PRINTER'S NO. 818
THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF PENNSYLVANIA
INTRODUCED BY STEPHENS, WATSON, AUMENT, GINGRICH, MALONEY, MOUL, YOUNGBLOOD, SCHLOSSBERG, HICKERNELL, MUNDY, ROCK, KORTZ, SACCONE, MAJOR, CUTLER, KAUFFMAN, O'NEILL, BAKER, SWANGER, MILLER, FLECK, C. HARRIS, CLYMER, MILNE, BENNINGHOFF AND MURT, FEBRUARY 14, 2013
REFERRED TO COMMITEE ON CHILDREN AND YOUTH, FEBRUARY 14, 2013
1Amending Title 23 (Domestic Relations) of the Pennsylvania
2Consolidated Statutes, in child protective services, further
3providing for definitions, for persons required to report
4suspected child abuse and for persons permitted to report
5suspected child abuse; providing for required posting of
6signs; further providing for reporting procedure; and
7providing for penalties.
14§ 6303. Definitions.
18* * *
19"Business establishment." Includes:
6* * *
10* * *
11"Independent contractor." An individual who provides a
12program, activity or service to an agency, institution,
13organization or other entity, including a school or regularly
14established religious organization, that is directly responsible
15for the care, supervision, guidance or control of children. The
16term excludes an individual who, in his capacity as an
17independent contractor, has no direct contact with children.
18* * *
21* * *
22"School." A facility providing elementary, secondary or
23postsecondary educational services. The term includes every
24public, nonpublic, private and parochial school, including each
25of the following:
30(3) A public or private college or university.
1(4) A community college.
2(5) A vocational-technical school.
3(6) An intermediate unit.
4(7) A charter or regional-charter school.
8(9) A nonprofit school located in this Commonwealth,
9other than a public school, wherein a resident of this
10Commonwealth may legally fulfill the compulsory school
11attendance requirements of the act of March 10, 1949 (P.L.30,
12No.14), known as the Public School Code of 1949, and which
13meets the requirements of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of
141964 (Public Law 88-352, 78 Stat. 241).
15"School employee." An individual who is employed by a
16[public or private school, intermediate unit or area vocational-
17technical school. The term includes an independent contractor
18and employees] school or who provides a program, activity or
19service in a school. The term excludes an individual who has no
20direct contact with students.
21* * *
24§ 6311. Persons required to report suspected child abuse.
25[(a) General rule.--A person who, in the course of
26employment, occupation or practice of a profession, comes into
27contact with children shall report or cause a report to be made
28in accordance with section 6313 (relating to reporting
29procedure) when the person has reasonable cause to suspect, on
30the basis of medical, professional or other training and
1experience, that a child under the care, supervision, guidance
2or training of that person or of an agency, institution,
3organization or other entity with which that person is
4affiliated is a victim of child abuse, including child abuse by
5an individual who is not a perpetrator. Except with respect to
6confidential communications made to a member of the clergy which
7are protected under 42 Pa.C.S. § 5943 (relating to confidential
8communications to clergymen), and except with respect to
9confidential communications made to an attorney which are
10protected by 42 Pa.C.S. § 5916 (relating to confidential
11communications to attorney) or 5928 (relating to confidential
12communications to attorney), the privileged communication
13between any professional person required to report and the
14patient or client of that person shall not apply to situations
15involving child abuse and shall not constitute grounds for
16failure to report as required by this chapter.
17(b) Enumeration of persons required to report.--Persons
18required to report under subsection (a) include, but are not
19limited to, any licensed physician, osteopath, medical examiner,
20coroner, funeral director, dentist, optometrist, chiropractor,
21podiatrist, intern, registered nurse, licensed practical nurse,
22hospital personnel engaged in the admission, examination, care
23or treatment of persons, Christian Science practitioner, member
24of the clergy, school administrator, school teacher, school
25nurse, social services worker, day-care center worker or any
26other child-care or foster-care worker, mental health
27professional, peace officer or law enforcement official.
1institution, school, facility or agency, that person shall
2immediately notify the person in charge of the institution,
3school, facility or agency or the designated agent of the person
4in charge. Upon notification, the person in charge or the
5designated agent, if any, shall assume the responsibility and
6have the legal obligation to report or cause a report to be made
7in accordance with section 6313. This chapter does not require
8more than one report from any such institution, school, facility
10(d) Civil action for discrimination against person filing
11report.--Any person who, under this section, is required to
12report or cause a report of suspected child abuse to be made and
13who, in good faith, makes or causes the report to be made and,
14as a result thereof, is discharged from his employment or in any
15other manner is discriminated against with respect to
16compensation, hire, tenure, terms, conditions or privileges of
17employment, may commence an action in the court of common pleas
18of the county in which the alleged unlawful discharge or
19discrimination occurred for appropriate relief. If the court
20finds that the person is an individual who, under this section,
21is required to report or cause a report of suspected child abuse
22to be made and who, in good faith, made or caused to be made a
23report of suspected child abuse and, as a result thereof, was
24discharged or discriminated against with respect to
25compensation, hire, tenure, terms, conditions or privileges of
26employment, it may issue an order granting appropriate relief,
27including, but not limited to, reinstatement with back pay. The
28department may intervene in any action commenced under this
30(e) Basis to report.--
1(1) Subject to paragraphs (2) and (3) and subsection
2(f), a person under subsection (f) shall make a report of
3suspected child abuse or cause a report of suspected child
4abuse to be made under this chapter if the person has
5reasonable cause to suspect that the child is a victim of
6child abuse and:
10(ii) The person is affiliated with an agency,
11institution, organization or other entity, including a
12school or regularly established religious organization
13that is directly responsible for the care, supervision,
14guidance or training of the child.
18(3) The identity of the perpetrator of child abuse need
19not be known by the person required to make a report of
20suspected child abuse or cause a report of suspected child
21abuse to be made. The person shall not be required to attempt
22to identify the perpetrator prior to making the report or
23causing the report to be made.
24(f) Enumerated mandated reporters.--Subject to subsection
25(e), the following persons shall make a report of suspected
26child abuse or cause a report of suspected child abuse to be
27made under this chapter:
1(2) A medical examiner, coroner or funeral director.
7(5) A child-care services provider.
16(8) A social services worker.
17(9) A peace officer or law enforcement official.
18(10) An attorney.
19(11) A librarian at a public library.
26(g) Disclosure of child abuse by child.--Notwithstanding
27subsection (e)(1)(i) and (ii), a mandated reporter shall make a
28report of suspected child abuse or cause a report of suspected
29child abuse to be made if:
30(1) a child makes a specific disclosure to the mandated
16(1) A mandated reporter to whom subsection (f)(13) or
17(14) applies or a staff member of a medical or other public
18or private institution, school, facility or agency shall
19immediately report the suspected child abuse directly to the
20department by telephone or advanced communications
22(i) In the case of an employee or independent
23contractor of a mandated reporter, notify the mandated
24reporter and the person directly responsible for the
25supervision of the employee or independent contractor.
26(ii) In the case of a staff member of an
27institution, school, facility or agency, notify the
28person in charge of the institution, school, facility or
29agency or the designated agent of the person in charge.
30(2) The person notified under paragraph (1)(i) or (ii)
9(3) Notice to a person under paragraph (1)(i) or (ii)
10shall not relieve the employee, independent contractor or
11staff member of the duty, as a mandated reporter, to make a
12report of suspected child abuse or cause a report of
13suspected child abuse to be made.
18(5) Confirmation from the department that a report of
19suspected child abuse has been filed shall relieve other
20employees, independent contractors and staff members of the
21duty, as a mandated reporter, to make a report of suspected
22child abuse or cause a report of suspected child abuse to be
24(j) Privileged communications.--
28(i) apply to a situation involving child abuse; and
1cause a report of suspected child abuse to be made.
2(2) Confidential communications made to a member of the
3clergy are protected under 42 Pa.C.S. § 5943 (relating to
4confidential communications to clergymen), but only to the
5extent that the member of the clergy is authorized to hear
6the communications under the disciplines, tenets or
7traditions of the religion of the member of the clergy.
8(3) Confidential communications made to an attorney are
9protected under 42 Pa.C.S. § 5916 (relating to confidential
10communications to attorney) or 5928 (relating to confidential
11communications to attorney), but only to the extent that such
12communications are protected under the rules of professional
13conduct for attorneys.
14(4) Confidential communications between spouses shall
15not be privileged under this chapter, notwithstanding any
16grant of privilege under 42 Pa.C.S. § 5914 (relating to
17confidential communications between spouses) or 5923
18(relating to confidential communications between spouses).
19(k) Limited exemption for certain reporters.--A sexual
20assault counselor at a rape crisis center as defined under 42
21Pa.C.S. § 5945.1(a) (relating to confidential communications
22with sexual assault counselors) shall not be required to report
23a violation of 18 Pa.C.S. § 3122.1(a)(1) (relating to statutory
24sexual assault) as child abuse under this chapter if the child
25who would otherwise be the subject of a report of suspected
26child abuse is 14 years of age or older.
5(b) Specific persons.--The following persons are encouraged
6to make a report of suspected child abuse, sexual abuse or
7exploitation or cause a report of suspected child abuse, sexual
8abuse or exploitation to be made under this chapter:
12(2) A person who repairs or services computer,
13electronic or other information technology equipment and
14devices and discovers any depiction of child abuse, sexual
15abuse or exploitation during the provision of those repairs
17Section 3. Title 23 is amended by adding a section to read:
18§ 6312.1. Required posting of signs.
19(a) General rule.--A business establishment shall post a
20sign containing information regarding the Childline and Abuse
21Registry Intake Unit and any other establishment or business may
22post such sign.
26(c) Size, information and design.--
1suspected child abuse.
9(5) The sign shall be posted in English, Spanish and any
10other language mandated by the Voting Rights Act of 1965
11(Public Law 89-110, 42 U.S.C. § 1973 et seq.) in the county
12where the sign is required to be posted.
13(d) Availability of sign on Internet.--The Department of
14Public Welfare shall make the sign required by subsection (a)
15available on its publicly accessible Internet website for
16business establishments to print as needed.
17Section 4. Section 6313 of Title 23 is amended to read:
18§ 6313. Reporting procedure.
19[(a) General rule.--Reports from persons required to report
20under section 6311 (relating to persons required to report
21suspected child abuse) shall be made immediately by telephone
22and in writing within 48 hours after the oral report.
23(b) Oral reports.--Oral reports shall be made to the
24department pursuant to Subchapter C (relating to powers and
25duties of department) and may be made to the appropriate county
26agency. When oral reports of suspected child abuse are initially
27received at the county agency, the protective services staff
28shall, after seeing to the immediate safety of the child and
29other children in the home, immediately notify the department of
30the receipt of the report, which is to be held in the pending
1complaint file as provided in Subchapter C. The initial child
2abuse report summary shall be supplemented with a written report
3when a determination is made as to whether a report of suspected
4child abuse is a founded report, an unfounded report or an
6(c) Written reports.--Written reports from persons required
7to report under section 6311 shall be made to the appropriate
8county agency in a manner and on forms the department prescribes
9by regulation. The written reports shall include the following
10information if available:
14(2) Where the suspected abuse occurred.
15(3) The age and sex of the subjects of the report.
22(6) Family composition.
23(7) The source of the report.
1(d) Failure to confirm oral report.--The failure of a person
2reporting cases of suspected child abuse to confirm an oral
3report in writing within 48 hours shall not relieve the county
4agency from any duties prescribed by this chapter. In such
5event, the county agency shall proceed as if a written report
6were actually made.]
7(e) Report by mandated reporter.--
12(2) A mandated reporter making an oral report of
13suspected child abuse shall also make a report in writing or
14by advanced communication technologies within 48 hours to the
15county agency assigned to the case in a manner and format
16that the department prescribes by regulation.
17(3) The failure of a mandated reporter to file the
18report in writing or by advanced communication technologies
19as required by paragraph (2) shall not relieve the county
20agency from any duty under this chapter and the county agency
21shall proceed as though the mandated reporter complied with
23(f) Permissive report.--A report of suspected child abuse by
24a person under section 6312 (relating to persons encouraged to
25report suspected child abuse) may be made orally or by advanced
26communication technologies to the department, county agency or
4(2) The location where the suspected abuse occurred.
5(3) The age and sex of each subject of the report.
12(6) Family composition.
13(7) The source of 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).
25Section 5. Title 23 is amended by adding a section to read:
26§ 6379. Penalties.
27(a) Failure to report or refer.--A person or official
28required by this chapter to report a case of suspected child
29abuse or to make a referral to the appropriate authorities
30commits a misdemeanor of the second degree if the person or
4(b) Interference with making report or referral.--A person
5who intentionally or knowingly prevents or interferes with the
6making of a report or referral of suspected child abuse commits
7a misdemeanor of the first degree, except that if the child
8abuse constitutes a felony of the first degree or higher, the
9person commits a felony of the second degree.
10(c) Concealment of abuse to protect another.--A person who
11intentionally or knowingly acts to prevent the discovery under
12this chapter of child abuse in order to protect or insulate any
13person or entity from prosecution or liability for the child
14abuse commits a felony of the third degree, except if the child
15abuse constitutes a felony of the first degree or higher, the
16person commits a felony of the first degree.
17(d) Continuing course of action.--If a person's willful
18failure under subsection (a) continues while the person knows or
19has reasonable cause to believe the child is actively being
20subjected to child abuse, the person commits a felony of the
21third degree, except that if the child abuse constitutes a
22felony of the first degree or higher, the person commits a
23felony of the first degree.
24(e) Multiple offenses.--A person who commits a second or
25subsequent offense under subsections (a), (b), (c) or (d)
26commits a felony of the second degree, except that if the child
27abuse constitutes a felony of the first degree or higher, the
28penalty for the second or subsequent offenses is a felony of the
30(f) Statute of limitations.--The statute of limitations for
4Section 6. This act shall take effect in 60 days.