Legislation passed unanimously today by the House will align state laws with federal laws governing the reporting of child abuse, ensuring consistency and extending the state’s eligibility for millions of dollars in federal aid.

“If someone believes a child is being abused, we want them to report it — not keep quiet for fear of penalty for a mistaken report,” said Sen. Annette Cleveland (D-Vancouver), the bill’s sponsor. “The important thing is to make sure we protect kids from abuse, and this bill removes an impediment to intervening on their behalf.”

Drafted at the request of the state Department of Children, Youth, and Families, Senate Bill 6423 provides information or assistance in the report, investigation, and legal proceedings of child abuse or neglect.

The change aligns state law with the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act, a federal law that provides funding and guidance to states to support and encourage prevention, investigation, prosecution and treatment of child abuse.

Having passed both the Senate and House, the bill now goes to the governor to be signed into law.