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Child Protective Services Laws

24 pieces of legislation were recently enacted, changing how Pennsylvania responds to child abuse. These changes will significantly impact the reporting, investigation, assessment, prosecution and judicial handling of child abuse and neglect cases.

The new laws will expand and further define mandatory reporters and the reporting process, increase penalties for those mandated to report suspected child abuse who fail to do so, and provide protections from employment discrimination for filing a good faith report of child abuse.

Act Bill Sponsor Summary Effective Date
Act 105 of 2013 HB 321 Toepel

Amends Title 42 (Judiciary and Judicial Procedure) the Pennsylvania Commission on Sentencing shall provide a sentence enhancement within its guidelines for offenses involving sexual abuse of children specifying variations from the range of sentences applicable based on such aggravating circumstances as the age of the child, the number of images possessed by the defendant and the nature and character of the abuse depicted in the images.

View Act 105 of 2013
 

January 1, 2014
Act 107 of 2013 HB 414 O’Neill

Amends Title 21 (Domestic Relations) and 42 (Judiciary) factors relating to child abuse shall be considered when awarding custody.

View Act 107 of 2013
 

January 1, 2014
Act 108 of 2013 HB 726 Petri

Amends Title 23 (Domestic Relations) updating the definition of "child abuse" in numerous ways.

View Act 108 of 2013
 

December 31, 2014
Act 116 of 2013 HB 1594 Regan

Amends Title 18 (Crimes and Offenses) to further provide for definitions and for grading of the offense of luring a child.

View Act 116 of 2013
 

February 16, 2014
Act 117 of 2013 SB 23 L. Baker

Amends Title 23 (Domestic Relations) redefining "perpetrator." The act also details the process for record expungement for a perpetrator who is under 18 years of age.

View Act 117 of 2013
 

December 31, 2014
Act 118 of 2013 SB 28 Browne

Amends Titles 18 (Crimes and Offenses) providing for the offense of simple assault and for the offense of aggravated assault to include injury to a child; in falsification and intimidation, providing an offense for the offense of false reports of child abuse and an offense for intimidation or retaliation in child abuse cases. The legislation further provides for an offense of an obstruction of an investigation.

View Act 118 of 2013
 

January 1, 2014
Act 119 of 2013 SB 30 Erickson

Amends Title 23 (Domestic Relations) provides for immunity for persons or enumerated entities reporting suspected child abuse in good faith. This also details a hearing requirement and process for expunction of records.

View Act 119 of 2013
 

July 1, 2014
Section 6303 (definition of child care services) will become effective December 31, 2014.
Act 120 of 2013 SB 34 Smucker

Amends Educator Discipline Act by expanding the bases for discipline to include founded and indicated reports of child abuse as well as "grooming" behaviors such as sending a student sexually explicit text messages.

View Act 120 of 2013
 

February 16, 2014
Act 123 of 2013 SB 1116 Washington

The act details the requirements of a multidisciplinary review team and a multidisciplinary investigative team, who are tasked with different functions when looking into suspected child abuse by a perpetrator.

View Act 123 of 2013
 

January 1, 2014
Act 4 of 2014 SB 29 Vance

Amends Title 23 (Domestic Relations), providing for mandatory reporting of infants by requiring a health care provider to immediately make a report if the provider is involved in the delivery or care of a child under one year of age who is born and identified as being affected by any of the following: (1) Illegal substance abuse by the child's mother; (2) Withdrawal symptoms resulting from prenatal drug exposure; or (3) A Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder.

View Act 4 of 2014
 

April 22, 2014
Act 27 of 2014 HB 89 Marsico

Ends the DARE fund at the end of FY 2012-2013. All remaining funds in the DARE fund shall be transferred to the PCCD for enumerated purposes as they relate to the funding of child advocacy centers.

View Act 27 of 2014
 

June 6, 2014
Act 28 of 2014 HB 316 Harhart

Department of Health must double the fee to get a certified copy of a birth record to $20. For the fiscal year 2014-15, 50 percent of the fee shall be transferred to the DPW for training of mandated reporters of child abuse and child abuse related costs. Beginning in fiscal year 2015-16, 25 percent of that allocation shall be used by DPW for training of mandated reporters and 75 percent shall be used by the PCCD for grants for child advocacy centers and multidisciplinary investigative teams.

View Act 28 of 2014
 

July 1, 2014
Act 29 of 2014 SB 24 Vulakovich

Amends Title 23 (Domestic Relations), providing for electronic reporting and for the establishment of Statewide database/central register.

View Act 29 of 2014
 

December 31, 2014
Act 31 of 2014 HB 431 Gingrich

Amends Title 23 (Domestic Relations) providing for education and training by requiring child abuse recognition and reporting training for certain mandated reporters.

View Act 31 of 2014
 

December 31, 2014
Act 32 of 2014 HB 436 Stephens

Amends Title 23 (Domestic Relations) certain attorneys are required to report suspected child abuse and for privilege communications. Also increases penalties for failure by mandated reporters to report child abuse.

View Act 32 of 2014
 

Penalties effective on June 14, 2014. Attorneys as mandated reporters effective December 31, 2014.
Act 33 of 2014 SB 21 Ward

Amends Title 23 (Domestic Relations), outlines those persons who are required to report suspected child abuse and those who are encouraged to report suspected child abuse, provides for the procedure of making the report.

View Act 33 of 2014
 

December 31, 2014
Act 34 of 2014 SB 33 Mensch

Amends Title 23 (Domestic Relations), provides whistleblower protections for individuals that file a good faith report of child abuse.

View Act 34 of 2014
 

December 31, 2014
Act 44 of 2014 SB 31 Fontana

Amends Title 23 (Domestic Relations) repealing provisions relating to definitions of school employees, administration, investigation, and reporting responsibilities of schools.

View Act 44 of 2014
 

December 31, 2014
Act 45 of 2014 HB 434 Maloney

Amends Title 23 (Domestic Relations) providing for expunction of information of perpetrator under the age of 18 and for background checks for employment in schools.

View Act 45 of 2014
 

December 31, 2014
Act 56 of 2014 HB 112 Vereb

Amends Titles 18 (Crimes and Offenses) and 42 (Judiciary and Judicial Procedure), providing for the offense of sexual assault by sports official, volunteer or employee of nonprofit association; and, in sentencing, further providing for sentences for offenses against infant persons.

View Act 56 of 2014
 

August 17, 2014
Act 176 of 2014 SB 27 Mensch

Amends Title 23 (Domestic Relations) allowing for the exchange of information between certified medical practitioners and county children & youth agencies in circumstances where a child’s health is negatively affected.

View Act 176 of 2014
 

December 31, 2014
Act 153 2014 HB 435 Moul

Amends Title 23 (Domestic Relations) by outlining the individuals required to obtain child abuse clearances. Also provides for a study to be conducted by PDE/DPW/PCCD on employment bans.

View Act 153 of 2014
 

December 31, 2014
Act 168 of 2014 HB 1816 Tobash

Pass the Trash;” Ban schools from entering into contracts that suppress information about investigations of abuse and sexual misconduct as well as prevent schools from transferring teachers that were subject of a report of abuse to another school district.

View Act 168 of 2014
 

December 21, 2014
Act 15 of 2015 HB 1276 Watson

Amends Title 23 (Domestic Relations) to clarify and make more explicit provisions in the statute enacted last session which requires employees and adult volunteers who work with children to obtain criminal background check clearances and child abuse clearances

View Act 15 of 2015
 

July 1, 2015

View the complete Child Protective Services Law