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Plates support efforts to reduce abuse
State’s ‘Keep Kids Safe’ plates help each county’s efforts to reduce child abuse, neglect
Keeping kids safe from child abuse is an endemic problem in Oregon affecting more than 11,000 victims per year. In 2011, the legislature approved a program to help fund child abuse and neglect prevention through The Children’s Trust Fund of Oregon.
“Keep Kids Safe” license plates, newly minted, will join the ranks of specialty plates like ones that help support salmon, veterans and the Cultural Trust of Oregon. The sale of these plates will support each county’s efforts reduce child abuse and neglect.
According to The Children’s Trust Fund, in 2010 there were nearly 72,000 reports of child abuse, an increase of 4,001 reports from 2009.
Current economic conditions are placing increased stress on families, making children more vulnerable to abuse and neglect — at the same time public and private funding for services is declining.
The genesis of the license plate began with a Deschutes County Children and Families Commission board member who moved to Oregon from a state that had a Keep Kids Safe license plate. The commission, in partnership with Representative Gene Whisnant (R-Sunriver), mobilized to research the feasibility of creating a Keep Kids Safe plate in Oregon.
Whisnant and Deborah Boone (D–Cannon Beach) co-sponsored a bill that eventually created a Keep Kids Safe group license plate, but it took three sessions to convince the rest of the legislature.
In 2007, Representative Whisnant sponsored a bill that did not pass in the House Transportation Committee.
In 2009, Representative Whisnant sponsored HB 3121. “Keep Kids Safe” received overwhelming support in the House, with 57 members voting to protect children and strengthen families, but the bill did not pass in the Senate Transportation Committee.
For a second time in 2011 it received overwhelming support in the House, and again, it did not pass in the Senate Transportation Committee.
With continued perseverance, representatives Boone and Whisnant resurrected the bill. Boone identified the bill as a “priority bill” and it was re-introduced as HB 3684. It passed overwhelmingly in the House and the Senate and was signed into law.
The law doesn’t cost anything to the state, but establishes a surcharge fee of $30 for a two-year registration. Based on similar plate historical sales, the Keep Kids Safe License Plate has the potential to generate up to $500,000 annually.
In a letter from Susan Lindauer, executive director of the Children’s Trust Fund of Oregon, she said, “The sales of the ‘Keep Kids Safe’ license plate will provide much needed funds for child abuse prevention programs throughout Oregon’s 36 counties.”
Children’s Trust Fund of Oregon will manage and allocate the funds from net proceeds of plate sales to every county for proven child abuse prevention programs.
The funds generated will benefit all counties. The funding formula includes a base amount of $1,000 plus a prorated amount based on actual plate sales in each county.
Each county will determine how to invest in protecting children and strengthening families using proven child abuse prevention efforts.
New car buyers can purchase the Keep Kids Safe License Plate through the dealership.
DMV field offices will not have these plates on hand but can accept the application and fees. All group plates are mailed to the customer from DMV Headquarters.
The surcharge for the new Keep Kids Safe license plate is collected at issuance,
$30 for a two-year registration period or $60 for a four-year new vehicle registration period and$30 at each subsequent renewal. The surcharge is in addition to other vehicle registration and plate fees.
The non-profit Children’s Trust Fund of Oregon will manage and allocate the funds from net proceeds of plate sales to every county for proven child abuse prevention programs. The Children’s Trust Fund of Oregon’s mission is to prevent child abuse in Oregon through strategic investments in proven, best-practice programs, public education and research.