“These bills contain elements that are critical to improving how we report suspected abuse. We must all remember that the child welfare system does not begin to protect children until a report is made.
This last series of child welfare bills headed to the Governor’s desk for signature continue to advance the recommendations made by the state’s Task Force on Child Protection.
They cast the net wider in defining who is required to report child abuse, and require licensed and certified professionals who work with our children to be trained on key issues related to child abuse identification and reporting.
These key mandated reporters also have had some roadblocks to reporting child abuse removed. No longer required to report their suspicions first to a supervisor, a mandated reporter is directed in this new legislation to make the report first and then inform their appropriate management personnel.
This sends a clear message that the protection of children is now viewed as holding more importance than institutions and their chains of command.
“These bills also bring greater accountability to schools, nonprofit organizations and really all entities that serve and work with children. Volunteers, in some situations, are now considered to be mandated reporters of child abuse. Our licensed and certified professionals, who always have been mandated reporters, will now be required to have training designed to give them clear instruction on their legal requirements.
“The bottom line of this legislation is that it is no longer acceptable to say, “‘I did not know what I had to do.’ Legislation aside, the message we most need to convey is that every person in Pennsylvania has a role to play in keeping children safe and should report suspected abuse to ChildLine at 1-800-932-0313.”
About PFSA: PFSA provides training on recognizing and reporting suspected child abuse and neglect through schools, early childhood education centers, religious institutions, and social service agencies.
PFSA is the Pennsylvania sponsor of The Front Porch Project®, a community-based training initiative that educates the general public about how to protect children from abuse. PFSA also works with more than 50 affiliate agencies across Pennsylvania to provide information, educational materials, and programs that teach and support good parenting practices.
To learn more about how you can recognize and report child abuse, visit http://www.pa-fsa.org.
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