Legislation sponsored by Rep. Todd Stephens (R-Montgomery) to improve communications among agencies charged with investigating child abuse has been sent to the governor for his signature.
House Bill 954
allows law enforcement agencies to share information relevant to an allegation or instance of abuse with entities required by the Child Protective Services Law (CPSL) to investigate such abuse.
“As the law stands today, law enforcement agencies are prohibited by the Criminal History Record Information Act from sharing investigative or criminal record history information with our county children and youth agencies that are responsible for investigating child abuse,” Stephens said. “This forces children to give unnecessary and repetitious interviews, which forces them to relive their trauma multiple times. It also blocks the collaboration that is necessary to protect our kids.”
This flaw in the law was brought Stephens’ attention by Mission Kids of Montgomery County and the Montgomery County District Attorney’s office.
House Bill 954 amends the Criminal History Record Information Act to allow a law enforcement agency to share information related to an allegation or instance of child abuse with a Children and Youth Services (CYS) agency, Multidisciplinary Team or child fatality or other review team authorized under the CPSL to investigate the allegation or instance of abuse.
In addition, the bill allows Children's Advocacy Centers to access investigative information to support the CYS agencies throughout the investigation of an allegation or instance of abuse.
“I want to thank my colleagues in the House and Senate for passing this so quickly, and I want to thank the people of Mission Kids and the Montgomery County DA’s office for their help in correcting this flaw in our child protection system,” Stephens said.
Representative Todd Stephens
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: David Foster