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PENNSYLVANIA'S NEW CHILD PROTECTIVE SERVICES LAW: AN OVERVIEW PENNSYLVANIA PARTNERSHIPS FOR CHILDREN Todd Lloyd, MSW, Child Welfare Policy Director.

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Presentation on theme: "PENNSYLVANIA'S NEW CHILD PROTECTIVE SERVICES LAW: AN OVERVIEW PENNSYLVANIA PARTNERSHIPS FOR CHILDREN Todd Lloyd, MSW, Child Welfare Policy Director."— Presentation transcript:

1 PENNSYLVANIA'S NEW CHILD PROTECTIVE SERVICES LAW: AN OVERVIEW PENNSYLVANIA PARTNERSHIPS FOR CHILDREN Todd Lloyd, MSW, Child Welfare Policy Director

2 Presentation Objectives  Provide context for recent child protection reforms through data highlights;  Provide overview of statutory changes to the Child Protective Services Law with emphasis and discussion on the laws impact on home visitation; and,  Highlight the need for reauthorization of MIECHV to expand the use of home visitation in Pennsylvania.

3 What does the data tell us related to child protection? Major Statewide Data Trends: Rates of child abuse reporting and substantiation have declined, but rates of reporting are beginning to rise More children received child protective services in their homes (versus foster care) – 11 percent increase Fewer children were served in foster care – 26 percent drop Progress in finding permanent families for children in foster care – particularly through adoption

4 Reports and Substantiations Overall decreased rate of reporting and substantiation PA historically lowest rate of substantiation in the country

5 Children Served in Their Homes Increase in numbers of children served in their homes

6 Children Served in Foster Care Fewer children are being served in foster care

7 Benefit of CPSL Changes Strengthens our ability to better protect children from abuse and neglect by amending the definitions of child abuse and perpetrator; Streamlines and clarifies mandatory child abuse reporting processes; Increases penalties for failure to report suspected child abuse and protect persons who report child abuse;

8 Benefit of CPSL Changes Promotes the use of multi-disciplinary investigative teams (MDITs) and Child Advocacy Centers (CACs) to investigate child abuse; and Supports the use of information technology to increase efficiency and tracking of child abuse data.

9 ACTBILLFOCUSEffective Date 105HB 321Sentencing for child pornography1/1/14 107HB 414Abuse findings in custody decisions 1/1/ Definition of child abuse and neglect12/31/14 109HB 1201Child victim witness 2/16/14 116HB 1594Luring a child2/16/14 Child Protection Legislation - Overview

10 ACTBILLFOCUSEffective Date 117SB 23Expansion of perpetrator definition12/31/14 118SB 28Enhanced penalties and new offenses1/1/14 119SB 30Child abuse appeals7/1/14 120SB 34Professional Educator Discipline Act2/16/14 123SB 1116Multidisciplinary Investigative Teams3/13/14 Child Protection Legislation - Overview

11 ACTBILLFOCUSEffective Date 4SB 29Mandatory reporting of infants4/22/14 31HB 431Mandatory reporter training12/31/14 32HB 436Penalties for failure to report6/13/14 33SB 21Mandatory reporting12/31/14 34SB 33Whistleblower employment protections12/31/14 Child Protection Legislation - Overview

12 ACTBILLFOCUSEffective Date 29SB 24Creation of statewide database12/31/14 28HB 316Ongoing CAC and training funding7/1/14 27HB 89Grants to CACs6/5/14 Child Protection Legislation - Overview

13 ACTBILLFOCUSEffective Date Act 44/ 45 SB 31 & HB 434 Repeal of Student Abuse12/31/14 HB 435Clearances and Employment BansPending SB 27Info Sharing with Medical ProfessionalsPending Child Protection Legislation - Overview

14 Definitions - Perpetrator  Broadens the definition of perpetrator and  clarifies acts of abuse versus failures to act: Acts of Abuse: Maintains parents of any age; Includes a spouse, paramour, or former spouse or former paramour of the child’s parent; Maintains a person 14 years of age or older who is responsible for the child’s welfare;

15 Definitions - Perpetrator School employees and independent contractors are now included as persons responsible for a child’s welfare; that this term includes any person who has direct or regular contact with a child through any program, activity or service sponsored by a school, for-profit or religious or other not-for-profit organization such as: Camps; Athletic programs; Enrichment programs; or Troops, clubs or similar organizations.

16 Definitions - Perpetrator Specifies that an individual residing in the same home as the child must be 14 years of age or older to be considered a perpetrator which is consistent with persons responsible for a child; and Includes an individual 18 years of age or older who does not reside in the same home as the child and is related within the third degree of blood, marriage or adoption to the child.

17 Definitions – Failure to Act Maintains parents of any age; Includes a spouse, paramour, or former spouse or former paramour of the child’s parent; Raises the age from 14 to 18 as it relates to: Persons responsible for the child’s welfare; and Persons residing in the same home as the child. This ensures that siblings and other minors who could be perpetrators of abuse by commission are not considered perpetrators for failure to act so that they are not held responsible for the actions of adults.

18 Definitions – Child Abuse  The definition of child abuse has been amended to require that acts or failures to act be committed intentionally, knowingly or recklessly.  - A person acts knowingly when they are aware that their conduct is of that nature or that such circumstances exist and they are aware that it is practically certain that their conduct will cause such a result.  - A person acts recklessly when they consciously disregard a substantial and justifiable risk that the material element exists or will result from their conduct. The risk must be of such a nature and degree that, considering the nature and intent of the conduct and the circumstances known to them, its disregard involves a gross deviation from the standard of conduct that a reasonable person would observe in the situation.  - A person acts intentionally when they consciously engage in conduct of that nature or cause such a result and are aware of such circumstances or believe or hope that they exist.

19 Definitions – Child Abuse Serious physical neglect was expanded to include egregious behavior which would include situations when the behavior might have only occurred one time. Previously there had to be prolonged or repeated behavior. The definition of sexual abuse is unchanged with the exception that consensual activities between two children, ages are excluded as sexual abuse unless any of the following, which involve the use of force or coercion: Rape; Statutory sexual assault; Involuntary deviate sexual intercourse; Sexual assault; Etc.

20 Definitions – Child Abuse  Child abuse has been redefined to: Lower the threshold from serious physical injury to bodily injury which requires impairment of a physical condition or substantial pain rather than severe pain or lasting impairment. Include behaviors that result in exposing children to potentially harmful medical evaluations or treatment such as fabricating, feigning or inducing a medical symptom or disease (Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy). Lower the threshold for serious mental injury to include causing or substantially contributing to the injury through any act or failure to act or series of such acts or failures to act.

21 Definitions – Child Abuse Clarifies the former category of imminent risk to include: Kicking, biting, throwing, burning, stabbing or cutting a child in a manner that endangers the child; Unreasonably restraining or confining a child based on the method, location or duration; Forcefully shaking, slapping or otherwise striking a child under one year of age; Interfering with the breathing of a child; Causing the child to be present at a methamphetamine lab, provided there is a law enforcement investigation occurring;

22 Definitions – Child Abuse Knowingly leaving a child unsupervised with an individual, other than the child’s parent, who is required to register as a sexual offender, sexually violent predator or sexually violent delinquent. This also includes individuals whom the parent reasonably should have known was required to register in one of the categories above. Causing the death of a child through any act or failure to act regardless of when it occurred.

23 Definitions – Founded and Indicated  Founded reports: Clarifies the judicial adjudications under which a report of suspected child abuse can be founded, while also adding additional grounds upon which a report can be founded when it involves the same factual circumstances involved in the allegation of child abuse  Indicated reports: Allows for a report of suspected child abuse to be indicated: Regardless of the number of perpetrators; or In situations when the perpetrator is unknown as long as substantial evidence of abuse exists, but the specific perpetrator cannot be identified.

24 Definitions – Child Abuse Exclusions  Categories of exclusions include: Environmental factors, e.g. lack of housing Religious Supervision, control and safety Physical discipline Participation in sports Certain child-on-child injuries, e.g. schoolyard scuffle Self-defense

25 Statewide Database  Mandates the establishment of a statewide database of protective services Collection, dissemination and maintenance of both child and general protective service reports Collection of information on false reports of child abuse Expedited sharing of information between authorities through use of technology

26 Mandatory Reporting Identifies some additional mandatory reporters and provides greater clarity on who is required to report: Requires those who come into “direct contact with children” and those involved with children in a “program activity or service”. Defines health care provider to include a licensed hospital or health care facility or person who is licensed, certified or otherwise regulated to provide health care services. Attorneys working in child serving institutions Employees and independent contractors of those required to report Requires direct reporting and chain of command Requires reporting of drug exposed infants, including fetal alcohol syndrome

27 Mandatory Reporting - Training Increased funding for training mandatory reporters on how to identify signs and make reports of child abuse. Training requirements for mandated reporters who are professionals overseen and/or licensed by the PA Department of State, and certain child care providers and caregivers overseen and/or licensed by the PA Department of Public Welfare. Training will be made available via web on November 14 th. Go to the Pennsylvania Child Welfare Resource Center website for further information.

28 Mandatory Reporting Increases Penalties for failure to report and false reporting Retaliation: Harming another person by an unlawful act or engaging in a course of conduct or repeatedly committing acts which threaten another person in anything that person has lawfully done as a reporter, witness or victim. Obstruction: Intentionally preventing a public servant from investigating or prosecuting a report of child abuse. Provides whistleblower employment protections for those who report child abuse

29 Educator Discipline Act Amended § 9.1 (relating to mandatory reporting) by requiring the chief school administrator or his designee to file with the Department of Education the following regarding any educator who: Is the subject of a report of suspected child abuse filed by the school entity under the CPSL; and The school entity knows the educator has been named as the perpetrator of an indicated or founded report of child abuse or student abuse. Allows this information to be included in the basis for disciplinary action against an educator.

30 Child Abuse Investigations Require the approval of the county agency administrator or their designee and review by the county agency solicitor prior to a report of suspected child abuse being indicated. Establish a three day time frame for the Department to send notice of the final determination to the subjects of the report, excluding the child. Establish a requirement for the Department, within three business days of the receipt of the results of the investigation, to notify mandated reporters of the status determination and the services planned or provided to protect the child. Clarifies the difference between the required multidisciplinary review team and the multidisciplinary investigative team.

31 Child Advocacy Centers  New funding to establish and maintain Child Advocacy Centers Repurposed Drug Abuse Resistance Education funds for grants to centers Ongoing funds generated from fees associated with duplicating birth certificates when lost New line item in the state budget

32 Appeals of Child Abuse Continues and clarifies process of appeals review by the DPW Secretary and the administrative hearing process Emphasizes that persons shall have a right to a timely hearing and determination process Establishes a substantial standard of evidence for appeals consistent with the standard used to substantiate cases of child abuse

33 Expunction of Reports: Minors  Requires expunction from the Statewide Database of the name of a perpetrator in an indicated report of child abuse who was under the age of 18 when they committed the child abuse: When the individual reaches the age of 21; or Five years has elapsed since their name was added to the data base, whichever is later, if the individual has not been named as the perpetrator in any subsequent indicated report of child abuse, abuse didn’t involve a weapon, had not been convicted of certain criminal or sexual offenses, etc.

34 Child Custody Determinations  In respect to child abuse courts may consider: Whether the child is the subject of an indicated or founded report of child abuse; Whether a party or a member of the party’s household has been identified as the perpetrator in an indicated or founded report of child abuse; The date and circumstances of the child abuse; and The jurisdiction where the child abuse took place.

35 Child Custody Determinations  In respect to child protective services or general protective services courts may consider: Whether a party or a member of the party’s household was provided services; The type of services provided; The circumstances surrounding the provision of services; The status of services; The date services were provided; and The jurisdiction where services were provided.

36 Repeal of “Student Abuse” School employees will be held to the same standard as other child caregivers Reports of child abuse will now go directly to child welfare agencies in addition to law enforcement

37 Perpetrators Registered on State Child Abuse Registry Pennsylvania Child Abuse Investigation Process Child Protective Service (CPS) Investigation (Child Abuse - Perpetrator) Child Abuse and Neglect Reports to ChildLine or County Agency (Includes Reports of School Employees) General Protective Service (GPS) Assessment (Neglect) Screening Decision Law Enforcement Only Investigation (Non-Perpetrator) County Children and Youth Investigation State Crime & Sexual Offender Registries Unfounded Report Indicated Abuse Appeals could be made within 45 days of substantiation Joint County Children and Youth and Law Enforcement Investigation – Multidisciplinary Investigative Team (Reports possibly involve crimes) Possible Criminal Charges Criminal Conviction Founded Abuse (Court Finding) County Children and Youth Administrator & County Solicitor Approval

38 Crimes Code Offenses  Amended § 2701 (relating to simple assault) to enhance the criminal penalties for simple assault as a misdemeanor of the first degree when the act is committed against a child under 12 years of age by a person 18 years of age or older, lowered from an adult 21 years of age or older.  Amended § 2702 (relating to aggravated assault) to add additional categories including:  A felony of the second degree when a person 18 years of age or older attempts to cause or knowingly, intentionally or recklessly causes bodily injury to a child less than 6 years of age; or  A felony of the first degree when a person 18 years of age or older attempts to cause or knowingly, intentionally or recklessly causes serious bodily injury to a child less than 13 years of age.

39 Home Visiting and Child Welfare  Home visitation can provide primary, secondary and tertiary prevention of child abuse  Child welfare system identifies many families who could benefit from home visitation services – opportunities for collaboration  Both systems working to improve similar outcomes – child safety and well-being, family strengthening, improved parenting, better economic opportunity, etc.

40 Federal Support for Home Visitation  The Federal Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program will expire in March  In MIECHV enabled PA to serve nearly 2,400 additional children with an evidence-based home visiting model: EHS, HFA, NFP, PAT.  For information on opportunities to support MIECHV reauthorization join PPC’s e-advocacy network:


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