|Posted:||December 18, 2014 10:55 AM|
|From:||Representative Sheryl M. Delozier|
|To:||All House members|
|Subject:||Protection From Abuse Act as recommended by the Task Force on Child Protection|
|I am planning to reintroduce an amendment to the Protection From Abuse Act, as recommended by the Task Force on Child Protection (former HB 328). As you know, the Task Force on Child Protection was established during the 2011-12 legislative session through House Resolution 522. The resolution was sponsored by the two chairmen of the House Judiciary Committee, Rep. Ronald Marsico and Rep. Thomas Caltagirone.
The Task Force on Child Protection was directed by the House of Representatives to review and analyze the practices, processes and procedures related to reporting child abuse. Further, the task force was directed by the House to review and analyze the body of law regarding child abuse and to make recommendations for changes to that body of law. The House set a deadline of November 30, 2012, with respect to the task force issuing its written report.
In its 400-plus page report, the Task Force on Child Protection recommended changes to the primary mechanism for reporting and investigating child abuse, the Child Protective Services Law. In addition, the task force recommended changes to the Crimes Code, the Domestic Relations Code, and the Protection From Abuse Act. From a legal perspective, conforming amendments are needed in the Crimes Code, the Domestic Relations Code and the Protection From Abuse Act so that the body of law affecting child abuse is workable and will enhance the protection of children.
Hence, my legislation amends the Protection From Abuse Act in a way that supports the new provisions recommended by the task force with respect to the Child Protective Services Law.
Witnesses that appeared before the Task Force on Child Protection spoke about the need for courts to have a complete record regarding whether the child subject to a proceeding is an abused child. Failure of a court to have an accurate picture regarding whether a child has been abused or is the subject of a child abuse investigation can lead to further harm to the child. Accordingly, the Task Force on Child Protection is recommending that courts be made aware of investigations into allegations of abuse by a county agency or by the district attorney.
In the realm of protection from abuse, the task force recommended that the petitioner in a protection from abuse action state in the petition whether the person had any knowledge of a child abuse investigation involving the defendant. If so, the petition would set forth the name of the investigative agency and any other information in possession of the plaintiff. The legislation I am sponsoring provides for this notice to the court.
Last session HB 328 passed the House unanimously.
Introduced as HB124