PA Governor Signs Child Abuse Laws

04.08.14 | Sarah Harnisch

Progress is being made in the effort to protect children in Pennsylvania from abuse.

On Monday, Governor Tom Corbett signed into law three bills that will result in funding for training, child advocacy centers and a new statewide database.

There is also another bill on the horizon which will greatly increase the number of people whose job titles will include the term "mandatory reporter."

The main bill provides millions of dollars in grants for the state's 21 child advocacy centers as well as new centers and will also put investigative teams to work.

Much of the funding for this will come from an increase in the cost of duplicate birth certificates. Those wanting a copy of their birth certificate will pay $20 dollars instead $10.

In addition to the newly signed bills, an attorney for Dauphin County Children and Youth says following the Jerry Sandusky scandal, a special child abuse task force has been working to expand child abuse protection laws in Pennsylvania.

She says the state legislature is very close to passing a bill that will increase the number of mandatory reporters across the state as well as change the way in which they report suspected abuse.

The way things stand now, the mandated reporter notifies his or her supervisor or superior of the report and then the next action is taken. The proposed bill specifies that if a mandated person sees an event, they will have to contact a designated hotline to make that report.

The change is expected to create an influx of calls to police and children services, but supporters of the bill say that's okay.

The new mandatory reporter categories would affect all school employees, not just teachers and administrators, and also all staff at childcare and medical facilities as well as church volunteers and youth sports coaches.

A vote on that bill is expected in the next week.