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House of Representatives
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: May 23, 2017 04:13 PM
From: Representative Todd Stephens
To: All House members
Subject: Reporting Suspected Child Abuse
Several years ago, following the recommendations of the child-protection task force, we dramatically improved our child protection statutes in Pennsylvania. Among those improvements were changes regarding who must report suspected child abuse and under what circumstances.

I recently heard from a stakeholder who identified a loophole in the mandated reporting provisions and I will be introducing legislation to address this concern.

Under current state law (Section 6311(b) of the Child Protective Services Law), mandated reporters are legally required to report when they have reasonable cause to suspect child abuse under any the following circumstances:
  • The mandated reporter comes into contact with the child through their work or volunteer service.
  • The mandated reporter or the organization they are affiliated with is directly responsible for the child.
  • A person makes a specific disclosure to the mandated reporter that an identifiable child is the victim of child abuse.
  • An individual 14 years of age or older makes a specific disclosure to the mandated reporter that the person has committed child abuse.

My legislation will clearly state what I believe is the obvious intent of the statute by expressly providing that a mandated reporter shall report suspected child abuse if:

The mandated reporter witnesses an abusive act to an identifiable child.

My legislation makes it clear to both mandated reporters and those who train them that reporting child abuse one has personally witnessed is paramount among the responsibilities that come with being a mandated reporter.

I hope you can join me in supporting this legislation.

Introduced as HB1527