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Corbett Signs Child Protective Services Bills
December 18, 2013

Governor Tom Corbett signed into law 10 bills intended to bring improvement to the state’s child protection laws during a signing event at The Pennsylvania Child Resource Center, Mechanicsburg. Corbett signed Senate Bills 23, 28, 30, 34, and 1116 and House Bills 726, 321, 414, 1201, and 1594.
The new laws follow the recommendations from a November 2012 report by the Pennsylvania Task Force on Child Protection, established through joint resolutions sponsored by Sen. Kim Ward (R-Westmoreland) and Rep. Ron Marsico (R-Dauphin).

The bills will:

  • Amend the definition of child abuse to lower the threshold from serious bodily injury to bodily injury and include knowingly, recklessly, or intentionally committing acts of child abuse or failing to act when child abuse is being committed. The bill also provides exclusions from substantiation of child abuse. (HB 726)
  • Broaden the definition of perpetrator to include employees or volunteers that have regular contact, school teachers and employees, and individuals related to the child. (SB 23)
  • Recognize that perpetrators can be as young as 18 and create new protections that address false reports and intimidation. (SB 28)
  • Provide immunity for reporters from liability, penalties for false reporting, and improved appeals processes. (SB 30)
  • Expand the basis for disciplinary action against teachers to include findings of child abuse. (SB 34)
  • Clarify and encourage joint child abuse investigations between county children and youth agencies and law enforcement. (SB 1116)
  • Instruct the Pennsylvania Commission on Sentencing to provide guidelines for offenses involving child pornography. (HB 321)
  • Declare that when awarding custody, a parent’s involvement with cases of child abuse shall be considered and provide for information sharing on child protective services and general protective services to the jurisdiction determining custody. (HB 414)
  • Prevent the records and name of minor victims of sexual or physical abuse from being available for public review. (HB 1201)
  • Establish the offense of luring a child into a motor vehicle or structure. (HB 1594)

In passing the first pieces of a comprehensive legislative package to protect Pennsylvania’s children Corbett said, “The legislation I’m signing today will better equip our communities to protect children and enhance the safety and security of the commonwealth’s children.”

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