PRIOR PRINTER'S NO. 689
PRINTER'S NO. 1389
THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF PENNSYLVANIA
INTRODUCED BY ERICKSON, KASUNIC, FONTANA, WASHINGTON, TEPLITZ, BAKER, YUDICHAK, TARTAGLIONE, WAUGH, MENSCH, BROWNE, SCARNATI, WARD, PILEGGI, BOSCOLA, HUGHES, COSTA AND FARNESE, MARCH 15, 2013
SENATOR MENSCH, AGING AND YOUTH, AS AMENDED, SEPTEMBER 24, 2013
1Amending Title 23 (Domestic Relations) of the Pennsylvania
2Consolidated Statutes, in child protective services, further
3providing for definitions<-, for immunity from liability, for
4complaint files and for amendment or expunction of
5information; and providing;<- repealing provisions relating to
6immunity from liability; further providing for establishment
7of pending complaint file, Statewide central register and
8file of unfounded reports; repealing provisions relating to
9amendment or expunction of information; and providing for
10disposition of reports upon completion of assessment or
11investigation, for appeals of indicated reports and for
12immunity from liability.
17§ 6303. Definitions.
21* * *
<-22"Detention facility." A privately or publicly owned and
7* * *
8"Private residential rehabilitative institution." The term
9shall have the same meaning as given to it in section 914.1-A(c)
10of the act of March 10, 1949 (P.L.30, No.14), known as the
11Public School Code of 1949.
16* * *
17"School." A facility providing elementary, secondary or
18postsecondary educational services. The term includes every
19public, nonpublic, private and parochial school, including each
20of the following:
25(3) A public or private college or university.
26(4) A community college.
27(5) A vocational-technical school.
28(6) An intermediate unit.
29(7) A charter or regional charter school.
30(8) A private school licensed under the act of January
3(9) A nonprofit school located in this Commonwealth,
4other than a public school, wherein a resident of this
5Commonwealth may legally fulfill the compulsory school
6attendance requirements of the act of March 10, 1949 (P.L.30,
7No.14), known as the Public School Code of 1949, and which
8meets the requirements of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of
91964 (Public Law 88-352, 78 Stat. 241).
10* * *
<-11"Child-care services." As follows:
12(1) Includes any of the following:
13(i) Child day-care centers.
14(ii) Group day-care homes.
15(iii) Family day-care homes.
16(iv) Foster homes.
17(v) Adoptive parents.
18(vi) Boarding homes for children.
21(viii) Mental health services for children.
24(x) Early intervention services for children.
25(xi) Drug and alcohol services for children.
7* * *
11(1) Any school of a school district.
12(2) An area vocational-technical school.
13(3) A joint school.
14(4) An intermediate unit.
15(5) A charter school or regional charter school.
16(6) A cyber charter school.
22(9) A nonpublic school.
23(10) A community college which is an institution now or
24hereafter created pursuant to Article XIX-A of the act of
25March 10, 1949 (P.L.30, No.14), known as the Public School
26Code of 1949, or the former act of August 24, 1963 (P.L.1132,
27No.484), known as the Community College Act of 1963.
1the Commonwealth, entitled to confer degrees as set forth in
224 Pa.C.S. § 6505 (relating to power to confer degrees) and
3entitled to apply to itself the designation "college" or
4"university" as provided for by standards and qualifications
5prescribed by the State Board of Education pursuant to 24
6Pa.C.S. Ch. 65 (relating to private colleges, universities
8(12) A State-owned university.
9(13) A State-related university.
13(15) The Hiram G. Andrews Center.
17* * *
18Section 2. Section 6318 of Title 23 is repealed:
19[§ 6318. Immunity from liability.
20(a) General rule.--A person, hospital, institution, school,
21facility, agency or agency employee that participates in good
22faith in the making of a report, whether required or not,
23cooperating with an investigation, including providing
24information to a child fatality or near fatality review team,
25testifying in a proceeding arising out of an instance of
26suspected child abuse, the taking of photographs or the removal
27or keeping of a child pursuant to section 6315 (relating to
28taking child into protective custody), and any official or
29employee of a county agency who refers a report of suspected
30abuse to law enforcement authorities or provides services under
4(b) Presumption of good faith.--For the purpose of any civil
5or criminal proceeding, the good faith of a person required to
6report pursuant to section 6311 (relating to persons required to
7report suspected child abuse) and of any person required to make
8a referral to law enforcement officers under this chapter shall
10Section 3. Section 6331(2) of Title 23 is amended to read:
13There shall be established in the department:
14* * *
23(ii) A subfile of the names of the persons who made
24an intentionally false report of suspected child abuse
25under <-section 6379(d) (relating to immunity from
26liability) <-18 Pa.C.S. § 4906.1 (relating to false reports
27of child abuse), including the name of the subject child,
28which shall only be made available to law enforcement,
29the department or the county agency investigating new
30allegations of suspected child abuse at <-a school, a
1private residential rehabilitative institution or a
2detention facility <-child-care services to determine the
3existence of a pattern of false reports of suspected
4child abuse on behalf of any one person or subject child.
5* * *
9§ 6341. Amendment or expunction of information.
10(a) General rule.--At any time:
11* * *
12(2) Any person named as a perpetrator, and any school
13employee, private residential rehabilitative institution
14employee or detention facility employee named, in an
15indicated report of child abuse may, within 45 days of being
16notified of the status of the report, request the secretary
17to amend or expunge an indicated report on the grounds that
18it is inaccurate or it is being maintained in a manner
19inconsistent with this chapter.
20* * *
21(c) Review of refusal of request.--If the secretary refuses
22the request under subsection (a)(2) or does not act within a
23reasonable time, but in no event later than 30 days after
24receipt of the request, the perpetrator [or], school employee,
25private residential rehabilitative institution employee or
26detention facility employee shall have the right to a hearing
27before the secretary or a designated agent of the secretary to
28determine whether the summary of the indicated report in the
29Statewide central register should be amended or expunged on the
30grounds that it is inaccurate or that it is being maintained in
1a manner inconsistent with this chapter. The perpetrator [or],
2school employee, private residential rehabilitative institution
3employee or detention facility employee shall have 45 days from
4the date of the letter giving notice of the decision to deny the
5request in which to request a hearing. The appropriate county
6agency and appropriate law enforcement officials shall be given
7notice of the hearing. The burden of proof in the hearing shall
8be on the appropriate county agency. The department shall assist
9the county agency as necessary.
10(c.1) Appeals from refusal of request.--
11(1) A school employee, private residential
12rehabilitative institution employee or detention facility
13employee who is named in an indicated report of suspected
14child abuse and who, under subsection (c), files an appeal,
15shall be entitled to an initial hearing and ruling on the
16matter within 45 days of the date the appeal was received by
17the secretary. If a ruling on the matter is not issued within
1845 days, the report shall be marked unfounded and expunction
19shall be granted in accordance with the terms of this
21(2) The initial hearing shall be conducted before the
22secretary or the designated agent of the secretary for the
23purpose of determining whether credible and substantial
24evidence exists to support the determination made by the
25department or the county agency. All evidence gathered by the
26department or county agency as part of its investigation
27leading to a determination shall be disclosed to the
28appellant employee sufficiently in advance of the hearing so
29as to make the disclosure meaningful and shall be subject to
30cross-examination at the hearing. If the secretary or
1designee concludes that insufficient evidence exists to
2support the determination, the report shall be marked
3unfounded and expunction shall be granted in accordance with
4the terms of this chapter. If the secretary or designee
5concludes that sufficient evidence has been presented, the
6matter shall be scheduled for a full hearing on the merits.
7If a full hearing is necessary and the appellant is a private
8residential rehabilitative institution employee or detention
9facility employee, the secretary or designee shall also
10determine whether the appellant shall continue to work with
11children and under what, if any, restrictions shall be
12imposed based on the nature and extent of the evidence
13presented. Restrictions may only be imposed if, based on
14evidence presented, the appellant presents a danger to the
15subject child or other minors under his or her care.
19* * *
20(f) Notice of expunction.--Written notice of an expunction
21of any child abuse record made pursuant to the provisions of
22this chapter shall be served upon the subject of the record who
23was responsible for the abuse or injury and the appropriate
24county agency. Except as provided in this subsection, the county
25agency, upon receipt of the notice, shall take appropriate,
26similar action in regard to the local child abuse and school
27employee, private residential rehabilitative institution
28employee or detention facility employee records and inform, for
29the same purpose, the appropriate coroner if that officer has
30received reports pursuant to section 6367 (relating to reports
1to department and coroner). Whenever the county agency
2investigation reveals, within 60 days of receipt of the report
3of suspected child abuse, that the report is unfounded but that
4the subjects need services provided or arranged by the county
5agency, the county agency shall retain those records and shall
6specifically identify that the report was an unfounded report of
7suspected child abuse. An unfounded report regarding subjects
8who receive services shall be expunged no later than 120 days
9following the expiration of one year after the termination or
10completion of services provided or arranged by the county
<-12Section 4. Section 6341 of Title 23 is repealed:
13[§ 6341. Amendment or expunction of information.
14(a) General rule.--At any time:
18(2) Any person named as a perpetrator, and any school
19employee named, in an indicated report of child abuse may,
20within 45 days of being notified of the status of the report,
21request the secretary to amend or expunge an indicated report
22on the grounds that it is inaccurate or it is being
23maintained in a manner inconsistent with this chapter.
24(b) Review of grant of request.--If the secretary grants the
25request under subsection (a)(2), the Statewide central register,
26appropriate county agency, appropriate law enforcement officials
27and all subjects shall be so advised of the decision. The county
28agency and any subject have 45 days in which to file an
29administrative appeal with the secretary. If an administrative
30appeal is received, the secretary or his designated agent shall
1schedule a hearing pursuant to Article IV of the act of June 13,
21967 (P.L.31, No.21), known as the Public Welfare Code, and
3attending departmental regulations. If no administrative appeal
4is received within the designated time period, the Statewide
5central register shall comply with the decision of the secretary
6and advise the county agency to amend or expunge the information
7in their records so that the records are consistent at both the
8State and local levels.
9(c) Review of refusal of request.--If the secretary refuses
10the request under subsection (a)(2) or does not act within a
11reasonable time, but in no event later than 30 days after
12receipt of the request, the perpetrator or school employee shall
13have the right to a hearing before the secretary or a designated
14agent of the secretary to determine whether the summary of the
15indicated report in the Statewide central register should be
16amended or expunged on the grounds that it is inaccurate or that
17it is being maintained in a manner inconsistent with this
18chapter. The perpetrator or school employee shall have 45 days
19from the date of the letter giving notice of the decision to
20deny the request in which to request a hearing. The appropriate
21county agency and appropriate law enforcement officials shall be
22given notice of the hearing. The burden of proof in the hearing
23shall be on the appropriate county agency. The department shall
24assist the county agency as necessary.
25(d) Stay of proceedings.--Any administrative appeal
26proceeding pursuant to subsection (b) shall be automatically
27stayed upon notice to the department by either of the parties
28when there is a pending criminal proceeding or a dependency or
29delinquency proceeding pursuant to 42 Pa.C.S. Ch. 63 (relating
30to juvenile matters), including any appeal thereof, involving
1the same factual circumstances as the administrative appeal.
2(e) Order.--The secretary or designated agent may make any
3appropriate order respecting the amendment or expunction of such
4records to make them accurate or consistent with the
5requirements of this chapter.
6(f) Notice of expunction.--Written notice of an expunction
7of any child abuse record made pursuant to the provisions of
8this chapter shall be served upon the subject of the record who
9was responsible for the abuse or injury and the appropriate
10county agency. Except as provided in this subsection, the county
11agency, upon receipt of the notice, shall take appropriate,
12similar action in regard to the local child abuse and school
13employee records and inform, for the same purpose, the
14appropriate coroner if that officer has received reports
15pursuant to section 6367 (relating to reports to department and
16coroner). Whenever the county agency investigation reveals,
17within 60 days of receipt of the report of suspected child
18abuse, that the report is unfounded but that the subjects need
19services provided or arranged by the county agency, the county
20agency shall retain those records and shall specifically
21identify that the report was an unfounded report of suspected
22child abuse. An unfounded report regarding subjects who receive
23services shall be expunged no later than 120 days following the
24expiration of one year after the termination or completion of
25services provided or arranged by the county agency.]
30(a) Final determination.--
3(i) inform the department that:
13(b) Review of indicated reports.--A final determination that
14a report of suspected child abuse is indicated shall be made by
15the county agency solicitor and the county administrator or the
16designee of the administrator.
17(c) Failure to make determination.--
18(1) Subject to paragraph (2), a report of suspected
19child abuse shall be considered to be an unfounded report if
20within 60 days of the date of the initial report an
21investigation of the report by the county agency does not
22determine that the report is a founded report, indicated
23report or unfounded report.
24(2) If court action has been initiated but the court has
25not determined that the report is a founded report, and the
26lack of such a determination results in the county agency not
27being able to make its determination under paragraph (1), the
28report shall be identified in the Statewide database as
29pending and the status of the report shall be updated in the
30Statewide database following the court determination.
1(d) Notification of court action.--The county agency shall
2advise the department that court action or an arrest has been
3initiated so that the database is kept current regarding the
4status of all legal proceedings.
5(e) Notice of final determination.--Within 24 business hours
6of entering of the information into the Statewide central
7registry, the department shall send notice of the final
8determination to the subjects of the report, other than the
9abused child, and the mandated reporter if a report was made
10under section 6313 (relating to reporting procedure). For the
11purpose of this section, notice of the report shall be deemed
12received by the intended recipient if the report was mailed to
13the recipient's last known post office address and was not
14returned to the department as undeliverable by the postal
15service. The notice shall include in following information:
16(1) The status of the report.
23(5) The fact that the name of the perpetrator, the
24nature of the abuse and the final status of the report will
25be kept on file indefinitely if the Social Security number or
26date of birth is known.
30(7) The perpetrator's right to a fair hearing on the
1merits on an appeal of an indicated report.
5(f) Amendment by secretary.--At any time the secretary may
6amend any record under this chapter upon good cause shown and
7notice to the appropriate subjects of the report and the county
8agency having jurisdiction over the report.
9(g) Request by perpetrator.--Any person named as a
10perpetrator in an indicated report may request the secretary to
11amend the report on the grounds that it is inaccurate or is
12being maintained in a manner inconsistent with this chapter. The
13request shall be filed within 45 days of the date of the notice
14of the final determination that the report is indicated.
15(h) Review of refusal of request.--If the secretary refuses
16the request under subsection (f) or does not act within a
17reasonable time, but in no event later than 30 days after
18receipt of the request, the perpetrator shall have the right to
19a hearing before the secretary or a designated agent of the
20secretary to determine whether the summary of the indicated
21report in the Statewide central register should be amended or
22expunged on the grounds that it is inaccurate or that it is
23being maintained in a manner inconsistent with this chapter. The
24perpetrator shall have 45 days from the date of the letter
25giving notice of the decision to deny the request in which to
26request a hearing. The appropriate county agency and appropriate
27law enforcement officials shall be given notice of the hearing.
28The burden of proof in the hearing shall be on the appropriate
29county agency. The department shall assist the county agency as
1(i) Appeal.--Subject to the provisions of section 6341.2
2(relating to appeals of indicated reports), the perpetrator may
3appeal a denial of the request under subsection (g), and the
4county may appeal the granting of the request.
9§ 6341.2. Appeals of indicated reports.
10(a) Time to appeal.--Appeals made under section 6341.1(j)
11(relating to disposition of reports upon completion of
12investigation) must be received by the secretary within 45 days
13of the conclusion of the investigation determining that the
14report of suspected child abuse is an indicated report. Failure
15to timely file an appeal shall preclude any appeal of the
16indicated finding of child abuse.
17(b) Stay of proceedings.--An administrative appeal
18proceeding under this section shall be automatically stayed upon
19notice to the department by either of the parties when there is
20a pending criminal proceeding or a dependency or delinquency
21proceeding pursuant to 42 Pa.C.S. Ch. 63 (relating to juvenile
22matters), including any appeal thereof, involving the same
23factual circumstances as the administrative appeal.
2(3) Proceedings before the Bureau of Hearings and
3Appeals shall commence within 90 days of the date the
4scheduling order is entered. Proceedings and hearings shall
5be scheduled to be heard on consecutive days whenever
6possible, but if not on consecutive days, then the proceeding
7or hearing shall be concluded no later than 30 days from
12(5) Evidence that a child has suffered child abuse of
13such a nature as would ordinarily not be sustained or exist
14except by reason of the act or failure to act of the alleged
15perpetrator shall be prima facie evidence of child abuse by
16either or both of the parents or any other person responsible
17for the child's welfare. Once the investigative agency has
18established that prima facie evidence of child abuse exists,
19the burden shall shift to the appellee to establish that the
20appellee was not the individual responsible for the welfare
21of the child or that the child was not the victim of child
22abuse by a perpetrator.
23(d) Testimony by closed-circuit television when available.--
24At the request of the investigative agency, the administrative
25law judge or hearing officer shall order that the testimony of
26the child victim or child material witness be taken under oath
27or affirmation in a room other than the hearing room and
28televised by close-circuit equipment to be viewed by the
29tribunal. Only the attorneys for the appellant and appellee, the
30court reporter, the administrative law judge or hearing officer,
1persons necessary to operate the equipment and any person whose
2presence would contribute to the welfare and well-being of the
3child may be present in the room with the child during the
4child's testimony. The administrative law judge or hearing
5officer shall permit the appellee to observe and hear the
6testimony of the child but shall ensure that the child cannot
7hear or see the appellee. The administrative law judge or
8hearing officer shall make certain that the appellee has
9adequate opportunity to communicate with counsel for the
10purposes of providing an effective examination.
11(e) Admissibility of certain statements.--An out-of-court
12statement, including a video, audio or other recorded statement,
13not otherwise admissible by statute or rule of evidence is
14admissible in evidence in a proceeding under this section if the
1(3) The administrative law judge or hearing officer
2finds that the time, content and circumstances of the
3statement and the reliability of the person to whom the
4statement is made provide sufficient indicia of reliability.
5(4) The proponent of the statement notifies other
6parties of an intent to offer the statement and the
7particulars of the statement sufficiently in advance of the
8proceeding at which the proponent intends to offer the
9statement into evidence to provide the parties with a fair
10opportunity to meet the statement.
11(f) Prompt decision.--The administrative law judge or
12hearing officer's decision shall be entered, filed and served
13upon the parties within 15 days of the date upon which the
14proceeding or hearing is concluded unless, within that time, the
15tribunal extends the date for the decision by order entered of
16record showing good cause for the extension. In no event shall
17an extension delay the entry of the decision more than 45 days
18after the conclusion of the proceeding or hearing.
19(g) Reconsideration and appeal.--Parties to a proceeding or
20hearing held under this section have 15 calendar days from the
21mailing date of the final order of the Bureau of Hearings and
22Appeals to request the secretary to reconsider the decision or
23appeal to Commonwealth Court. Parties to a proceeding or hearing
24held under this section have 30 calendar days from the mailing
25date of the final order of the Bureau of Hearings and Appeals to
26perfect an appeal to the Commonwealth Court. The filing for
27reconsideration shall not toll the 30 days provided.
2(i) Notice of expunction.--Written notice of an expunction
3of any child abuse record made pursuant to the provisions of
4this chapter shall be served upon the subject of the record who
5was responsible for the abuse or injury and the appropriate
6county agency. Except as provided in this subsection, the county
7agency, upon receipt of the notice, shall take appropriate,
8similar action in regard to the local child abuse and school
9employee or child-care services employee records and inform, for
10the same purpose, the appropriate coroner if that officer has
11received reports pursuant to section 6367 (relating to reports
12to department and coroner). Whenever the county agency
13investigation reveals, within 60 days of receipt of the report
14of suspected child abuse, that the report is unfounded but that
15the subjects need services provided or arranged by the county
16agency, the county agency shall retain those records and shall
17specifically identify that the report was an unfounded report of
18suspected child abuse. An unfounded report regarding subjects
19who receive services shall be expunged no later than 120 days
20following the expiration of one year after the termination or
21completion of services provided or arranged by the county
23§ 6379. Immunity from liability.
24(a) General rule.--A person, hospital, institution, school,
25facility, agency or agency employee acting in good faith and
26without actual malice shall have immunity from civil and
27criminal liability that might otherwise result from any of the
9(4) Engaging in any action taken under section 6314
10(relating to photographs, medical tests and X-rays of child
11subject to report), 6315 (relating to taking child into
12protective custody), 6316 (relating to admission to private
13and public hospitals) or 6317 (relating to mandatory
14reporting and postmortem investigation of deaths).
15(b) Departmental and county agency immunity.--An official or
16employee of the department or county agency who refers a report
17of suspected child abuse <-or general protective services to law
18enforcement authorities or provides services under this chapter
19shall have immunity from civil and criminal liability that might
20otherwise result from the action.
21(c) Presumption of good faith.--For the purpose of any civil
22or criminal proceeding, the good faith of a person required to
23report pursuant to section 6311 (relating to persons required to
24report suspected child abuse) and of any person required to make
25a referral to law enforcement officers under this chapter shall
26be presumed unless actual malice is proven.
27(d) False reports.--Any person who intentionally makes a
28false report of suspected child abuse <-pursuant to 18 Pa.C.S. §
294906.1 (relating to false reports of child abuse) against a
<-30school, private residential rehabilitative institution,
1detention facility, <-person, school employee, private residential
2rehabilitative institution employee <-or, detention facility
3employee <-or child-care services employee commits a misdemeanor
4of the second degree.