Prevent Child Abuse in Pennsylvania
What is child abuse and neglect in Pennsylvania?
Under Pennsylvania law, child abuse means intentionally, knowingly or recklessly doing any of the following:
- Causing bodily injury to a child through any recent act or failure to act.
- Fabricating, feigning or intentionally exaggerating or inducing a medical symptom or disease which results in a potentially harmful medical evaluation or treatment to the child through any recent act.
- 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.
- Causing sexual abuse or exploitation of a child through any act or failure to act.
- Creating a reasonable likelihood of bodily injury to a child through any recent act or failure to act.
- Creating a likelihood of sexual abuse or exploitation of a child through any recent act or failure to act.
- Causing serious physical neglect of a child.
- Causing the death of the child through any act or failure to act.
- Engaging a child in a severe form of trafficking in persons or sex trafficking, as those terms are defined under section 103 of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (114 Stat. 1466, 22 U.S.C. § 7102 ).
Who is a mandated reporter according to PA state requirements?
The following adults are considered mandated reporters in Pennsylvania and are required to report suspected child abuse if they have reasonable cause to suspect that a child is a victim of child abuse:
- A person licensed or certified to practice in any health-related field under the jurisdiction of the Department of State.
- A medical examiner, coroner or funeral director.
- An employee of a health care facility or provider licensed by the Department of Health, who is engaged in the admission, examination, care or treatment of individuals.
- A school employee.
- An employee of a child-care service who has direct contact with children in the course of employment.
- A clergyman, priest, rabbi, minister, Christian Science practitioner, religious healer or spiritual leader of any regularly established church or other religious organization.
- An individual paid or unpaid, who, on the basis of the individual’s role as an integral part of a regularly scheduled program, activity or service, is a person responsible for the child’s welfare or has direct contact with children.
- An employee of a social services agency who has direct contact with children in the course of employment.
- A peace officer or law enforcement official.
- An emergency medical services provider certified by the Department of Health.
- An employee of a public library who has direct contact with children in the course of employment.
- An individual supervised or managed by a person listed above, who has direct contact with children in the course of employment.
- An independent contractor who has direct contact with children.
- An attorney affiliated with an agency, institution, organization or other entity, including a school or regularly established religious organization that is responsible for the care, supervision, guidance or control of children.
- A foster parent.
- An adult family member who is a person responsible for the child’s welfare and provides services to a child in a family living home, community home for individuals with an intellectual disability or host home for children which are subject to supervision or licensure by the department under Articles IX and X of the Public Welfare Code.
The penalties for a mandated reporter who willfully fails to report child abuse range from a misdemeanor of second degree to a felony of the second degree.
How do I report child abuse in Pennsylvania?
Mandated reporters must make an immediate and direct report of suspected child abuse to ChildLine either online or by calling the 24/7 ChildLine at: 1-800-932-0313.
Everyone, even they are not a mandated reporter, is encouraged to make a report by calling the 24/7 ChildLine at: 1-800-932-0313.
How do I get free online child abuse training?
Use the code STAYSAFE to enroll in Creating Safe Environments for Organizations, a free online training class. Leaders in organizations use this free online course to explore child abuse prevention best practices and help prevent child abuse in Pennsylvania.
Looking for online child abuse training for individuals?
How do I contact the PA Department of Human Services?
Disclaimer: Please ensure the information and courses meet requirements for your organization and circumstances and align with what your state Department of Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention requires. The state requirements and child abuse and human trafficking statistics listed on this page are current as of May 13th, 2021 to meet the best information available. State requirements may change and it is your responsibility to know your state mandated reporter requirements and the process for online child abuse prevention training. Compass Child Protection Training can not guarantee acceptance by your school, organization, or state Department of Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention. If there is a child abuse emergency, call 911 immediately.