Resources for Mandated Reporters

Tuesday, December 23, 2014 7:06 AM | Terry Kerr (Administrator)

Posted from the Pennsylvania Family Support Alliance News Brief dated December 19, 2014

       

PFSA provides accurate, up-to-date resources for mandated reporters of child abuse in Pennsylvania. Here's some information you can use today to make sure you understand your responsibilities under the new amendments to the Child Protective Services Law:

Act 31 of 2014 amended § 6383(c) of the Child Protective Services Law to require certain persons to receive child abuse recognition and reporting training as a condition of licensure, approval or registration: 
• Operators of institutions, facilities or agencies which care for children and are subject to supervision by the Department of Human Services (Department) under Article IX or Article X of the Public Welfare Code, and their employees who have direct contact with children;
• Foster parents;
• Caregivers in Family Day Care homes which are subject to registration by the Department under Subarticle (c) of the Public Welfare Code and their employees who have direct contact with children.

Effective December 31, 2104, new employees and new foster parents are required to receive 3 hours of training within 90 days of hire or approval and 3 hours of training every five years thereafter.

Effective December 31, 2014, prospective operators of child-serving institutions, facilities or agencies or family day care homes must receive 3 hours of training prior to the issuance of a license, approval or registration certificate and 3 hours of training every five years thereafter.

Beginning July 1, 2015, the following must receive 3 hours of training prior to the re-issuance of a license, approval or registration certificate and 3 hours of training every five years thereafter:
• Current operators;
• Current employees having direct contact with children;
• Current caregivers and employees in family day care homes; and
• Current foster parents.

The curriculum for the child abuse recognition and reporting training must be approved by the Department and must address, but not be limited to, the following:
• Recognition of the signs of abuse;
• Reporting requirement for suspected abuse in the commonwealth and
• For institutions, facilities and agencies their policies related to reporting of suspected child abuse.

All of PFSA's mandated reporter trainings meet the requirements of all of the licensing entities in Pennsylvania.

Persons may be exempted from the Act 31 training requirements if all of the following apply:
• The person provides documentation that they have already completed child abuse recognition and reporting training;
• The training was:
o Required under § 1205.6 of the Public School Code or required these trainings were approved by the Department; or
o Required under the Child Protective Services Law and the training was approved by the Department; and
o The amount of the training received equals or exceeds the amount of training required above.

To read Act 31 in its entirety click here; for PFSA’s training options, click here.

 

Changes to Child Abuse/Criminal History Requirements

On December 31, 2014 Pennsylvania will usher in not only a new year, but new requirements regarding child abuse and criminal history clearances. These individuals will need to obtain new child abuse, state criminal and federal criminal history clearances every thirty-six months:
• An employee of child-care services.
• A foster parent; a prospective adoptive parent.
• A self-employed family day-care provider.
• An individual 14 years of age or older applying for a paid position as an employee responsible for the welfare of a child or having direct contact with children.
• Any individual seeking to provide child-care services under contract with a child-care facility or program.
• An individual 18 years of age or older who resides in the home of a foster parent for at least 30 days in a calendar year or who resides in the home of a prospective adoptive parent for at least 30 days in a calendar year.
• School employees not governed by the provisions of the public school code of 1949 shall be governed by this section.

Childcare services include child day-care centers, group day-care homes, family day-care homes, foster homes, adoptive parents, boarding homes for children, juvenile detention centers or programs for delinquent or dependent children, mental health services for children, programs for children with intellectual disabilities, early intervention services for children, drug and alcohol services for children and day-care services or programs that are offered by a school. Any child care services provided by or under contract with the Department of Human Services or county children and youth agency would also fall under this requirement. Additionally, the new requirement extends to any children care services that are subject to approval, licensure or registration or certification by the Department of Human Services.

Beginning July 1, 2015, volunteers having contact with or responsibility for children will be required to submit a child abuse and state criminal history clearance prior to approval as a volunteer and every 36 months after. Federal history clearances are not required provided all of the following conditions are met:
• The position is unpaid.
• The individual has been a PA resident for the past 10 years.
• The individual swears or affirms in writing that he has not been convicted of any of the crimes or equivalent crimes in any other jurisdiction listed under section 6344 (c) of the Child Protective Services Law.

Effective December 31, 2014, the Pennsylvania Child Abuse History Clearance application can be submitted online.  Once you enter the link below (DHS website) you will be directed to the Child Welfare Portal where you must create an account or log in if you already have an account. You will need an email address to create an account. Creating an account and submitting your clearance application online will give you immediate access to your results or the status of your results if your results cannot be processed immediately. Paper submission of requests wiil still be accepted.

For details on how to request a child abuse history clearance electronically, the mailing address for paper submissions, and other information click here.