chord here in the Mountain State.

One of the most obvious needs in public schools here is more and better-trained help for children affected by the drug abuse crisis. They can be harmed in many ways, ranging from active child abuse to neglect that affects their performances in the classroom. Both Republicans and Democrats in the state Legislature want more resources devoted to helping such children.

No state suffering heavily from the substance abuse epidemic can afford an adequate response on its own. Here in West Virginia, both schools and the social service system are virtually overwhelmed by the fallout from addiction.

Capito, then, is right: More help is needed from Washington. The ACEs Act would provide it for children. The measure should be approved by both chambers of Congress, and sent to President Donald Trump for his signature. The bill needs to move immediately, to get help flowing quickly.