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Reporting Child Abuse - Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania

Under Pennsylvania law, certain professionals (including doctors and health care professionals, clergy, school employees and officials, social workers, child care providers, law enforcement officials, any such person who has direct or regular contact with a child through any program, activity or service sponsored by a school, for-profit organization or religious or other not-for-profit organization, among others) who discover child abuse or suspect child abuse in the course of their professional responsibilities, are required to report such abuse by telephone to the Department of Public Welfare or to the county children and youth social service agency, and must be followed by a written report within forty-eight hours. Any other person not specifically listed by statute may report known or suspected child abuse.

Abuse is defined to include physical, mental or sexual abuse.

On December 18, 2013, S.B. 23 was signed into law as Act 117. This law updates the definition of a “person responsible for the child’s welfare” to include any such person who has direct or regular contact with a child through any program, activity or service sponsored by a school, for-profit organization or religious or other not-for-profit organization. Additional information can be found here:

http://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/billInfo/bill_history.cfm?syear=2013&sind=0&body=S&type=B&bn=23

On December 18, 2013, S.B. 30 was enacted into law as Act 119. This law provides that a person acting in good faith shall have immunity from civil and criminal liability that might otherwise result from making a report of suspected child abuse; cooperating or consulting with an investigation or testifying in a proceeding arising out of an instance of suspected child abuse. Additional information can be found here:

http://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/billInfo/bill_history.cfm?syear=2013&sind=0&body=S&type= B&bn=30

To access the specific sections summarized above in the official Pennsylvania Code online, including any relevant definitions, follow:

http://www.legis.state.pa.us/WU01/LI/LI/CT/HTM/23/00.063.011.000..HTM
http://www.legis.state.pa.us/WU01/LI/LI/CT/HTM/23/00.063.003.000..HTM
http://www.legis.state.pa.us/WU01/LI/LI/CT/HTM/23/00.063.012.000..HTM
http://www.legis.state.pa.us/WU01/LI/LI/CT/HTM/23/00.063.013.000..HTM
http://www.legis.state.pa.us/WU01/LI/LI/CT/HTM/23/23.HTM

(sections 6303-6319)

For more information of reporting child abuse in Pennsylvania, follow:

http://www.dpw.state.pa.us/forchildren/childwelfareservices/calltoreportchildabuse!/index.htm

Contact information for each local children and youth agency can be found at:

http://www.pcya.org/Pages/ContactYourAgency.aspx

To report child abuse in Pennsylvania, call the ChildLine Hotline at:
800-932-0313
(TDD: 866-872-1677)