– In her ongoing efforts to help protect the Commonwealth’s children, Rep. Kathy Watson (R-Bucks/144th) will continue to lead the House Children and Youth Committee for the 2015-16 legislative session, after an appointment by Speaker-Designate of the House Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny).
“During the last session, the House Children and Youth Committee worked to advance more than 20 new laws to help protect children from the horrors of sexual or physical abuse,” Watson said. “However, there is still more that we must do. We recognize that child abuse laws need to adapt and will constantly be reviewing and reassessing how we are combatting child abuse. I am honored to be continuing in this role and working with my colleagues and our child welfare advocates in making our state a safer place for our future generations.”
The new laws were part of a comprehensive legislative package, based on recommendations from the Task Force on Child Protection, to make abusers pay the price, improve child abuse reporting and investigations, expand due process protections for those wrongly accused, share information to increase protection and strengthen prevention efforts.
In addition to child protection and child welfare issues, the House Children and Youth Committee addresses issues related to child day care services, infant/child/mother health issues, juvenile delinquency, adolescent and teen problems, and adoption and foster care.
Last session, the committee took steps to allow Pennsylvania adult adoptees access to their original birth certificate; to require county social service agencies or their contracted providers to conduct ongoing efforts to locate relatives of children who have been removed from their homes and/or are accepted for services by the county Children and Youth agency; and to require insurance coverage of special nutritional formula for babies and toddlers with various digestive disorders.
“While the family-finding and formula bills both became law, the adoption bill languished in the Senate,” Watson said. “I envision our committee revisiting the issue and many others in the new session, while also looking to enact further reforms of our state’s adoption laws.”
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Representative Kathy Watson
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Jennifer Keaton