AN ACT

 

1Amending Title 23 (Domestic Relations) of the Pennsylvania
2Consolidated Statutes, in child protective services, <-further 
3providing for definitions and for persons required to report 
4suspected child abuse; providing for specific persons 
5required to report and for required posting of signs; and 
6further providing <-for persons required to report suspected 
7child abuse; providing for privileged communications; and 
8further providing for penalties for failure to report or to 
9refer.

10The General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
11hereby enacts as follows:

<-12Section 1. The definition of "school employee" in section
136303(a) of Title 23 of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes is
14amended and subsection (a) is amended by adding definitions to
15read:

16§ 6303. Definitions.

17(a) General rule.--The following words and phrases when used
18in this chapter shall have the meanings given to them in this
19section unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:

1* * *

2"Affiliate," "affiliate of" or "person affiliated with." A
3person that directly or indirectly, through one or more
4intermediaries, controls, is controlled by or is under common
5control with a specified person.

6"Business establishment." Includes:

7(1) A retail store, facility or entity in which
8commercial film or photographic print processing takes place.

9(2) A retail store, facility or entity in which
10computers, electronics or other information technology
11equipment and devices are repaired or serviced.

12* * *

13"Direct contact with children." The possibility of care,
14supervision, guidance or control of children or routine
15interaction with children.

16* * *

17"Health care facility." As defined in section 802.1 of the
18act of July 19, 1979 (P.L.130, No.48), known as the Health Care
19Facilities Act.

20"Independent contractor." An individual who provides a
21program, activity or service to an agency, institution,
22organization or other entity, including a school or regularly
23established religious organization, that is directly responsible
24for the care, supervision, guidance or control of children. The
25term excludes an individual who, in his capacity as an
26independent contractor, has no direct contact with children.

27* * *

28"Mandated reporter." A person who is required by this
29chapter to make a report of suspected child abuse.

30* * *

1"Program, activity or service." A public or private
2educational, athletic or other pursuit in which children
3participate. The term includes, but is not limited to, the
4following:

5(1) A youth camp or program.

6(2) A recreational camp or program.

7(3) A sports or athletic program.

8(4) An outreach program.

9(5) An enrichment program.

10(6) A troop, club or similar organization.

11* * *

12"School." A facility providing elementary, secondary or
13postsecondary educational services. The term includes every
14public, nonpublic, private and parochial school, including each
15of the following:

16(1) A school or class within a school under the
17supervision of the Department of Education.

18(2) A State-related and State-owned college or
19university.

20(3) A public or private college or university.

21(4) A community college.

22(5) A vocational-technical school.

23(6) An intermediate unit.

24(7) A charter, cyber charter or regional charter school.

25(8) A private school licensed under the act of January
2628, 1988 (P.L.24, No.11), known as the Private Academic
27Schools Act.

28(9) A nonprofit school located in this Commonwealth,
29other than a public school, wherein a resident of this
30Commonwealth may legally fulfill the compulsory school

1attendance requirements of the act of March 10, 1949 (P.L.30,
2No.14), known as the Public School Code of 1949, and which
3meets the requirements of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of
41964 (Public Law 88-352, 78 Stat. 241).

5"School employee." An individual who is employed by a
6[public or private school, intermediate unit or area vocational-
7technical school. The term includes an independent contractor
8and employees] school or who provides a program, activity or
9service sponsored by a school. The term excludes an individual
10who has no direct contact with [students] children.

11* * *

12Section 2. Section 6311 of Title 23 is amended to read:

13§ 6311. Persons required to report suspected child abuse.

14[(a) General rule.--A person who, in the course of 
15employment, occupation or practice of a profession, comes into 
16contact with children shall report or cause a report to be made 
17in accordance with section 6313 (relating to reporting 
18procedure) when the person has reasonable cause to suspect, on 
19the basis of medical, professional or other training and 
20experience, that a child under the care, supervision, guidance 
21or training of that person or of an agency, institution, 
22organization or other entity with which that person is 
23affiliated is a victim of child abuse, including child abuse by 
24an individual who is not a perpetrator. Except with respect to 
25confidential communications made to a member of the clergy which 
26are protected under 42 Pa.C.S. § 5943 (relating to confidential 
27communications to clergymen), and except with respect to 
28confidential communications made to an attorney which are 
29protected by 42 Pa.C.S. § 5916 (relating to confidential 
30communications to attorney) or 5928 (relating to confidential
 

1communications to attorney), the privileged communication 
2between any professional person required to report and the 
3patient or client of that person shall not apply to situations 
4involving child abuse and shall not constitute grounds for 
5failure to report as required by this chapter.

6(b) Enumeration of persons required to report.--Persons
7required to report under subsection (a) include, but are not
8limited to, any licensed physician, osteopath, medical examiner,
9coroner, funeral director, dentist, optometrist, chiropractor,
10podiatrist, intern, registered nurse, licensed practical nurse,
11hospital personnel engaged in the admission, examination, care
12or treatment of persons, Christian Science practitioner, member
13of the clergy, school administrator, school teacher, school
14nurse, social services worker, day-care center worker or any
15other child-care or foster-care worker, mental health
16professional, peace officer or law enforcement official.]

17(a) Mandated reporters.--The following individuals, 18 years
18of age or older, shall make a report of suspected child abuse or
19cause a report of suspected child abuse to be made, subject to
20subsection (b), if the person has reasonable cause to suspect,
21on the basis of medical, professional or other training and
22experience, that a child is a victim of child abuse:

23(1) A person licensed or certified to practice in any
24health-related field under the jurisdiction of the Department
25of State.

26(2) A medical examiner, coroner or funeral director.

27(3) An employee of a health care facility or provider
28licensed by the Department of Health, who is engaged in the
29admission, examination, care or treatment of individuals.

30(4) A school employee.

1(5) An employee of a child-care service.

2(6) A clergyman, priest, rabbi, minister, Christian
3Science practitioner, religious healer or spiritual leader of
4any regularly established church or other religious
5organization.

6(7) An individual paid or unpaid, who, on the basis of
7the individual's role as an integral part of a regularly
8scheduled program, activity or service, accepts
9responsibility for a child.

10(8) An employee of a social services agency.

11(9) A peace officer or law enforcement official.

12(10) An attorney.

13(11) An employee of a public library.

14(12) An emergency medical services provider certified by
15the Department of Health.

16(13) An employee supervised or managed by a person
17listed under paragraphs (1) through (12), who has direct
18contact with children in the course of employment.

19(14) An independent contractor.

20(a.1) Limited exemption for certain reporters.--A sexual
21assault counselor at a rape crisis center as defined under 42
22Pa.C.S. § 5945.1(a) (relating to confidential communications
23with sexual assault counselors) or a domestic violence
24counselor/advocate as defined under section 6102 (relating to
25definitions) shall not be required to report a violation of 18
26Pa.C.S. § 3122.1(a)(1) (relating to statutory sexual assault) as
27child abuse under this chapter if the child who would otherwise
28be the subject of a report of suspected child abuse is 14 years
29of age or older.

30(b) Basis to report.--A mandated reporter enumerated in

1subsection (a) shall make a report of suspected child abuse or
2cause a report to be made in accordance with section 6313
3(relating to reporting procedure), if the mandated reporter has
4reasonable cause to suspect that a child is a victim of child
5abuse under any of the following circumstances:

6(1) The mandated reporter comes into contact with the
7child in the course of employment, occupation, practice of a
8profession or through a regularly scheduled program, activity
9or service.

10(2) The mandated reporter is directly responsible for
11the care supervision, guidance or training of the child, or
12is affiliated with an agency, institution, organization,
13school, regularly established church or religious
14organization or other entity that is directly responsible for
15the care supervision, guidance or training of the child.

16(3) A person makes a specific disclosure to the mandated
17reporter that an identifiable child is the victim of child
18abuse.

19(4) An individual 14 years of age or older makes a
20specific disclosure to the mandated reporter that the
21individual has committed child abuse.

22(b.1) Privileged communications.--

23(1) Subject to paragraphs (2), (3), (4) and (5), the
24privileged communications between a mandated reporter and a
25patient or client of the mandated reporter shall not:

26(i) Apply to a situation involving child abuse.

27(ii) Relieve the mandated reporter of the duty to
28make a report of suspected child abuse or cause a report
29of suspected child abuse to be made.

30(2) Confidential communications made to a member of the

1clergy are protected under 42 Pa.C.S. § 5943 (relating to
2confidential communications to clergymen), but only to the
3extent that the member of the clergy is authorized to hear
4the communications under the disciplines, tenets or
5traditions of the religion of the member of the clergy.

6(3) Confidential communications made to an attorney are
7subject to 42 Pa.C.S. §§ 5916 (relating to confidential
8communications to attorney) and 5928 (relating to
9confidential communications to attorney). When an attorney
10representing a nonorganizational client is required to report
11suspected child abuse under the basis provided in subsection
12(b)(3) or (4), the following shall also apply:

13(i) When making a report of suspected child abuse,
14an attorney shall identify information the attorney deems
15to be confidential under the rules of professional
16conduct for attorneys. Notwithstanding the provisions of
17section 6340 (relating to release of information in
18confidential reports), the information the attorney
19deemed to be confidential shall not be disclosed to any
20person other than those responsible for investigating the
21report and providing for the child's safety, or those
22investigating or prosecuting a failure to report under
23section 6319 (relating to penalties for failure to report
24or to refer).

25(ii) Neither the client's disclosure to the attorney
26nor the information the attorney deemed confidential when
27reporting to the department shall be used as evidence in
28any determination made under section 6368 (relating to
29investigation of reports), and the attorney shall not be
30required to provide any information that is asserted as

1confidential under subparagraph (i) for any civil,
2criminal or administrative proceeding which results from
3or relates to the report of suspected child abuse.
4Nothing in this subsection shall prohibit the use of
5information provided by another source, even if it is
6substantially similar to that which was provided by the
7attorney in the report to the department.

8(4) Confidential communications made to a psychiatrist
9or licensed psychologist are protected under 42 Pa.C.S. §
105944 (relating to confidential communications to
11psychiatrists and licensed psychologists). When a report is
12required under the basis provided in subsection (b)(3) or
13(4), the following shall also apply:

14(i) When making a report of suspected child abuse, a
15psychiatrist or licensed psychologist shall identify the
16information the psychiatrist or licensed psychologist
17deems to be confidential. Notwithstanding the provisions
18of section 6340, the information the psychiatrist or
19licensed psychologist deemed to be confidential shall not
20be disclosed to any person other than those responsible
21for investigating the report and providing for the
22child's safety, or those investigating or prosecuting a
23failure to report under section 6319.

24(ii) Neither the client's disclosure to the 
25psychiatrist or licensed psychologist nor the information 
26the psychiatrist or licensed psychologist deemed 
27confidential when reporting to the department shall be 
28used as evidence in any determination made under section 
296368, and the psychiatrist or licensed psychologist shall 
30not be required to provide any information that is
 

1asserted as confidential under subparagraph (i) for any 
2civil, criminal or administrative proceeding which 
3results from or relates to the report of suspected child 
4abuse. Nothing in this subsection shall prohibit the use 
5of information provided by another source, even if it is 
6substantially similar to that which was provided by the 
7psychiatrist or licensed psychologist in the report to 
8the department.

9(5) Confidential communications between spouses shall
10not be privileged under this chapter, notwithstanding any
11grant of privilege under 42 Pa.C.S. § 5914 (relating to
12confidential communications between spouses) or 5923
13(relating to confidential communications between spouses).

14(c) Staff members of institutions, etc.--Whenever a person
15is required to report under subsection (b) in the capacity as a
16member of the staff of a medical or other public or private
17institution, school, facility or agency, that person shall
18immediately notify the person in charge of the institution,
19school, facility or agency or the designated agent of the person
20in charge. Upon notification, the person in charge or the
21designated agent, if any, shall assume the responsibility and
22have the legal obligation to report or cause a report to be made
23in accordance with section 6313. This chapter does not require
24more than one report from any such institution, school, facility
25or agency.

26(d) Civil action for discrimination against person filing
27report.--Any person who, under this section, is required to
28report or cause a report of suspected child abuse to be made and
29who, in good faith, makes or causes the report to be made and,
30as a result thereof, is discharged from his employment or in any

1other manner is discriminated against with respect to
2compensation, hire, tenure, terms, conditions or privileges of
3employment, may commence an action in the court of common pleas
4of the county in which the alleged unlawful discharge or
5discrimination occurred for appropriate relief. If the court
6finds that the person is an individual who, under this section,
7is required to report or cause a report of suspected child abuse
8to be made and who, in good faith, made or caused to be made a
9report of suspected child abuse and, as a result thereof, was
10discharged or discriminated against with respect to
11compensation, hire, tenure, terms, conditions or privileges of
12employment, it may issue an order granting appropriate relief,
13including, but not limited to, reinstatement with back pay. The
14department may intervene in any action commenced under this
15subsection.

16Section 3. Title 23 is amended by adding sections to read:

17§ 6312.1. Specific persons encouraged to report.

18The following persons are encouraged to make a report of
19suspected child abuse, sexual abuse or exploitation or cause a
20report of suspected child abuse, sexual abuse or exploitation to
21be made under this chapter:

22(1) A commercial film or photographic print processor
23who discovers any depiction of child abuse, sexual abuse or
24exploitation in material presented for processing.

25(2) A person who repairs or services computer,
26electronic or other information technology equipment and
27devices and discovers any depiction of child abuse, sexual
28abuse or exploitation during the provision of those repairs
29or services.

30§ 6312.2. Required posting of signs.

1(a) General rule.--A business establishment shall post a
2sign containing information regarding the Childline and Abuse
3Registry and any other establishment or business may post such
4sign.

5(b) Manner of posting.--A business establishment shall post
6at least one sign in a conspicuous manner clearly visible to the
7employees of the business establishment.

8(c) Size, information and design.--

9(1) The sign shall be at least 8 1/2 by 11 inches in
10size.

11(2) The department shall design the sign to include the
12hotline or phone number for reporting suspected child abuse.

13(3) The department may consult with child advocates to
14determine other information that may be included in the sign.

15(4) The department shall design the sign to draw
16attention to the telephone number of the Childline and Abuse
17Registry by showing the number in bold type and large font.

18(5) The sign shall be posted in English, Spanish and any
19other language mandated by the Voting Rights Act of 1965
20(Public Law 89-110, 42 U.S.C. § 1973 et seq.) in the county
21where the sign is required to be posted.

22(6) The department shall make the sign required by
23subsection (a) available on its publicly accessible Internet
24website for business establishments to print as needed.

25(d) Violation.--It is a violation of this section for a
26business establishment to fail to post a sign in the manner
27required by subsection (b). The owner, operator or manager of
28the business establishment is responsible for violations of this
29section.

30(e) Complaints.--A complaint regarding a possible violation

1of this section may be made to the appropriate law enforcement
2agency.

3(f) Penalties.--A person that violates the posting
4requirements of this section commits a summary offense, and
5shall, upon conviction of a first offense, be sentenced to pay a
6fine of not more than $100. A person convicted of a second or
7subsequent violation of this section shall be sentenced to pay a
8fine of not more than $250.

9(g) Affirmative defense.--Any of the following shall be an
10affirmative defense by an owner, operator or manager to a
11prosecution under this section:

12(1)  When the violation occurred, the actual control of
13the business establishment was not exercised by the owner,
14operator or manager, but by a lessee.

15(2)  The owner, operator or manager made a good faith
16effort to post the required signs.

17Section 4. Section 6319 of Title 23 is amended to read:

<-18Section 1. Section 6319 of Title 23 of the Pennsylvania
19Consolidated Statutes is amended to read:

<-20Section 1. Section 6311(a) and (b) of Title 23 of the 
21Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes are amended to read:

22§ 6311. Persons required to report suspected child abuse.

23[(a) General rule.--A person who, in the course of
24employment, occupation or practice of a profession, comes into
25contact with children shall report or cause a report to be made
26in accordance with section 6313 (relating to reporting
27procedure) when the person has reasonable cause to suspect, on
28the basis of medical, professional or other training and
29experience, that a child under the care, supervision, guidance
30or training of that person or of an agency, institution,

1organization or other entity with which that person is
2affiliated is a victim of child abuse, including child abuse by
3an individual who is not a perpetrator. Except with respect to
4confidential communications made to a member of the clergy which
5are protected under 42 Pa.C.S. § 5943 (relating to confidential
6communications to clergymen), and except with respect to
7confidential communications made to an attorney which are
8protected by 42 Pa.C.S. § 5916 (relating to confidential
9communications to attorney) or 5928 (relating to confidential
10communications to attorney), the privileged communication
11between any professional person required to report and the
12patient or client of that person shall not apply to situations
13involving child abuse and shall not constitute grounds for
14failure to report as required by this chapter.

15(b) Enumeration of persons required to report.--Persons
16required to report under subsection (a) include, but are not
17limited to, any licensed physician, osteopath, medical examiner,
18coroner, funeral director, dentist, optometrist, chiropractor,
19podiatrist, intern, registered nurse, licensed practical nurse,
20hospital personnel engaged in the admission, examination, care
21or treatment of persons, Christian Science practitioner, member
22of the clergy, school administrator, school teacher, school
23nurse, social services worker, day-care center worker or any
24other child-care or foster-care worker, mental health
25professional, peace officer or law enforcement official.]

26(a)  Mandated reporters.--The following adults shall make a
27report of suspected child abuse, subject to subsection (b), if
28the person has reasonable cause to suspect that a child is a
29victim of child abuse:

30(1)  (Reserved).

1(2)  (Reserved).

2(3)  (Reserved).

3(4)  (Reserved).

4(5)  (Reserved).

5(6)  (Reserved).

6(7)  (Reserved).

7(8)  (Reserved).

8(9)  (Reserved).

9(10)  (Reserved).

10(11) (Reserved).

11(12)  (Reserved).

12(13)  (Reserved).

13(14) An attorney affiliated with an agency, institution,
14organization or other entity, including a school or regularly
15established religious organization that is responsible for
16the care, supervision, guidance or control of children.

17* * *

18Section 2. Title 23 is amended by adding a section to read:

19§ 6311.1. Privileged communications.

20(a)  General rule.--Subject to subsection (b), the privileged
21communications between a mandated reporter and a patient or
22client of the mandated reporter shall not:

23(1)  Apply to a situation involving child abuse.

24(2) Relieve the mandated reporter of the duty to make a
25report of suspected child abuse.

26(b)  Confidential communications.--The following protections
27shall apply:

28(1) Confidential communications made to a member of the
29clergy are protected under 42 Pa.C.S. § 5943 (relating to
30confidential communications to clergymen).

1(2) Confidential communications made to an attorney are
2protected so long as they are within the scope of 42 Pa.C.S.
3§§ 5916 (relating to confidential communications to attorney)
4and 5928 (relating to confidential communications to
5attorney), the attorney work product doctrine or the rules of
6professional conduct for attorneys.

7Section 3. Section 6319 of Title 23 is amended to read:

8§ 6319. Penalties [for failure to report or to refer].

9[A person or official required by this chapter to report a
10case of suspected child abuse or to make a referral to the
11appropriate authorities who willfully fails to do so commits a
12misdemeanor of the third degree for the first violation and a
13misdemeanor of the second degree for a second or subsequent
14violation.]

<-15(a) Failure to report or refer.--A person or official
16required by this chapter to report a case of suspected child
17abuse or to make a referral to the appropriate authorities
18commits a misdemeanor of the second degree if the person or
19official willfully fails to do so, except that if the child
20abuse constitutes a felony of the first degree or higher, the
21person or official commits a felony of the third degree.

22(b) Prevention of making report or referral.--A person who
23intentionally or knowingly prevents or attempts to prevent the
24making of a report or referral of suspected child abuse commits
25a misdemeanor of the first degree, except that if the child
26abuse constitutes a felony of the first degree or higher, the
27person commits a felony of the second degree.

28(c) Concealment of abuse to protect another.--A person who
29intentionally or knowingly acts to prevent the discovery under
30this chapter of child abuse in order to protect or insulate any

1person or entity from prosecution or liability for the child
2abuse commits a felony of the third degree, except if the child
3abuse constitutes a felony of the first degree or higher, the
4person commits a felony of the first degree.

<-5(a) Failure to report or refer.--

6(1) A person or official required by this chapter to
7report a case of suspected child abuse or to make a referral
8to the appropriate authorities commits an offense if the
9person or official willfully fails to do so.

10(2) An offense under this section is a felony of the
11third degree if:

12(i) the person or official willfully fails to
13report;

14(ii) the child abuse constitutes a felony of the
15first degree or higher; and

16(iii) the person or official has direct knowledge of
17the nature of the abuse.

18(3) An offense not otherwise specified in paragraph (2)
19is a misdemeanor of the second degree.

20(4) A report of suspected child abuse to law enforcement
21or the appropriate county agency by a mandated reporter, made
22in lieu of a report to the department, shall not constitute
23an offense under this subsection, provided that the report
24was made in a good faith effort to comply with the
25requirements of this chapter.

<-26(d) (b) Continuing course of action.--If a person's willful
27failure under subsection (a) continues while the person knows or
28has reasonable cause to believe the child is actively being
29subjected to child abuse, the person commits a <-felony of the
30third <-misdemeanor of the first degree, except that if the child

1abuse constitutes a felony of the first degree or higher, the
2person commits a felony of the <-first third degree.

<-3(e) <-(c) Multiple offenses.--A person who commits a second or
4subsequent offense under <-subsections (a), (b), (c) or (d)
5subsection (a) commits a felony of the second <-third degree,
6except that if the child abuse constitutes a felony of the first
7degree or higher, the penalty for the second or subsequent
8offenses is a felony of the <-first <-second degree.

9(f) <-(d) Statute of limitations.--The statute of limitations
10for an offense under <-subsections (a), (b), (c), (d) and (e)
<-11subsection (a) shall be either the statute of limitations for
12the crime committed against the minor child or five years,
13whichever is greater.

14Section 5 <-2 4. This act shall take effect in 60 days.

 

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