Rep. Stephens Calls for Swift Action on Child Abuse Reporting Reforms
12/6/2013
HARRISBURG –State Rep. Todd Stephens (R-Montgomery), a former Montgomery County child abuse prosecutor, today called for swift action on bills to improve Pennsylvania’s child protection system. Specifically, Stephens applauded the Senate Aging and Youth Committee for unanimously reporting out House Bill 436, Stephens’ bill to increase penalties for those mandated to report suspected child abuse who fail to do so.

Stephens also called for action on Senate Bill 21, sponsored by Sen. Kim Ward (R-39), which includes Stephens’ language expanding and clarifying the list of those professions required to report suspected child abuse. Senate Bill 21 was passed unanimously by the House Children and Youth Committee last month and is scheduled for a vote by the full House next week.

“Today, we are another step closer to meeting one of our most important obligations – protecting Pennsylvania's children from abuse,” Stephens said. “Children suffering from abuse are often unable to speak for themselves. People in positions of trust, who work with and are responsible for caring for our children, must be their voice and speak out.”

The bills fulfill recommendations made a year ago by the Task Force on Child Protection, which was formed in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky scandal at Penn State University. However, the need for changes to the law were also exemplified in the arrest this summer of a Montgomery County camp counselor who was alerted to a sexual assault of one of the children under his care but failed to notify police.

Under the legislation, those required to report suspected child abuse include all school personnel, including those at colleges and universities; child care providers; religious leaders; physicians and other health care workers; social services workers; law enforcement officers; attorneys; librarians; emergency medical service providers; and employees and independent contractors of each of these entities.

“It is encouraging to see the House and Senate working together to advance a comprehensive package of bills designed to protect our children,” Stephens said. “With the details finalized, it’s time to move these bills to the governor’s desk to provide Pennsylvania’s children with the protections they deserve.”

Representative Todd Stephens
151st District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: Donna Pinkham
717.260.6452
RepToddStephens.com / Facebook.com/RepToddStephens
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