Pennsylvania group recommends guides for reporting child abuse

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

[full report]
November 28, 2012

By Laura Olson / Post-Gazette Harrisburg Bureau

HARRISBURG — A state task force created in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky scandal has given legislators a hefty load of recommendations to review, urging among its suggestions an overhaul of how Pennsylvania defines abuse and earmarking funding for children’s advocacy centers.

The report from 11-member Pennsylvania Task Force on Child Protection also calls for expanding requirements regarding who must report suspected child abuse to outside investigators, increasing penalties for failure to report suspected abuse and tracking abuse reports at the state level instead of county-by-county.

“We attempted to be bold … but also realistic,” said Bucks County District Attorney David Heckler, who chaired the task force.

“We tried to do the very best we could to improve a system that is woefully failing in a number of ways.”

The panel was appointed in January by legislative leaders and Gov. Tom Corbett to review state policies for reporting child abuse and procedures for child protection. It held hearings across the state, taking testimony from dozens involved in how those cases currently are handled.

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