Legislation clarifies mandated reporting requirements
HARRISBURG – In order to improve the state’s Child Protective Services Law, Rep. Todd Stephens (R-Montgomery) authored legislation approved by the House of Representatives that further clarifies mandated reporting requirements.
“Several years ago, following the recommendations of the Child Protection Task Force, the Legislature dramatically improved our child protection statutes in Pennsylvania,” said Stephens. “Among those improvements were changes regarding who must report suspected child abuse and under what circumstances. However, we have since recognized a loophole in the reporting provisions that my legislation corrects.”
Under current state law, mandated reporters are legally required to report when they have reasonable cause to suspect child abuse under any of the following circumstances:
• The mandated reporter comes into contact with the child through their work or volunteer service.
• The mandated reporter or the organization he/she is 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.
House Bill 1527
clears up any confusion as to whether the reporting requirement applies to whether or not the mandated reporter personally witnesses an abusive act. The legislation clearly states 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 that mandated reporters who are reporting child abuse they have personally witnessed is paramount among the responsibilities that come with being a mandated reporter,” said Stephens. “The protection of our children is one of our top priorities, and this legislation will help improve child protection laws we already have on the books.”
Stephens’ legislation has the support of the Department of Human Services, the Pennsylvania Family Support Alliance, the Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association and the Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children.
House Bill 1527 now goes to the Senate for consideration.
Representative Todd Stephens
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: David Foster