AN ACT

 

1Amending Title 23 (Domestic Relations) of the Pennsylvania 
2Consolidated Statutes, in provisions and responsibilities for 
3reporting suspected child abuse, further providing for 
4definitions <-and, for persons required to report suspected 
5child abuse<-; providing for privileged communications; further 
6providing, for persons permitted to report suspected child 
7abuse, for reporting procedure, for documentary evidence on a 
8child subject to report and for taking child into protective 
9custody;<- and, in organization and responsibilities of child 
10protective service, repealing provisions relating to taking 
11child into protective custody<-; and, in miscellaneous 
12provisions, further providing for education and training.

13The General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
14hereby enacts as follows:

<-15Section 1. Section 6303(a) of Title 23 of the Pennsylvania 
16Consolidated Statutes is amended by adding definitions to read:

<-17Section 1. The definition of "school employee" in section
186303(a) of Title 23 of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes is
19amended and subsection (a) is amended by adding definitions to
20read:

1§ 6303. Definitions.

2(a) General rule.--The following words and phrases when used
3in this chapter shall have the meanings given to them in this
4section unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:

5* * *

6"Adult." An individual 18 years of age or older.

7* * *

8"Direct contact with children." The care, supervision,
9guidance or control of children, or routine interaction with
10children.

11* * *

<-12"Health care facility." As defined in section 802.1 of the
13act of July 19, 1979 (P.L.130, No.48), known as the Health Care
14Facilities Act.

15"Independent contractor." An individual who provides a
16program, activity or service to an agency, institution,
17organization or other entity, including a school or regularly
18established religious organization, that is responsible for the
19care, supervision, guidance or control of children. The term
20does not include an individual who has no direct contact with
21children.

22* * *

23"Mandated reporter." A person who is required by this
24chapter to make a report of suspected child abuse.

25* * *

<-26"Person affiliated with."  A person that directly or
27indirectly, through one or more intermediaries, controls, is
28controlled by or is under common control with a specified
29person.

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 the
14following:

15(1)  Any school of a school district.

16(2)  An area vocational-technical school.

17(3)  A joint school.

18(4)  An intermediate unit.

19(5)  A charter school or regional charter school.

20(6)  A cyber charter school.

21(7)  A private school licensed under the act of January
2228, 1988 (P.L.24, No.11), known as the Private Academic
23Schools Act.

24(8)  A private school accredited by an accrediting
25association approved by the State Board of Education.

26(9)  A nonpublic school.

27(10)  A community college which is an institution now or
28hereafter created pursuant to Article XIX-A of the act of
29March 10, 1949 (P.L.30, No.14), known as the Public School
30Code of 1949, or the act of August 24, 1963 (P.L.1132,

1No.484), known as the Community College Act of 1963.

2(11)  An independent institution of higher education
3which is an institution of higher education which is operated
4not for profit, located in and incorporated or chartered by
5the Commonwealth, entitled to confer degrees as set forth in
624 Pa.C.S. § 6505 (relating to power to confer degrees) and
7entitled to apply to itself the designation "college" or
8"university" as provided for by standards and qualifications
9prescribed by the State Board of Education pursuant to 24
10Pa.C.S. Ch. 65 (relating to private colleges, universities
11and seminaries).

12(12)  A State-owned university.

13(13)  A State-related university.

14(14)  A private school licensed under the act of December
1515, 1986 (P.L.1585, No.174), known as the Private Licensed
16Schools Act.

17(15)  The Hiram G. Andrews Center.

18(16)  A private residential rehabilitative institution as
19defined in section 914.1-A(c) of the Public School Code of
201949.

21"School employee." An individual who is employed by a
22[public or private school, intermediate unit or area vocational-
23technical school. The term includes an independent contractor
24and employees] school or who provides a program, activity or 
25service sponsored by a school. The term excludes an individual
26who has no direct contact with [students] children.

27* * *

28Section 2. Section 6311 6311(a), (b), and (c) of Title 23<- is 
<-29are amended to read:

30Section 2. Sections 6311(a),(b) and (c), 6312, 6313 and 6314

1of title 23 are<- amended to read:

2§ 6311. Persons required to report suspected child abuse.

3[(a) General rule.--A person who, in the course of
4employment, occupation or practice of a profession, comes into
5contact with children shall report or cause a report to be made
6in accordance with section 6313 (relating to reporting
7procedure) when the person has reasonable cause to suspect, on
8the basis of medical, professional or other training and
9experience, that a child under the care, supervision, guidance
10or training of that person or of an agency, institution,
11organization or other entity with which that person is
12affiliated is a victim of child abuse, including child abuse by
13an individual who is not a perpetrator. Except with respect to
14confidential communications made to a member of the clergy which
15are protected under 42 Pa.C.S. § 5943 (relating to confidential
16communications to clergymen), and except with respect to
17confidential communications made to an attorney which are
18protected by 42 Pa.C.S. § 5916 (relating to confidential
19communications to attorney) or 5928 (relating to confidential
20communications to attorney), the privileged communication
21between any professional person required to report and the
22patient or client of that person shall not apply to situations
23involving child abuse and shall not constitute grounds for
24failure to report as required by this chapter.

25(b) Enumeration of persons required to report.--Persons
26required to report under subsection (a) include, but are not
27limited to, any licensed physician, osteopath, medical examiner,
28coroner, funeral director, dentist, optometrist, chiropractor,
29podiatrist, intern, registered nurse, licensed practical nurse,
30hospital personnel engaged in the admission, examination, care

1or treatment of persons, Christian Science practitioner, member
2of the clergy, school administrator, school teacher, school
3nurse, social services worker, day-care center worker or any
4other child-care or foster-care worker, mental health
5professional, peace officer or law enforcement official.<-]

6(a)  Mandated reporters.--The following adults shall make a
7report of suspected child abuse, subject to subsection (b), if
8the person has reasonable cause to suspect that a child is a
9victim of child abuse:

10(1)  A person licensed or certified to practice in any
11health-related field under the jurisdiction of the Department
12of State.

13(2)  A medical examiner, coroner or funeral director.

14(3)  An employee of a health care facility or provider
15licensed by the Department of Health, who is engaged in the
16admission, examination, care or treatment of individuals.

17(4)  A school employee.

18(5)  An employee of a child care service, who has direct
19contact with children in the course of employment.

20(6)  A clergyman, priest, rabbi, minister, Christian
21Science practitioner, religious healer or spiritual leader of
22any regularly established church or other religious
23organization.

24(7)  An individual paid or unpaid, who, on the basis of
25the individual's role as an integral part of a regularly
26scheduled program, activity or service, accepts
27responsibility for a child.

28(8)  An employee of a social services agency, who has
29direct contact with children in the course of employment.

30(9)  A peace officer or law enforcement official.

1(10)  An emergency medical services provider certified by 
2the Department of Health.

3(11) An employee of a public library, who has direct
4contact with children in the course of employment.

5(12)  An individual supervised or managed by a person
6listed under paragraphs (1), (2), (3), (4), (5), (6), (7),
7(8), (9), (10) and (11), who has direct contact with children
8in the course of employment.

9(13)  An independent contractor.

<-10(14) An attorney affiliated with an agency, institution,
11organization or other entity, including a school or regularly
12established religious organization that is responsible for
13the care, supervision, guidance or control of children.

14(b)  Basis to report.--

15(1)  A mandated reporter enumerated in subsection (a)
16shall make a report of suspected child abuse or cause a
17report to be made in accordance with section 6313 (relating
18to reporting procedure), if the mandated reporter has
19reasonable cause to suspect that a child is a victim of child
20abuse under any of the following circumstances:

21(i)  The mandated reporter comes into contact with
22the child in the course of employment, occupation and
23practice of a profession or through a regularly scheduled
24program, activity or service.

25(ii)  The mandated reporter is directly responsible
26for the care, supervision, guidance or training of the
27child, or is affiliated with an agency, institution,
28organization, school, regularly established church or
29religious organization or other entity that is directly
30responsible for the care, supervision, guidance or

1training of the child.

2(iii)  A person makes a specific disclosure to the
3mandated reporter that an identifiable child is the
4victim of child abuse.

5(iv)  An individual 14 years of age or older makes a
6specific disclosure to the mandated reporter that the
7individual has committed child abuse.

8(2)  Nothing in this section shall require a child to
9come before the mandated reporter in order for the mandated
10reporter to make a report of suspected child abuse.

11(3)  Nothing in this section shall require the mandated 
12reporter to identify the person responsible for the child
13abuse to make a report of suspected child abuse.

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 
18report immediately in accordance with section 6313 and shall<-
19immediately <-thereafter notify the person in charge of the
20institution, school, facility or agency or the designated agent
21of the person in charge. Upon notification, the person in charge
22or the designated agent, if any, shall assume the responsibility
23[<-and have the legal obligation to report or cause a report to be
24made in accordance with section 6313<-] for facilitating the 
25cooperation of the institution, school, facility or agency with 
26the investigation of the report. This chapter does not require
27more than one report from any such institution, school, facility
28or agency.

<-29(d) Civil action for discrimination against person filing
30report.--Any person who, under this section, is required to

1report or cause a report of suspected child abuse to be made and
2who, in good faith, makes or causes the report to be made and,
3as a result thereof, is discharged from his employment or in any
4other manner is discriminated against with respect to
5compensation, hire, tenure, terms, conditions or privileges of
6employment, may commence an action in the court of common pleas
7of the county in which the alleged unlawful discharge or
8discrimination occurred for appropriate relief. If the court
9finds that the person is an individual who, under this section,
10is required to report or cause a report of suspected child abuse
11to be made and who, in good faith, made or caused to be made a
12report of suspected child abuse and, as a result thereof, was
13discharged or discriminated against with respect to
14compensation, hire, tenure, terms, conditions or privileges of
15employment, it may issue an order granting appropriate relief,
16including, but not limited to, reinstatement with back pay. The
17department may intervene in any action commenced under this
18subsection.]

19(a) Mandated reporters.--The following adults shall make a 
20report of suspected child abuse, subject to subsection (b), if 
21the person has reasonable cause to suspect that a child is a 
22victim 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 engaged in the
29admission, examination, care or treatment of individuals.

30(4)  A school administrator, teacher, nurse, guidance

1counselor, coach or other school employee.

2(5)  A child-care services provider.

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

7(7)  An individual paid or unpaid, who, on the basis of
8the individual's role as an integral part of a regularly
9scheduled program, activity or service, accepts
10responsibility for a child.

11(8)  A social services worker.

12(9)  A peace officer or law enforcement official.

13(10)  An emergency medical services provider certified by
14the Department of Health.

15(11)  An individual supervised or managed by a person
16listed under paragraph (1), (2), (3), (4), (5), (6), (7),
17(8), (9) or (10), who has direct contact with children in the
18course of employment.

19(12)  An independent contractor.

20(b)  Basis to report.--

21(1) Any of the following circumstances shall require a
22mandated reporter under subsection (a), with reasonable cause
23to suspect that a child is a victim of child abuse, to make a
24report in accordance with section 6313 (relating to reporting
25procedure):

26(i)  The mandated reporter comes into contact with
27the child in the course of employment, occupation and
28practice of a profession or through a regularly scheduled
29program, activity or service.

30(ii)  The mandated reporter is directly responsible

1for the care, supervision, guidance or training of the
2child, or is affiliated with an agency, institution,
3organization, school, regularly established church or
4religious organization or other entity that is directly
5responsible for the care, supervision, guidance or
6training of the child.

7(iii)  A person makes a specific disclosure to the
8mandated reporter that an identifiable child is the
9victim of child abuse.

10(iv) An individual 14 years of age or older makes a
11specific disclosure to the mandated reporter that the
12individual has committed child abuse.

13(2) Nothing in this section shall require a child to
14come before the mandated reporter in order for the mandated
15reporter to make a report of suspected child abuse.

16(3) Nothing in this section shall require the mandated
17reporter to identify the perpetrator of child abuse to make a
18report of suspected child abuse.

19* * *<-

<-20Section 3. Title 23 is amended by adding a section to read:

21§ 6311.1. Privileged communications.

22(a)  General rule.--Subject to subsection (b), the privileged
23communications between a mandated reporter and a patient or
24client of the mandated reporter shall not:

25(1)  Apply to a situation involving child abuse.

26(2) Relieve the mandated reporter of the duty to make a
27report of suspected child abuse.

28(b)  Confidential communications.--The following protections
29shall apply:

30(1) Confidential communications made to a member of the

1clergy are protected under 42 Pa.C.S. § 5943 (relating to
2confidential communications to clergymen).

3(2) Confidential communications made to an attorney are
4subject to 42 Pa.C.S. §§ 5916 (relating to confidential
5communications to attorney) and 5928 (relating to
6confidential communications to attorney), but only to the
7extent that such communications are protected under the rules
8of professional conduct for attorneys.

9Section <-4 3. Sections 6312, 6313 and 6314 of Title 23 are
10amended to read:

11§ 6312. Persons [permitted] encouraged to report suspected
12child abuse.

13[In addition to those persons and officials required to
14report suspected child abuse, any] Any person may make [such a
15report] an oral or written report of suspected child abuse, 
16which may be submitted electronically, or cause a report of 
17suspected child abuse to be made to the department, county 
18agency or law enforcement, if that person has reasonable cause
19to suspect that a child is [an abused child] a victim of child 
20abuse.

21§ 6313. Reporting procedure.

22[(a) General rule.--Reports from persons required to report
23under section 6311 (relating to persons required to report
24suspected child abuse) shall be made immediately by telephone
25and in writing within 48 hours after the oral report.

26(b) Oral reports.--Oral reports shall be made to the
27department pursuant to Subchapter C (relating to powers and
28duties of department) and may be made to the appropriate county
29agency. When oral reports of suspected child abuse are initially
30received at the county agency, the protective services staff

1shall, after seeing to the immediate safety of the child and
2other children in the home, immediately notify the department of
3the receipt of the report, which is to be held in the pending
4complaint file as provided in Subchapter C. The initial child
5abuse report summary shall be supplemented with a written report
6when a determination is made as to whether a report of suspected
7child abuse is a founded report, an unfounded report or an
8indicated report.

9(c) Written reports.--Written reports from persons required
10to report under section 6311 shall be made to the appropriate
11county agency in a manner and on forms the department prescribes
12by regulation. The written reports shall include the following
13information if available:

14(1) The names and addresses of the child and the parents
15or other person responsible for the care of the child if
16known.

17(2) Where the suspected abuse occurred.

18(3) The age and sex of the subjects of the report.

19(4) The nature and extent of the suspected child abuse,
20including any evidence of prior abuse to the child or
21siblings of the child.

22(5) The name and relationship of the person or persons
23responsible for causing the suspected abuse, if known, and
24any evidence of prior abuse by that person or persons.

25(6) Family composition.

26(7) The source of the report.

27(8) The person making the report and where that person
28can be reached.

29(9) The actions taken by the reporting source, including
30the taking of photographs and X-rays, removal or keeping of

1the child or notifying the medical examiner or coroner.

2(10) Any other information which the department may
3require by regulation.

4(d) Failure to confirm oral report.--The failure of a person
5reporting cases of suspected child abuse to confirm an oral
6report in writing within 48 hours shall not relieve the county
7agency from any duties prescribed by this chapter. In such
8event, the county agency shall proceed as if a written report
9were actually made.]

10(a) Report by mandated reporter.--

11(1) A mandated reporter shall immediately make an oral
12report of suspected child abuse to the department via the
13Statewide toll-free telephone number under section 6332
14(relating to establishment of Statewide toll-free telephone
15number) or a written report using electronic technologies
16under section <-6304 6305 (relating to electronic reporting).

17(2) A mandated reporter making an oral report under
18paragraph (1) of suspected child abuse shall also make a
19written report, which may be submitted electronically, within
2048 hours to the department or county agency assigned to the
21case in a manner and format prescribed by the department.

22(3) The failure of the mandated reporter to file the
23report under paragraph (2) shall not relieve the county
24agency from any duty under this chapter, and the county
25agency shall proceed as though the mandated reporter complied
26with paragraph (2).

27(b) Contents of report.--A written report of suspected child
28abuse, which may be submitted electronically, shall include the
29following information, if known:

30(1) The names and addresses of the child, the child's

1parents and any other person responsible for the child's
2welfare.

3(2) Where the suspected abuse occurred.

4(3) The age and sex of each subject of the report.

5(4) The nature and extent of the suspected child abuse,
6including any evidence of prior abuse to the child or any
7sibling of the child.

8(5) The name and relationship of each individual
9responsible for causing the suspected abuse and any evidence
10of prior abuse by each individual.

11(6) Family composition.

12(7) The source of the report.

13(8) The person making the report and where that person
14can be reached <-name, telephone number and e-mail address of
15the person making the report.

16(9) The actions taken by the person making the report,
17including those actions taken under section 6314 (relating to
18photographs, medical tests and X-rays of child subject to
19report), 6315 (relating to taking child into protective
20custody), 6316 (relating to admission to private and public
21hospitals) or 6317 (relating to mandatory reporting and
22postmortem investigation of deaths).

23(10) Any other information required by Federal law or
24regulation.

25(11) Any other information that the department requires
26by regulation.

27§ 6314. Photographs, medical tests and X-rays of child subject
28to report.

29A person or official required to report cases of suspected
30child abuse may take or cause to be taken photographs of the

1child who is subject to a report and, if clinically indicated,
2cause to be performed a radiological examination and other
3medical tests on the child. Medical summaries or reports of the
4photographs, X-rays and relevant medical tests taken shall be
5sent to the county agency at the time the written report is sent
6or within 48 hours after a report is made by electronic 
7technologies or as soon thereafter as possible. The county
8agency shall have access to actual photographs or duplicates and
9X-rays and may obtain them or duplicates of them upon request. 
10Medical summaries or reports of the photographs, x-rays and 
11relevant medical tests shall be made available to law 
12enforcement officials in the course of investigating cases 
13pursuant to section 6340(a)(9) or (10).

14Section <-5 3. Section 6315(a) of Title 23 is amended by
15adding a paragraph to read:

16§ 6315. Taking child into protective custody.

17(a) General rule.--A child may be taken into protective
18custody:

19* * *

20(4) Subject to this section and after receipt of a court
21order, the county agency shall take a child into protective
22custody for protection from abuse. No county agency worker
23may take custody of the child without judicial authorization
24based on the merits of the situation.

25* * *

26Section <-6 4. Section 6369 of Title 23 is repealed:

27[§ 6369. Taking child into protective custody.

28Pursuant to the provisions of section 6315 (relating to
29taking child into protective custody) and after receipt of a
30court order, the county agency shall take a child into

1protective custody for protection from abuse. No county agency
2worker may take custody of the child without judicial
3authorization based on the merits of the situation.]

<-4Section 7 5.  Section 6383 of Title 23 is amended by adding a
5subsection to read:

<-6§ 6383.  Education and training.

7§ 6383.  Education and training.<-

8* * *

9(a.2)  Information for mandated and permissive reporters.--

10(1)  In addition to the requirements of subsection (a),
11the department shall provide specific information related to
12the recognition and reporting of child abuse on its Internet
13website in forms, including, but not limited to, the
14following:

15(i)  Website content.

16(ii)  Printable booklets and brochures.

17(iii)  Educational videos.

18(iv)  Internet-based interactive training exercises.

19(2)  Information shall be pertinent to both mandated and
20permissive reporters and shall address topics, including, but
21not limited to:

22(i)  Conduct constituting child abuse under this
23chapter.

24(ii)  Persons classified as mandated reporters.

25(iii)  Reporting requirements and procedures.

26(iv)  The basis for making a report of suspected
27child abuse.

28(v)  Penalties for failure to report.

29(vi)  Background clearance requirements for
30individuals who work or volunteer with children.

1(vii)  Recognition of the signs and symptoms of child
2abuse.

3(viii)  Alternative resources to assist with concerns
4not related to child abuse.

5(3)  The department shall include the following with all
6certifications provided pursuant to § 6344(b)(2) (relating to
7information relating to prospective child-care personnel):

8(i)  Information that certain persons are required by
9law to report suspected child abuse.

10(ii)  The Internet address where the information and
11guidance required by this subsection can be obtained.

12(iii)  A telephone number and mailing address where
13guidance materials can be requested by individuals who
14cannot access the department's Internet website.

15(4)  The department shall implement this subsection
16within 180 days of the effective date of this subsection.

17* * *

18Section 7 8 6. This act shall take effect <-January 1 December 
1931, 2014.

 

See other bills
under the
same topic