AN ACT

 

1Amending Titles 23 (Domestic Relations) and 42 (Judiciary and
2Judicial Procedure) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated
3Statutes, in child custody, further providing for factors to
4consider when awarding custody; providing for consideration
5of child abuse and involvement with child protective
6services; in child protective services, further providing for
7release of information in confidential reports <-and for county 
8agency requirements for general protective services; and, in<-
9juvenile matters, further providing for inspection of court
10files and records <-and for law enforcement records.

11The General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
12hereby enacts as follows:

13Section 1. Section 5328(a) of Title 23 of the Pennsylvania
14Consolidated Statutes is amended by adding a paragraph to read:

15§ 5328. Factors to consider when awarding custody.

16(a) Factors.--In ordering any form of custody, the court 
17shall determine the best interest of the child by considering 
18all relevant factors, giving weighted consideration to those 
19factors which affect the safety of the child, including the
 

1following:

2* * *

3(2.1) The information set forth in section 5329.1(a)(1)
4and (2) (relating to consideration of child abuse and
5involvement with <-child protective services).

6* * *

7Section 2. Title 23 is amended by adding a section to read:

8§ 5329.1. Consideration of child abuse and involvement with
<-9child protective services.

10(a) Information sharing.--In accordance with section 6340(a)
11(5.1) (relating to release of information in confidential
12reports), where a party seeks any form of custody <-subject to the 
13examination of the parties, the court shall determine:

14(1) With respect to child abuse under Chapter 63
15(relating to child protective services) or a child who is a
16victim of a crime under 18 Pa.C.S. (relating to crimes and
17offenses) which would constitute abuse under Chapter 63:

18(i) Whether the child is the subject of an indicated
19or founded report of child abuse.

20(ii) Whether a party or a member of the party's
21household has been identified as the perpetrator in an
22indicated or founded report of child abuse.

23(iii) The date and circumstances of the child abuse.

24(iv) The jurisdiction where the child abuse
25investigation took place.

26(2) With respect to <-child protective services or general
27protective services under Chapter 63:

28(i) Whether a party or a member of a party's
29household has been provided <-general protective services.

30(ii) The type of services provided.

1(iii) The circumstances surrounding the provision of
2services.

3(iv) <-Whether the services were effective The status
4of services.

5(v) The date the services were provided.

6(vi) The jurisdiction where the services were
7provided.

8(b) Cooperation.--The following apply:

9(1) The Department of Public Welfare and the county 
10children and youth social service agency shall fully
11cooperate with the court and assist the court in fulfilling
12its duties under this section.

13(2) The Department of Public Welfare and the county 
14children and youth social service agency shall fully
15cooperate with the governing authority in order to implement
16the provisions of this section.

17(3) The governing authority shall develop procedures to
18implement the provisions of this section.

19(4) As used in this subsection, the term "governing
20authority" shall have the meaning given to it in 42 Pa.C.S. §
21102 (relating to definitions).

22Section 3. Section 6340(a)(5.1) of Title 23 is amended to
23read:

24§ 6340. Release of information in confidential reports.

25(a) General rule.--Reports specified in section 6339
26(relating to confidentiality of reports) shall only be made
27available to:

28* * *

29(5.1) A court of common pleas in connection with any
30matter involving custody of a child[. The department shall

1provide to the court any reports and files which the court
2considers relevant.] as set forth in sections 5328 (relating 
3to factors to consider when awarding custody) and 5329.1 
4(relating to consideration of child abuse and involvement 
5with <-child protective services).

6* * *

<-7Section 4. Section 6307(a) of Title 42 is amended by adding
8a paragraph to read:

<-9Section 4. Section 6375 of Title 23 is amended by adding a
10subsection to read:

11§ 6375. County agency requirements for general protective
12services.

13* * *

14(o) Availability of information.--Information related to
15reports of a child in need of general protective services shall
16be available to individuals and entities <-to the extent they are
17authorized to receive information under section 6340 (relating
18to release of information in confidential reports).

19Section 5. Sections 6307(a) and 6308(a) of Title 42 are
20amended by adding paragraphs to read:

21§ 6307. Inspection of court files and records.

22(a) General rule.--All files and records of the court in a
23proceeding under this chapter are open to inspection only by:

24* * *

25(4.1) A court in determining custody, as provided in 23
26Pa.C.S. §§ 5328 (relating to factors to consider when
27awarding custody) and 5329.1 (relating to consideration of
28child abuse and involvement with <-child protective services).

29* * *

<-30(6.5) The Department of Public Welfare for use in
 

1determining whether an individual named as the perpetrator of 
2an indicated report of child abuse should be expunged from 
3the Statewide database <-pursuant to this chapter.

4* * *

5§ 6308. Law enforcement records.

6(a) General rule.--Law enforcement records and files
7concerning a child shall be kept separate from the records and
8files of arrests of adults. Unless a charge of delinquency is
9transferred for criminal prosecution under section 6355
10(relating to transfer to criminal proceedings), the interest of
11national security requires, or the court otherwise orders in the
12interest of the child, the records and files shall not be open
13to public inspection or their contents disclosed to the public
14except as provided in subsection (b); but inspection of the
15records and files is permitted by:

16* * *

17(6) The Department of Public Welfare for use in
18determining whether an individual named as the perpetrator of
19an indicated report of child abuse should be expunged from
20the Statewide database <-pursuant to this chapter.

21* * *

22Section <-5 6. The amendment or addition of 23 Pa.C.S. §§
235328(a)(2.1), 5329.1 <-and 6340(a)(5.1) and 42 Pa.C.S. § 
246307(a)(4.1), 6340(a<-)(5.1) and 6375(o) and 42 Pa.C.S. §§ 6307(a)
25(4.1) and (6.5) and 6308(a)(6) shall apply to:

26(1) Any action regarding custody of a child under 23
27Pa.C.S. Ch. 53 that is filed on or after the effective date
28of this <-act section.

29(2) Any petition to modify a custody order under 23
30Pa.C.S. Ch. 53 that is filed on or after the effective date

1of this <-act section.

2Section 6 7. This act shall take effect <-in 60 days January 
31, 2014, or immediately, whichever occurs later.

 

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