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PA child protection measures

October 2, 2013

HARRISBURG, PA — The Senate Aging and Youth Committee, chaired by Sen. Bob Mensch, approved a series of bills to provide sweeping improvements to Pennsylvania’s child protection laws last week.

“Pennsylvania’s child protection laws are long overdue for review and update. We’ve learned from the work of the Pennsylvania Task Force on Child Protection and from hearing testimony what needs to be done, and today is an important step in this critical process,” said Mensch.

Among the bills approved was Senate Bill 20, which updates the definition of “child abuse” and provides exclusions. “Before we can punish child abusers and help the victims, we must know what child abuse is,” Sen. LeAnna Washington said. “Senate Bill 20 provides a clear, commonsense guide to what is and is not child abuse, while still allowing parents to parent. As Democratic Chair of the Senate Aging and Youth Committee—and a survivor of child abuse—I could not be more proud to put my name on this important legislation and to be a part of this effort to save so many children from harm.”

Senate Bill 21 was also approved, which clarifies who is a “mandatory reporter” of child abuse. Sen. Kim Ward said, “In the past there were instances where child abuse was overlooked or not reported to the authorities because the old law was confusing.”