Jenn Valenzuela, executive director of the Children's Trust, said resources like home visiting programs can curb the cycle of child abuse and neglect in Massachusetts. [Alison Kuznitz/SHNS]

Happening Today:

11 a.m. | Gov. Maura Healey attends a Beacon Hill summit hosted by the Springfield Regional Chamber of Commerce. | Senate Reading Room

2 p.m. | Gov. Maura Healey meets privately with Treasurer Goldberg for their monthly meeting. | Governor's Office

3 p.m. | Gov. Maura Healey presents a citation at the annual commemoration of international Denim Day. The day, hosted by the Massachusetts Caucus of Women Legislators and its Sexual Violence Task Force, is held annually in April where supporters wear denim to protest sexual violence. | Grand Staircase

3:15 p.m. | Gov. Maura Healey unveils winners of a contest to decide which former governors' portraits hang in the corner office. Lt. Gov. Driscoll joins. | Governor's Ceremonial Office

The consequence of child abuse was visible in the State House’s grand staircase on Tuesday, where 85 pairs of empty shoes were on display by advocacy group Children’s Trust to represent the average number of confirmed cases of child abuse and neglect confirmed every day in Massachusetts.

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Aaron Michlewitz was among those honored at the annual Step Up for Kids event and later Tuesday, his fellow representatives renewed their push to take a closer look at the deaths of young children as a separate package of bills aims to crack down on the “staggering” prevalence of child abuse in schools and community organizations.

Representatives slipped language into a mega-amendment that would require a chief medical examiner’s review and approval on autopsies on children under 2 years old. 

Lawmakers’ efforts to adopt a similar budget amendment or pass a standalone bill to increase scrutiny in death investigations for the Bay State’s youngest and most vulnerable residents failed last year. The push came following high-profile deaths of infants in recent years — like a 6-month-old Malden baby who died violently of shaken-baby syndrome. 

The mega-amendment passed 158-0 in the House on Tuesday and is one of four consolidated amendments added so far to the budget as of early Tuesday evening that added another $32.9 million to the budget plan for fiscal 2024, bringing the total spending this week to $86.5 million, which will be tacked onto the House’s $56.2 billion budget. 

The House budget debate is ongoing. It must still pass the chamber with the full budget, as well as the Senate, and earn Gov. Maura Healey’s signature.

Advocates called it an appropriate addition in the waning days of April, which is Child Abuse Prevention Month.

Sen. Joan Lovely spoke about the “staggering but true” statistics around child abuse and child sexual abuse in particular at a recent webinar held by Mass. Citizens for Children and the Enough Abuse Campaign. She is championing a package of bills that seek to end abuse in the education system.

The Salem Democrat said her legislation and a parallel bill filed by Rep. John Lawn (S 314/H194) would require schools and youth organizations to adopt abuse prevention policies, require all mandated reporters working in schools and youth programs to undergo regular training on how to prevent child sexual abuse, recognize inappropriate behavior, and respond to violations, and have the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education develop the training program and make it available at no cost.

Boston lawyer Carmen Durso, a survivor who specializes in representing child abuse survivors, said: “Sex abuse in education has become the clergy abuse crisis of this decade.”

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The Boston Herald

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The Boston Globe

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Framingham Source

Lowell says rapid response helped minimize cyber attack 

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Lowell Sun

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Herald News

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Telegram & Gazette

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Martha’s Vineyard Times | The Vineyard Gazette

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Daily Hampshire Gazette

Erin Tiernan was a Editor and Author of MASSterList