—Gov. Tom Wolf has signed into law legislation sponsored by Rep. Todd Stephens (R-Montgomery) to improve communications among agencies charged with investigating child abuse.
Act 42 of 2021
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.
“Law enforcement agencies had been blocked 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. “Collaboration is critically important to protecting our children. This change will allow our child protection agencies to share information to better protect our kids and prevent child abuse survivors from being forced to relive their trauma through repetitive interviews.”
Stephens, a former child abuse prosecutor with the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office was made aware of this issue by Mission Kids of Montgomery County and the Montgomery County District Attorney’s office.
Act 42 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 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.