The Federal Government cannot create child abuse laws. Child abuse law is developed by each State. Many states throughout the United States rely heavily on Federal grants in order to maintain an effective child welfare system. In some States, such as New Mexico, up to three quarters of funding for child abuse prevention, protection, education, and foster care comes from the Federal Government through the Keeping Children and Families Safe Act of 2003.
This Act requires that a State provide any Government agency with access to private data and information, if they should request it. This 2003 Act also requires that states develop child abuse laws that require all potential adoptive parents and foster parents to undergo thorough background checks. These states may have originally had no intention of adopting these child abuse laws.
However, if the State is dependent on Federal funding for child abuse education and prevention, as well as child protection, then that State will have to develop the child abuse laws that are outlined in the eligibility requirements. In this way, the Federal Government is able to successfully affect the child abuse laws in a specific State.