PRIOR PRINTER'S NOS. 689, 1389
PRINTER'S NO. 1429
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 CORMAN, APPROPRIATIONS, RE-REPORTED AS AMENDED, OCTOBER 1, 2013
1Amending Title 23 (Domestic Relations) of the Pennsylvania
2Consolidated Statutes, in child protective services, further
3providing for definitions; repealing provisions relating to
4immunity from liability; further providing for establishment
5of pending complaint file, Statewide central register and
6file of unfounded reports; repealing provisions relating to
7amendment or expunction of information; and providing for
8disposition of reports upon completion of assessment or<-
9investigation, <-for requests for reviews of indicated reports
10for requests for appeals of indicated reports and for
11immunity from liability.
16§ 6303. Definitions.
20* * *
21"Child-care services." As follows:
1(1) Includes any of the following:
2(i) Child day-care centers.
3(ii) Group day-care homes.
4(iii) Family day-care homes.
5(iv) Foster homes.
6(v) Adoptive parents.
7(vi) Boarding homes for children.
10(viii) Mental health services for children.
13(x) Early intervention services for children.
14(xi) Drug and alcohol services for children.
17(xiii) Other child-care services that are provided
18by or subject to approval, licensure, registration or
19certification by the Department of Public Welfare or a
20county social services agency or that are provided
21pursuant to a contract with the Department of Public
22Welfare or a county social services agency.
26* * *
30(1) Any school of a school district.
1(2) An area vocational-technical school.
2(3) A joint school.
3(4) An intermediate unit.
4(5) A charter school or regional charter school.
5(6) A cyber charter school.
11(9) A nonpublic school.
12(10) A community college which is an institution now or
13hereafter created pursuant to Article XIX-A of the act of
14March 10, 1949 (P.L.30, No.14), known as the Public School
15Code of 1949, or the former act of August 24, 1963 (P.L.1132,
16No.484), known as the Community College Act of 1963.
17(11) An independent institution of higher education
18which is an institution of higher education which is operated
19not for profit, located in and incorporated or chartered by
20the Commonwealth, entitled to confer degrees as set forth in
2124 Pa.C.S. § 6505 (relating to power to confer degrees) and
22entitled to apply to itself the designation "college" or
23"university" as provided for by standards and qualifications
24prescribed by the State Board of Education pursuant to 24
25Pa.C.S. Ch. 65 (relating to private colleges, universities
27(12) A State-owned university.
28(13) A State-related university.
2(15) The Hiram G. Andrews Center.
6* * *
7Section 2. Section 6318 of Title 23 is repealed:
8[§ 6318. Immunity from liability.
9(a) General rule.--A person, hospital, institution, school,
10facility, agency or agency employee that participates in good
11faith in the making of a report, whether required or not,
12cooperating with an investigation, including providing
13information to a child fatality or near fatality review team,
14testifying in a proceeding arising out of an instance of
15suspected child abuse, the taking of photographs or the removal
16or keeping of a child pursuant to section 6315 (relating to
17taking child into protective custody), and any official or
18employee of a county agency who refers a report of suspected
19abuse to law enforcement authorities or provides services under
20this chapter, shall have immunity from civil and criminal
21liability that might otherwise result by reason of those
23(b) Presumption of good faith.--For the purpose of any civil
24or criminal proceeding, the good faith of a person required to
25report pursuant to section 6311 (relating to persons required to
26report suspected child abuse) and of any person required to make
27a referral to law enforcement officers under this chapter shall
29Section 3. Section 6331(2) of Title 23 is amended to read:
30§ 6331. Establishment of pending complaint file, Statewide
1central register and file of unfounded reports.
2There shall be established in the department:
3* * *
12(ii) A subfile of the names of the persons who made
13an intentionally false report of suspected child abuse
14under 18 Pa.C.S. § 4906.1 (relating to false reports of
15child abuse), including the name of the subject child,
16which shall only be made available to law enforcement,
17the department or the county agency investigating new
18allegations of suspected child abuse at child-care
19services<-, facility or school to determine the existence
20of a pattern of false reports of suspected child abuse on
21behalf of any one person or subject child.
22* * *
23Section 4. Section 6341 of Title 23 is repealed:
24[§ 6341. Amendment or expunction of information.
25(a) General rule.--At any time:
1within 45 days of being notified of the status of the report,
2request the secretary to amend or expunge an indicated report
3on the grounds that it is inaccurate or it is being
4maintained in a manner inconsistent with this chapter.
5(b) Review of grant of request.--If the secretary grants the
6request under subsection (a)(2), the Statewide central register,
7appropriate county agency, appropriate law enforcement officials
8and all subjects shall be so advised of the decision. The county
9agency and any subject have 45 days in which to file an
10administrative appeal with the secretary. If an administrative
11appeal is received, the secretary or his designated agent shall
12schedule a hearing pursuant to Article IV of the act of June 13,
131967 (P.L.31, No.21), known as the Public Welfare Code, and
14attending departmental regulations. If no administrative appeal
15is received within the designated time period, the Statewide
16central register shall comply with the decision of the secretary
17and advise the county agency to amend or expunge the information
18in their records so that the records are consistent at both the
19State and local levels.
20(c) Review of refusal of request.--If the secretary refuses
21the request under subsection (a)(2) or does not act within a
22reasonable time, but in no event later than 30 days after
23receipt of the request, the perpetrator or school employee shall
24have the right to a hearing before the secretary or a designated
25agent of the secretary to determine whether the summary of the
26indicated report in the Statewide central register should be
27amended or expunged on the grounds that it is inaccurate or that
28it is being maintained in a manner inconsistent with this
29chapter. The perpetrator or school employee shall have 45 days
30from the date of the letter giving notice of the decision to
1deny the request in which to request a hearing. The appropriate
2county agency and appropriate law enforcement officials shall be
3given notice of the hearing. The burden of proof in the hearing
4shall be on the appropriate county agency. The department shall
5assist the county agency as necessary.
6(d) Stay of proceedings.--Any administrative appeal
7proceeding pursuant to subsection (b) shall be automatically
8stayed upon notice to the department by either of the parties
9when there is a pending criminal proceeding or a dependency or
10delinquency proceeding pursuant to 42 Pa.C.S. Ch. 63 (relating
11to juvenile matters), including any appeal thereof, involving
12the same factual circumstances as the administrative appeal.
13(e) Order.--The secretary or designated agent may make any
14appropriate order respecting the amendment or expunction of such
15records to make them accurate or consistent with the
16requirements of this chapter.
17(f) Notice of expunction.--Written notice of an expunction
18of any child abuse record made pursuant to the provisions of
19this chapter shall be served upon the subject of the record who
20was responsible for the abuse or injury and the appropriate
21county agency. Except as provided in this subsection, the county
22agency, upon receipt of the notice, shall take appropriate,
23similar action in regard to the local child abuse and school
24employee records and inform, for the same purpose, the
25appropriate coroner if that officer has received reports
26pursuant to section 6367 (relating to reports to department and
27coroner). Whenever the county agency investigation reveals,
28within 60 days of receipt of the report of suspected child
29abuse, that the report is unfounded but that the subjects need
30services provided or arranged by the county agency, the county
1agency shall retain those records and shall specifically
2identify that the report was an unfounded report of suspected
3child abuse. An unfounded report regarding subjects who receive
4services shall be expunged no later than 120 days following the
5expiration of one year after the termination or completion of
6services provided or arranged by the county agency.]
7Section 5. Title 23 is amended by adding sections to read:
10(a) Final determination.--
13(i) inform the department that:
23(b) Review of indicated reports.--A final determination that
24a report of suspected child abuse is indicated shall be made<- by
25the county agency solicitor and the county administrator or the
26designee of the administrator.:<-
30(2) if the department is the investigating agency, by
3(c) Failure to make determination.--
4(1) Subject to paragraph (2), a report of suspected
5child abuse shall be considered to be an unfounded report if
6within 60 days of the date of the initial report an
7investigation of the report by the county agency does not
8determine that the report is a founded report, indicated
9report or unfounded report.
10(2) If court action has been initiated but the court has
11not determined that the report is a founded report, and the
12lack of such a determination results in the county agency not
13being able to make its determination under paragraph (1), the
14report shall be identified in the Statewide database as
15pending and the status of the report shall be updated in the
16Statewide database following the court determination.
17(d) Notification of court action.--The county agency shall
18advise the department that court action or an arrest has been
19initiated so that the database is kept current regarding the
20status of all legal proceedings.
21(e) Notice of final determination.--Within 24 business hours
22of entering of the information into the Statewide central
23registry, the department shall send notice of the final
24determination to the subjects of the report, other than the
25abused child, and the mandated reporter if a report was made
26under section 6313 (relating to reporting procedure). For the
27purpose of this section, notice of the report shall be deemed
28received by the intended recipient if the report was mailed to
29the recipient's last known post office address and was not
30returned to the department as undeliverable by the postal
1service. The notice shall include in following information:
2(1) The status of the report.
9(5) The fact that the name of the perpetrator, the
10nature of the abuse and the final status of the report will
11be kept on file indefinitely if the Social Security number or
12date of birth is known.
<-21§ 6341.2. Requests for reviews of indicated reports.
22(a) Request by perpetrator.--A person named as a perpetrator
23in an indicated report may request the secretary to amend the
24report on the grounds that it is inaccurate or is being
25maintained in a manner inconsistent with this chapter. The
26request must be filed within 45 days of the date of the notice
27of the final determination that the report is indicated.
1county agency having jurisdiction over the report.
<-2(g) Request by perpetrator.--Any person named as a
3perpetrator in an indicated report may request the secretary to
4amend the report on the grounds that it is inaccurate or is
5being maintained in a manner inconsistent with this chapter. The
6request shall be filed within 45 days of the date of the notice
7of the final determination that the report is indicated.
8(h) <-(c) Review of refusal of request.--If the secretary
9refuses the request under subsection (f) <-(a) or does not act
10within a reasonable time, but in no event later than 30 days
11after receipt of the request, the perpetrator shall have the
12right to a hearing before the secretary or a designated agent of
13the secretary to determine whether the summary of the indicated
14report in the Statewide central register should be amended or
15expunged on the grounds that it is inaccurate or that it is
16being maintained in a manner inconsistent with this chapter. The
17perpetrator shall have 45 days from the date of the letter
18giving notice of the decision to deny the request in which to
19request a hearing. The appropriate county agency and appropriate
20law enforcement officials shall be given notice of the hearing.
21The burden of proof in the hearing shall be on the appropriate
22county agency. The department shall assist the county agency as
24(i) (d) Appeal.--Subject to the provisions of section 6341.2<-
256341.3 (relating to <-requests for appeals of indicated reports),
26the perpetrator may appeal a denial of the request under
27subsection (g) <-(c), and the county may appeal the granting of
3§ 6341.2. Appeals of indicated reports.<-
<-4§ 6341.3. Requests for appeals of indicated reports.
5(a) Request by perpetrator.--A person named as a perpetrator
6in an indicated report may request a hearing to appeal the
7determination. The request must be filed within 45 days of the
8date of the notice of the final determination that the report is
<-10(a) (b) Time to appeal.--Appeals made under section
<-116341.1(j) (relating to disposition of reports upon completion of
12investigation) <-6341.2 (relating to requests FOR reviews of
13indicated reports) must be received by the secretary within 45
14days of the conclusion of the investigation determining that the
15report of suspected child abuse is an indicated report. Failure
16to timely file an appeal shall preclude any appeal of the
17indicated finding of child abuse.
<-18(b) <-(c) Stay of proceedings.--An administrative appeal
19proceeding under this section shall be automatically stayed upon
20notice to the department by either of the parties when there is
21a pending criminal proceeding or a dependency or delinquency
22proceeding pursuant to 42 Pa.C.S. Ch. 63 (relating to juvenile
23matters), including any appeal thereof, involving the same
24factual circumstances as the administrative appeal.
30(2) The department shall make reasonable efforts to
3(3) Proceedings before the Bureau of Hearings and
4Appeals shall commence within 90 days of the date the
5scheduling order is entered. Proceedings and hearings shall
6be scheduled to be heard on consecutive days whenever
7possible, but if not on consecutive days, then the proceeding
8or hearing shall be concluded no later than 30 days from
13(5) Evidence that a child has suffered child abuse of
14such a nature as would ordinarily not be sustained or exist
15except by reason of the act or failure to act of the alleged
16perpetrator shall be prima facie evidence of child abuse by
17either or both of the parents or any other person responsible
18for the child's welfare. Once the investigative agency has
19established that prima facie evidence of child abuse exists,
20the burden shall shift to the appellee to establish that the
21appellee was not the individual responsible for the welfare
22of the child or that the child was not the victim of child
23abuse by a perpetrator.
<-24(d) (e) Testimony by closed-circuit television when
25available.--At the request of the investigative agency, the
26administrative law judge or hearing officer shall order that the
27testimony of the child victim or child material witness be taken
28under oath or affirmation in a room other than the hearing room
29and televised by close-circuit equipment to be viewed by the
30tribunal. Only the attorneys for the appellant and appellee, the
1court reporter, the administrative law judge or hearing officer,
2persons necessary to operate the equipment and any person whose
3presence would contribute to the welfare and well-being of the
4child may be present in the room with the child during the
5child's testimony. The administrative law judge or hearing
6officer shall permit the appellee to observe and hear the
7testimony of the child but shall ensure that the child cannot
8hear or see the appellee. The administrative law judge or
9hearing officer shall make certain that the appellee has
10adequate opportunity to communicate with counsel for the
11purposes of providing an effective examination.
12(e) <-(f) Admissibility of certain statements.--An out-of-
13court statement, including a video, audio or other recorded
14statement, not otherwise admissible by statute or rule of
15evidence is admissible in evidence in a proceeding under this
16section if the following apply:
1making the statement.
2(3) The administrative law judge or hearing officer
3finds that the time, content and circumstances of the
4statement and the reliability of the person to whom the
5statement is made provide sufficient indicia of reliability.
6(4) The proponent of the statement notifies other
7parties of an intent to offer the statement and the
8particulars of the statement sufficiently in advance of the
9proceeding at which the proponent intends to offer the
10statement into evidence to provide the parties with a fair
11opportunity to meet the statement.
<-12(f) <-(g) Prompt decision.--The administrative law judge or
13hearing officer's decision shall be entered, filed and served
14upon the parties within 15 days of the date upon which the
15proceeding or hearing is concluded unless, within that time, the
16tribunal extends the date for the decision by order entered of
17record showing good cause for the extension. In no event shall
18an extension delay the entry of the decision more than 45 days
19after the conclusion of the proceeding or hearing.
20(g) <-(h) Reconsideration and appeal.--Parties to a proceeding
21or hearing held under this section have 15 calendar days from
22the mailing date of the final order of the Bureau of Hearings
23and Appeals to request the secretary to reconsider the decision
24or appeal to Commonwealth Court. Parties to a proceeding or
25hearing held under this section have 30 calendar days from the
26mailing date of the final order of the Bureau of Hearings and
27Appeals to perfect an appeal to the Commonwealth Court. The
28filing for reconsideration shall not toll the 30 days provided.
3(i) <-(j) Notice of expunction.--Written notice of an
4expunction of any child abuse record made pursuant to the
5provisions of this chapter shall be served upon the subject of
6the record who was responsible for the abuse or injury and the
7appropriate county agency. Except as provided in this
8subsection, the county agency, upon receipt of the notice, shall
9take appropriate, similar action in regard to the local child
10abuse and school employee or child-care services employee
11records and inform, for the same purpose, the appropriate
12coroner if that officer has received reports pursuant to section
136367 (relating to reports to department and coroner). Whenever
14the county agency investigation reveals, within 60 days of
15receipt of the report of suspected child abuse, that the report
16is unfounded but that the subjects need services provided or
17arranged by the county agency, the county agency shall retain
18those records and shall specifically identify that the report
19was an unfounded report of suspected child abuse. An unfounded
20report regarding subjects who receive services shall be expunged
21no later than 120 days following the expiration of one year
22after the termination or completion of services provided or
23arranged by the county agency.
24§ 6379. Immunity from liability.
25(a) General rule.--A person, hospital, institution, school,
26facility, agency or agency employee acting in good faith and
27without actual malice shall have immunity from civil and
28criminal liability that might otherwise result from any of the
30(1) Making a report of suspected child abuse or making a
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
30person, school employee, private residential rehabilitative
3Section 6. This act shall take effect January 1, 2014.