A law requiring Defense Department employees to report child abuse cases to both military officials and state agencies was passed by the House this month and will soon head to the Senate for approval.
The law - H.R. 3894 - is known as "Talia's Law," after Talia Williams, a 5-year-old military kid who was beaten to death after being tortured by her Army father and step-mother while stationed in Hawaii.
Her mother, Tarshia Williams, sued the U.S. government. She said DoD officials failed to report suspicions that Talia was being abused. She received a $2 million settlement last year .... and now legislation named after her daughter aimed at never letting something like this happen again.
According to Defense Department statistics released last year, cases of child abuse and neglect across the military rose by almost 10 percent in 2014. According to those statistics, about .05 percent of the military's 1 million children were impacted -- with 63 percent of those being neglect cases, and 25 percent abuse.
But one of the problems with those cases -- which Talia's law seeks to fix -- is that they aren't necessarily reported to state officials for further investigation. By changing the rules to require reporting to the state, lawmakers hope that children will be given an extra layer of safety against abuse and neglect.
Before the legislation becomes law it has to pass the Senate. There's been no word from officials at the Senate Armed Services committee as to its prospects there, but it's possible that lawmakers will wait to wrap it into the annual Defense Authorization bill later this year.