Stephens Joins House in Passing Child Protection Bills
6/20/2013

HARRISBURG -- Rep. Todd Stephens (R-Montgomery) joined a majority of the House in passing three bills to implement the recommendations of the Task Force on Child Protection empaneled following the issues at Penn State University.

“We all have an obligation to protect Pennsylvania’s children,” Stephens said.  “But those in positions of trust or who are responsible for caring for our children must be vigilant in reporting suspected child abuse.”

Of the three bills, House Bill 430 requires the Department of Public Welfare (DPW) to establish procedures for the secure and confidential use of advanced communication technologies (Internet, email, etc.) for filing reports of suspected child abuse and other required records.  The bill requires DPW to implement advanced communication technologies within three years.

“This will make reporting much easier and speed up response times,” Stephens said.

Under House Bill 433, a child abuse investigation must include interviews with all the subjects of the report, including the alleged perpetrator. If a subject cannot be interviewed, reasonable efforts to interview the subject and the reasons for the inability to do so must be documented. An indicated report of child abuse must be approved by the county children and youth administrator, or a designee, and the agency’s solicitor.

House Bill 434 broadens the definition of school employee to include any individual who is employed by a school or who provides a program, activity or service sponsored by a school.  The bill also defines “schools” to include every public, nonpublic, private and parochial school, as well as colleges and universities.

“This bill is needed to ensure that all school employees are held to the same standard for the purpose of reporting suspected child abuse,” Stephens said.  “It also requires that the standard for substantiating the abuse, the reporting procedures, and the investigative response is the same as it is elsewhere if any school employee suspects a co-worker is abusing a student.”

The bills now move to the Senate.

Representative Todd Stephens
151st District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: David Foster
267.207.0207
dfoster@pahousegop.com
RepToddStephens.com / Facebook.com/RepToddStephens
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