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Work Continues on New Child Protective Services Laws
April 8, 2014

On April 7, Governor Corbett signed several bills that bring the child protective services laws (CPSL) to 14 new statutes. The same day, the Office of Children, Youth and Families (OCYF) convened members of the Child Protective Services Law Implementation Workgroup to discuss and refine elements of these new laws. Products from this work group include key documents: Child Protection Legislative Amendments, Definitions Only and Child Abuse and Perpetrator Want’s New? Members are encouraged to review these documents and send comments and questions to Connell O’Brien who is representing RCPA on the work group.

During the March RCPA Children’s Committee meeting members raised questions, concerns, and the need for clarification and training for child behavioral health providers in their role as mandated reporters. New language in the law is intended to reflect the recognition that protection from mental and emotional abuse and neglect are important and historically under-reported. The focus of these questions relate to the following changes to the CPSL:
Child abuse.--The term "child abuse" shall mean intentionally, knowingly or recklessly doing any of the following: (3) Causing or substantially contributing to serious mental injury to a child through any act or failure to act or a series of such acts or failures to act. [An act or a series of acts over a course of time that contribute to, not necessarily directly cause a child to be fearful, agitated, depressed, anxious, etc.]

RCPA will continue work with OCYF and the work group to clarify the threshold for reporting suspected child abuse under the new language and how to manage the professional relationship with the child and family when fulfilling the obligation to report suspected abuse under the law.  

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