Legislation Quick Search
11/28/2023 10:14 PM
Pennsylvania State Senate
Home / Senate Co-Sponsorship Memoranda

Senate Co-Sponsorship Memoranda

Subscribe to PaLegis Notifications

Subscribe to receive notifications of new Co-Sponsorship Memos circulated

By Member | By Date | Keyword Search

Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2013 - 2014 Regular Session


Posted: February 25, 2013 10:51 AM
From: Senator Kim L. Ward and Sen. John P. Blake
To: All Senate members
Subject: Child Abuse updates: Mandatory Reporters

I plan to introduce legislation to address the recommendations made by the Task Force on Child Protection established by Senate Resolution 250. My legislation will clarify who is a mandatory reporter in Pennsylvania, or persons required to make a report of suspected child abuse. The bill incorporates suggestions made by the report recently released by the Task Force.

Current law (23 Pa.C.S. §6311) requires a person to report suspected child abuse if they, in the course of employment, occupation or practice of a profession, come into contact with children. The law goes on to identify twenty-four professions as mandatory reporters, but stipulates that the list is not limited to these professions. The Task Force found this vague and confusing.

As such, the Task Force recommended that the section be rewritten to read that any person who, in the course of their employment, occupation or practice of a profession, comes in contact with a child, or is directly responsible for the care, supervision, guidance or training of a child, is a mandatory reporter. The bill also modernizes the list of enumerated mandatory reporters. In addition to those professions already included as mandated reporters by law, the bill includes all health care professionals and health care facilities, school employees, coaches and independent contractors in schools, and any individual paid or unpaid who accepts direct responsibility for a child.

The bill also does the following:
  • Clearly outlines the reporting process for mandatory reporters and any person making a report of child abuse;
  • Allows a mandatory reporter – such as a physician – to direct an employee to make an immediate report of abuse to the Department of Public Welfare (DPW) via telephone, but requires that the mandatory reporter follow-up with a written or electronic report within 48 hours that notice;
  • Requires the report to include, if known: the name and address of the child; the child’s parents or guardians; where the suspected abuse occurred; the age and sex of each subject of the report; the nature and extent of the abuse; the name and relationship of each individual responsible for causing the abuse; family composition; the report’s source; the person making the reporter and contact information; the actions taken by the mandatory reporter; and any other information deemed relevant by DPW;
  • Maintains privileged communication protections included in the current law;
  • Provides for a limited exemption for certain reporting by sexual assault counselors at rape crisis centers so as to not deter victims of sexual abuse from approaching these centers for assistance.
If you have any questions regarding this legislation, please contact my office at 717-787-6063. Thank you for your consideration.

Introduced as SB21