23c6303s

§ 6303.  Definitions.

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

"Accept for service."  Decide on the basis of the needs and problems of an individual to admit or receive the individual as a client of the agency or as required by a court order entered under 42 Pa.C.S. Ch. 63 (relating to juvenile matters).

"Bodily injury."  Impairment of physical condition or substantial pain.

"Child."  An individual under 18 years of age.

"Child-care services."  Includes any of the following:

(1)  Child day-care centers.

(2)  Group day-care homes.

(3)  Family day-care homes.

(4)  Foster homes.

(5)  Adoptive parents.

(6)  Boarding homes for children.

(7)  Juvenile detention center services or programs for delinquent or dependent children.

(8)  Mental health services for children.

(9)  Services for children with intellectual disabilities.

(10)  Early intervention services for children.

(11)  Drug and alcohol services for children.

(12)  Day-care services or programs that are offered by a school.

(13)  Other child-care services that are provided by or subject to approval, licensure, registration or certification by the Department of Public Welfare or a county social services agency or that are provided pursuant to a contract with the Department of Public Welfare or a county social services agency.

"Child protective services."  Those services and activities provided by the Department of Public Welfare and each county agency for child abuse cases.

"Children's advocacy center."  A local public agency in this Commonwealth or a not-for-profit entity incorporated in this Commonwealth which:

(1)  is tax exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 (Public Law 99-514, 26 U.S.C. § 501(c)(3)); and

(2)  operates within this Commonwealth for the primary purpose of providing a child-focused, facility-based program dedicated to coordinating a formalized multidisciplinary response to suspected child abuse that, at a minimum, either onsite or through a partnership with another entity or entities, assists county agencies, investigative teams and law enforcement by providing services, including forensic interviews, medical evaluations, therapeutic interventions, victim support and advocacy, team case reviews and a system for case tracking.

"Cooperation with an investigation or assessment."  Includes, but is not limited to, a school or school district which permits authorized personnel from the Department of Public Welfare or county agency to interview a student while the student is in attendance at school.

"County agency."  The county children and youth social service agency established pursuant to section 405 of the act of June 24, 1937 (P.L.2017, No.396), known as the County Institution District Law, or its successor, and supervised by the Department of Public Welfare under Article IX of the act of June 13, 1967 (P.L.31, No.21), known as the Public Welfare Code.

"Department."  The Department of Public Welfare of the Commonwealth.

"Electronic technologies."  The transfer of information in whole or in part by technology having electrical, digital, magnetic, wireless, optical, electromagnetic, photo-electronic or photo-optical systems, or similar capabilities. The term includes, but is not limited to, e-mail, Internet communication or other means of electronic transmission.

"Expunge."  To strike out or obliterate entirely so that the expunged information may not be stored, identified or later recovered by any mechanical or electronic means or otherwise.

"Family members."  Spouses, parents and children or other persons related by consanguinity or affinity.

"Founded report."  A child abuse report involving a perpetrator that is made pursuant to this chapter, if any of the following applies:

(1)  There has been a judicial adjudication based on a finding that a child who is a subject of the report has been abused and the adjudication involves the same factual circumstances involved in the allegation of child abuse. The judicial adjudication may include any of the following:

(i)  The entry of a plea of guilty or nolo contendere.

(ii)  A finding of guilt to a criminal charge.

(iii)  A finding of dependency under 42 Pa.C.S. § 6341 (relating to adjudication) if the court has entered a finding that a child who is the subject of the report has been abused.

(iv)  A finding of delinquency under 42 Pa.C.S. § 6341 if the court has entered a finding that the child who is the subject of the report has been abused by the child who was found to be delinquent.

(2)  There has been an acceptance into an accelerated rehabilitative disposition program and the reason for the acceptance involves the same factual circumstances involved in the allegation of child abuse.

(3)  There has been a consent decree entered in a juvenile proceeding under 42 Pa.C.S. Ch. 63 (relating to juvenile matters), the decree involves the same factual circumstances involved in the allegation of child abuse and the terms and conditions of the allegation include an acknowledgment, admission or finding that a child who is the subject of the report has been abused by the child who is alleged to be delinquent.

(4)  A final protection from abuse order has been granted under section 6108 (relating to relief), when the child who is a subject of the report is one of the individuals protected under the protection from abuse order and:

(i)  only one individual is charged with the abuse in the protection from abuse action;

(ii)  only that individual defends against the charge;

(iii)  the adjudication involves the same factual circumstances involved in the allegation of child abuse; and

(iv)  the protection from abuse adjudication finds that the child abuse occurred.

"Founded report for school employee."  A report under Subchapter C.1 (relating to students in public and private schools) if there has been any judicial adjudication based on a finding that the victim has suffered serious bodily injury or sexual abuse or exploitation, including the entry of a plea of guilty or nolo contendere or a finding of guilt to a criminal charge involving the same factual circumstances involved in the allegations of the report.

"General protective services."  Those services and activities provided by each county agency for nonabuse cases requiring protective services, as defined by the Department of Public Welfare in regulations.

"Health care provider."  A licensed hospital or health care facility or person who is licensed, certified or otherwise regulated to provide health care services under the laws of this Commonwealth, including a physician, podiatrist, optometrist, psychologist, physical therapist, certified nurse practitioner, registered nurse, nurse midwife, physician's assistant, chiropractor, dentist, pharmacist or an individual accredited or certified to provide behavioral health services.

"Indicated report."  

(1)  Subject to paragraphs (2) and (3), a report of child abuse made pursuant to this chapter if an investigation by the Department of Public Welfare or county agency determines that substantial evidence of the alleged abuse by a perpetrator exists based on any of the following:

(i)  Available medical evidence.

(ii)  The child protective service investigation.

(iii)  An admission of the acts of abuse by the perpetrator.

(2)  A report may be indicated under paragraph (1)(i) or (ii) for any child who is the victim of child abuse, regardless of the number of alleged perpetrators.

(3)  A report may be indicated under paragraph (1)(i) or (ii) listing the perpetrator as "unknown" if substantial evidence of abuse by a perpetrator exists, but the department or county agency is unable to identify the specific perpetrator.

"Indicated report for school employee."  A report made under Subchapter C.1 (relating to students in public and private schools) if an investigation by the county agency determines that substantial evidence of serious bodily injury or sexual abuse or exploitation exists based on any of the following:

(1)  Available medical evidence.

(2)  The county agency's investigation.

(3)  An admission of the acts of abuse by the school employee.

"Individual residing in the same home as the child."  An individual who is 14 years of age or older and who resides in the same home as the child.

"Intentionally."  The term shall have the same meaning as provided in 18 Pa.C.S. § 302 (relating to general requirements of culpability).

"Knowingly."  The term shall have the same meaning as provided in 18 Pa.C.S. § 302 (relating to general requirements of culpability).

"Law enforcement official."  The term includes the following:

(1)  The Attorney General.

(2)  A Pennsylvania district attorney.

(3)  A Pennsylvania State Police officer.

(4)  A municipal police officer.

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

"Near fatality."  An act that, as certified by a physician, places a child in serious or critical condition.

"Newborn."  As defined in section 6502 (relating to definitions).

"Nonaccidental."  (Deleted by amendment).

"Parent."  A biological parent, adoptive parent or legal guardian.

"Perpetrator."  A person who has committed child abuse as defined in this section. The following shall apply:

(1)  The term includes only the following:

(i)  A parent of the child.

(ii)  A spouse or former spouse of the child's parent.

(iii)  A paramour or former paramour of the child's parent.

(iv)  A person 14 years of age or older and responsible for the child's welfare.

(v)  An individual 14 years of age or older who resides in the same home as the child.

(vi)  An individual 18 years of age or older who does not reside in the same home as the child but is related within the third degree of consanguinity or affinity by birth or adoption to the child.

(2)  Only the following may be considered a perpetrator for failing to act, as provided in this section:

(i)  A parent of the child.

(ii)  A spouse or former spouse of the child's parent.

(iii)  A paramour or former paramour of the child's parent.

(iv)  A person 18 years of age or older and responsible for the child's welfare.

(v)  A person 18 years of age or older who resides in the same home as the child.

"Person responsible for the child's welfare."  A person who provides permanent or temporary care, supervision, mental health diagnosis or treatment, training or control of a child in lieu of parental care, supervision and control. The term includes any such person who has direct or regular contact with a child through any program, activity or service sponsored by a school, for-profit organization or religious or other not-for-profit organization.

"Private agency."  A children and youth social service agency subject to the requirements of 55 Pa. Code Ch. 3680 (relating to administration and operation of a children and youth social service agency).

"Protective services."  Those services and activities provided by the Department of Public Welfare and each county agency for children who are abused or are alleged to be in need of protection under this chapter.

"Recent act."  Any act committed within two years of the date of the report to the Department of Public Welfare or county agency.

"Recent act or failure to act."  Any act or failure to act committed within two years of the date of the report to the Department of Public Welfare or county agency.

"Recklessly."  The term shall have the same meaning as provided in 18 Pa.C.S. § 302 (relating to general requirements of culpability).

"Resource family."  A family which provides temporary foster or kinship care for children who need out-of-home placement and may eventually provide permanency for those children, including an adoptive family.

"Risk assessment."  A Commonwealth-approved systematic process that assesses a child's need for protection or services based on the risk of harm to the child.

"Safety assessment."  A Commonwealth-approved systematic process that assesses a child's need for protection or services, based on the threat to the safety of the child.

"School employee."  An individual employed by a public or private school, intermediate unit or area vocational-technical school. The term includes an independent contractor and employees. The term excludes an individual who has no direct contact with students.

"Secretary."  The Secretary of Public Welfare of the Commonwealth.

"Serious bodily injury."  Bodily injury which creates a substantial risk of death or which causes serious permanent disfigurement or protracted loss or impairment of function of any bodily member or organ.

"Serious mental injury."  A psychological condition, as diagnosed by a physician or licensed psychologist, including the refusal of appropriate treatment, that:

(1)  renders a child chronically and severely anxious, agitated, depressed, socially withdrawn, psychotic or in reasonable fear that the child's life or safety is threatened; or

(2)  seriously interferes with a child's ability to accomplish age-appropriate developmental and social tasks.

"Serious physical injury."  (Deleted by amendment).

"Serious physical neglect."  Any of the following when committed by a perpetrator that endangers a child's life or health, threatens a child's well-being, causes bodily injury or impairs a child's health, development or functioning:

(1)  A repeated, prolonged or unconscionable egregious failure to supervise a child in a manner that is appropriate considering the child's developmental age and abilities.

(2)  The failure to provide a child with adequate essentials of life, including food, shelter or medical care.

"Sexual abuse or exploitation."  Any of the following:

(1)  The employment, use, persuasion, inducement, enticement or coercion of a child to engage in or assist another individual to engage in sexually explicit conduct, which includes, but is not limited to, the following:

(i)  Looking at the sexual or other intimate parts of a child or another individual for the purpose of arousing or gratifying sexual desire in any individual.

(ii)  Participating in sexually explicit conversation either in person, by telephone, by computer or by a computer-aided device for the purpose of sexual stimulation or gratification of any individual.

(iii)  Actual or simulated sexual activity or nudity for the purpose of sexual stimulation or gratification of any individual.

(iv)  Actual or simulated sexual activity for the purpose of producing visual depiction, including photographing, videotaping, computer depicting or filming.

This paragraph does not include consensual activities between a child who is 14 years of age or older and another person who is 14 years of age or older and whose age is within four years of the child's age.

(2)  Any of the following offenses committed against a child:

(i)  Rape as defined in 18 Pa.C.S. § 3121 (relating to rape).

(ii)  Statutory sexual assault as defined in 18 Pa.C.S. § 3122.1 (relating to statutory sexual assault).

(iii)  Involuntary deviate sexual intercourse as defined in 18 Pa.C.S. § 3123 (relating to involuntary deviate sexual intercourse).

(iv)  Sexual assault as defined in 18 Pa.C.S. § 3124.1 (relating to sexual assault).

(v)  Institutional sexual assault as defined in 18 Pa.C.S. § 3124.2 (relating to institutional sexual assault).

(vi)  Aggravated indecent assault as defined in 18 Pa.C.S. § 3125 (relating to aggravated indecent assault).

(vii)  Indecent assault as defined in 18 Pa.C.S. § 3126 (relating to indecent assault).

(viii)  Indecent exposure as defined in 18 Pa.C.S. § 3127 (relating to indecent exposure).

(ix)  Incest as defined in 18 Pa.C.S. § 4302 (relating to incest).

(x)  Prostitution as defined in 18 Pa.C.S. § 5902 (relating to prostitution and related offenses).

(xi)  Sexual abuse as defined in 18 Pa.C.S. § 6312 (relating to sexual abuse of children).

(xii)  Unlawful contact with a minor as defined in 18 Pa.C.S. § 6318 (relating to unlawful contact with minor).

(xiii)  Sexual exploitation as defined in 18 Pa.C.S. § 6320 (relating to sexual exploitation of children).

"Student."  An individual enrolled in a public or private school, intermediate unit or area vocational-technical school who is under 18 years of age.

"Subject of the report."  Any child, parent, guardian or other person responsible for the welfare of a child or any alleged or actual perpetrator or school employee named in a report made to the Department of Public Welfare or a county agency under this chapter.

"Substantial evidence."  Evidence which outweighs inconsistent evidence and which a reasonable person would accept as adequate to support a conclusion.

"Substantiated child abuse."  Child abuse as to which there is an indicated report or founded report.

"Under investigation."  A child abuse report pursuant to this chapter which is being investigated to determine whether it is "founded," "indicated" or "unfounded."

"Unfounded report."  Any report made pursuant to this chapter unless the report is a "founded report" or an "indicated report."

(b)  Child abuse.--(Deleted by amendment).

(b.1)  Child abuse.--The term "child abuse" shall mean intentionally, knowingly or recklessly doing any of the following:

(1)  Causing bodily injury to a child through any recent act or failure to act.

(2)  Fabricating, feigning or intentionally exaggerating or inducing a medical symptom or disease which results in a potentially harmful medical evaluation or treatment to the child through any recent act.

(3)  Causing or substantially contributing to serious mental injury to a child through any act or failure to act or a series of such acts or failures to act.

(4)  Causing sexual abuse or exploitation of a child through any act or failure to act.

(5)  Creating a reasonable likelihood of bodily injury to a child through any recent act or failure to act.

(6)  Creating a likelihood of sexual abuse or exploitation of a child through any recent act or failure to act.

(7)  Causing serious physical neglect of a child.

(8)  Engaging in any of the following recent acts:

(i)  Kicking, biting, throwing, burning, stabbing or cutting a child in a manner that endangers the child.

(ii)  Unreasonably restraining or confining a child, based on consideration of the method, location or the duration of the restraint or confinement.

(iii)  Forcefully shaking a child under one year of age.

(iv)  Forcefully slapping or otherwise striking a child under one year of age.

(v)  Interfering with the breathing of a child.

(vi)  Causing a child to be present at a location while a violation of 18 Pa.C.S. § 7508.2 (relating to operation of methamphetamine laboratory) is occurring, provided that the violation is being investigated by law enforcement.

(vii)  Leaving a child unsupervised with an individual, other than the child's parent, who the actor knows or reasonably should have known:

(A)  Is required to register as a Tier II or Tier III sexual offender under 42 Pa.C.S. Ch. 97 Subch. H (relating to registration of sexual offenders), where the victim of the sexual offense was under 18 years of age when the crime was committed.

(B)  Has been determined to be a sexually violent predator under 42 Pa.C.S. § 9799.24 (relating to assessments) or any of its predecessors.

(C)  Has been determined to be a sexually violent delinquent child as defined in 42 Pa.C.S. § 9799.12 (relating to definitions).

(9)  Causing the death of the child through any act or failure to act.

(c)  Restatement of culpability.--Conduct that causes injury or harm to a child or creates a risk of injury or harm to a child shall not be considered child abuse if there is no evidence that the person acted intentionally, knowingly or recklessly when causing the injury or harm to the child or creating a risk of injury or harm to the child.

(d)  Child abuse exclusions.--The term "child abuse" does not include any conduct for which an exclusion is provided in section 6304 (relating to exclusions from child abuse).

23c6303v

(Dec. 16, 1994, P.L.1292, No.151, eff. July 1, 1995; Mar. 31, 1995, 1st Sp.Sess., P.L.985, No.10, eff. 60 days; Dec. 9, 2002, P.L.1549, No.201, eff. 60 days; Nov. 29, 2004, P.L.1291, No.160, eff. 60 days; Nov. 9, 2006, P.L.1358, No.146, eff. 180 days; Nov. 29, 2006, P.L.1581, No.179, eff. 180 days; July 3, 2008, P.L.276, No.33, eff. 180 days; Dec. 18, 2013, P.L.1170, No.108, eff. Dec. 31, 2014; Dec. 18, 2013, P.L.1195, No.117, eff. Dec. 31, 2014; Dec. 18, 2013, P.L.1201, No.119, eff. Dec. 31, 2014; Jan. 22, 2014, P.L.6, No.4, eff. 90 days; Apr. 7, 2014, P.L.  , No.29, eff. Dec. 31, 2014)

 

2014 Amendments.  Act 4 added the defs. of "health care provider" and "safety assessment" in subsec. (a) and Act 29 amended the defs. of "child-care services" and added the defs. of "electronic technologies," "law enforcement official" and "mandated reporter."

2013 Amendments.  Act 108 amended the defs. of "child," "founded report," "indicated report," "recent acts or omissions" and "sexual abuse or exploitation," added the defs. of "bodily injury," "intentionally," "knowingly," "parent," "recent act," "recklessly" and "serious physical neglect" and deleted the defs. of "nonaccidental" and "serious physical injury" in subsec. (a), added subsecs. (b.1), (c) and (d) and deleted subsec. (b), Act 117 amended the defs. of "perpetrator" and "person responsible for the child's welfare" in subsec. (a) and Act 119 added the def. of "child-care services" in subsec. (a).

2008 Amendment.  Act 33 added the defs. of "children's advocacy center" and "substantiated child abuse."

2006 Amendments.  Act 146 added the defs. of "near fatality" and "nonaccidental" in subsec. (a) and Act 179 amended the def. of "sexual abuse or exploitation" in subsec. (a).

2004 Amendment.  Act 160 added the defs. of "private agency" and "resource family" in subsec. (a).

2002 Amendment.  Act 201 added the defs. of "child" and "newborn" in subsec. (a).

Cross References.  Section 6303 is referred to in sections 6340, 6368, 6502 of this title; sections 4306, 4958 of Title 18 (Crimes and Offenses); sections 6302, 6336.1 of Title 42 (Judiciary and Judicial Procedure); section 4109 of Title 51 (Military Affairs).