Children and Families
Senator Toomey believes that all children are precious and deserve protection.
Protecting Our Children
No child should have his or her innocence shattered by abuse or exploitation. That is why Senator Toomey has fought to protect our children from abuse, to provide additional funds to ensure child abuse victims receive all of the assistance they need to begin healing, and to support law enforcement efforts to take predators off of our streets.
Protecting Children from Sexual and Violent Predators
Every year, hundreds of school workers across America are arrested for sexual misconduct with children, including many in Pennsylvania. 2014 saw 459 school employees arrested nationwide, including 26 Pennsylvania teachers.
Thanks to Senator Toomey's leadership, in December 2015, the U.S. Congress acted for the first time to protect our children from child molesters infiltrating the classroom. Congress passed, and President Obama signed into law, a bipartisan education bill that included Senator Toomey's measure to ban "passing the trash." This is the horrific practice of a school learning it has a pedophile on staff and helping that pedophile move onto a new job and new child victims-often, by writing letters of recommendation.
Senator Toomey also has introduced the bipartisan Protecting Students from Sexual and Violent Predators Act, which requires schools receiving federal funds to perform background checks on all employees and contractors who have access to children. Under the bill, a school may not hire a person if he or she has committed certain crimes, including any violent or sexual crime against a child.
Ensuring Victims of Abuse Have Access to Needed Services
Senator Toomey understands that when a child is victimized, it is imperative that the child receives the best medical and emotional care possible.
Senator Toomey has successfully fought to have hundreds of millions of additional dollars directed to victims of child abuse, sexual assault, domestic violence, and other crimes-with no additional costs to taxpayers. He has done so by working to reform the Crime Victims Fund. The Crime Victims Fund receives no taxpayer dollars; it is funded by criminal fines and penalties collected by the federal government. Money in the fund is supposed to be used to assist victims of crime. But, for over a decade, Congress has diverted billions from victims of crime and used the money for other discretionary spending projects. The result is that victims of child abuse, sexual assault, domestic violence, and other crimes have been denied the services they desperately need, even though the money is there for them.
Thanks to Senator Toomey's efforts, Congress has increased disbursals from the Crime Victims Fund from $745 million in 2014 to over $2.3 billion for 2015 and 2016. Senator Toomey's Fairness for Crime Victims Act will make these reforms permanent. Under Senator Toomey's bill, Pennsylvania groups that assist victims of child abuse, sexual assault, domestic violence, and other crimes will see available funding more than quadruple, rising from $17.5 million in 2014 to $80 million in 2016. The Senate Budget Committee has approved this legislation unanimously, by voice vote, and it currently awaits a vote in the full Senate.
Senator Toomey was proud to co-sponsor the bipartisan Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act, which President Obama signed into law in May 2015. This legislation targets a modern form of human slavery-the forced prostitution of individuals, typically women and young children. The legislation increases prison terms and penalties for those who exploit and traffic children, and increases funding for Child Advocacy Centers and other groups that provide services to victims of abuse.
Additionally, Senator Toomey has worked to ensure that victims of child pornography are able to obtain full restitution from all wrongdoers by introducing the Justice for Amy Act. Senator Toomey's approach was incorporated into a bill that Senator Toomey co-sponsored and was passed by the Senate unanimously.
Removing Predators from Our Streets
It is crucial to catch child predators and get them off of the streets. That is why Senator Toomey introduced a proposal to increase funding for the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, which tracks down child pornographers and human traffickers on the Internet and brings them to justice. Senator Toomey's measure would also increase funding for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, which works with law enforcement to find missing and exploited kids and to enforce the requirements of the national sex offender registry.
Welcoming All Children into the World
Senator Toomey is pro-life and believes that all children should be welcomed into the world and protected by its laws.
While reasonable people may differ on the question of abortion rights, we should all be able to agree on policies that encourage adoption over abortion, that avoid taxpayer funding of abortions, and that allow more parental involvement in decisions that involve minors.
Senator Toomey supports policies that further these important goals, including the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion and Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act of 2015 (S. 582), of which he is a co-sponsor.
Supporting Parents and Families
Senator Toomey believes that the family is the basic building block for society.
Senator Toomey understands the challenges that face many families today, especially working mothers. This is why he is a co-sponsor of the Working Families Flexibility Act of 2015, which enables employees to obtain up to four additional weeks of paid leave. The bill provides private sector employees the same work flexibility that employees of the federal government currently enjoy. Under the Working Families Flexibility Act, an employee may choose how she wishes to be compensated for overtime-whether by receiving overtime pay at time and a half, or with extra vacation time, at a rate of 1 ½ hours of leave for every hour of overtime worked.
Thanks to Senator Toomey's efforts, law enforcement has an additional tool to find parents who refuse to pay child support. Senator Toomey's Child Support Assistance Act, which was signed into law by President Obama in December 2015, enables law enforcement to obtain, without delay, employment verification for delinquent parents, so these parents can be found and, if needed, their wages garnished to ensure their children receive the support they need and deserve.