Pennsylvania Mandated Reporters and Child Abuse Recognition and Reporting Training

by Ann Heinz, JD, CDEI | Aug 13, 2020
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In Pennsylvania, certain adults — known as mandated reporters — are required to make a report to the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services when they have reasonable cause to suspect that a child is a victim of abuse. The reporting program was created by the Pennsylvania Child Protective Services Law (CPSL), passed in order to protect children by encouraging the reporting of suspected child abuse and ensuring that county protective service agencies quickly investigate reports and protect children from further abuse.

To help prepare them for this responsibility, mandated reporters who hold licenses regulated by licensing boards, including almost all health-related boards and the State Board of Funeral Directors, are required to complete a Child Abuse Recognition and Reporting Training course in order to maintain their license. This required continuing education helps ensure professionals meet the high standard expected to help any child who may be victimized.

Purpose of the Pennsylvania Child Protective Services Law

Pennsylvania’s Child Protective Services Law (CPSL)1 was enacted as a result of an urgent need for an effective child protective service to prevent abused children from suffering further injury, neglect, and impairment. The purpose of the PA Child Protective Services Law is to:

  • encourage complete reporting of suspected child abuse
  • involve law enforcement agencies in responding to child abuse
  • establish county protective services to swiftly and competently investigate reports
  • protect children from further abuse
  • provide rehabilitative services for children and parents

First enacted in 1975, the CPSL was created with a goal to protect children from abuse, allow the opportunity for healthy growth and development, and, whenever possible, preserve and stabilize the family.

1 Pennsylvania’s Child Protective Services Law is found in Chapter 63 of Title 23, Domestic Relations, of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes.

Who Is a Mandated Reporter?

All health-related licensees and certificate holders (except licensees of the State Board of Veterinary Medicine) are considered mandated reporters. The following is a comprehensive list of adults who are considered mandated reporters by the Child Protective Services Law and are required to report any suspected child abuse:

  • Anyone licensed or certified to practice in a health-related field under the Pennsylvania Department of State
  • Employees of health care facilities or providers licensed by the Pennsylvania Department of Health who are engaged in the admission, examination, care, or treatment of individuals
  • Funeral directors, medical examiners, or coroners
  • School employees
  • Clergymen, priests, rabbis, ministers, Christian science practitioners, religious healer, or spiritual leaders of any regularly established churches or other religious organizations
  • Individuals (paid or unpaid) who — on the basis of their role as an integral part of a regularly scheduled program, activity, or service — accepts responsibility for a child
  • Employees of social service agencies who have direct contact with children in the course of employment
  • Peace officers or law enforcement officials defined as: attorney general, district attorney, Pennsylvania State Police, and municipal police officer
  • Emergency medical service providers certified by the Pennsylvania Department of Health
  • Employees of a public libraries who have direct contact with children in the course of employment
  • Individuals supervised or managed by a person listed above who have direct contact with children in the course of their employment
  • Independent contractors who have direct contact with children
  • Attorneys affiliated with an agency, institution, organization, or other entity that is responsible for the care, supervision, guidance, or control of children
  • Foster parents
  • 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 act of June 13, 1967, known as the Public Welfare Code

All of the individuals listed above are required to make an immediate and direct report of suspected child abuse to ChildLine either electronically at www.compass.state.pa.us/cwis or by calling 1-800-932-0313. After making the report, mandated reporters are required to immediately notify the person in charge of the school, facility, agency, or institution or their designated agent.

Mandated reporters are held to a high standard of responsibility. If a mandated reporter doesn’t report suspected child abuse, there can be serious consequences, including criminal charges ranging from a second degree misdemeanor to a third degree felony.

What Training Do Mandated Reporters Need?

In 2014, Title 23 was amended by House Bill 431 to provide that mandated reporters must undergo training in child abuse recognition and reporting. This part of the law has come to be known as “Act 31 of 2014.”

Act 31 requires that anyone applying for an initial license or certificate from any of the health-related boards (except the State Board of Veterinary Medicine) or from the State Board of Funeral Directors must complete three hours of approved training on child abuse recognition and reporting as a condition for their licensure.

Additionally, in order to receive their biennial license renewal, individuals with a health-related license and funeral directors must complete two hours of continuing education (CE) from an approved provider on the same topic.

Where to Complete the PA Child Abuse Recognition and Reporting Training

The required two-hour PA Child Abuse Recognition and Reporting Training CE course can be completed online with WebCE. WebCE is an approved continuing education provider for all mandated reporters, permissive reporters, and licensed funeral directors, and the course meets your required two-hour biennial training requirement.

WebCE’s Pennsylvania Child Abuse Recognition and Reporting Training course takes an in-depth look at the Pennsylvania Child Protective Services Law, the components of child abuse, and the requirements and responsibilities for reporting suspected child abuse. It explains who must report and examines the reporting procedures that must be followed. The course also presents reporting scenarios and highlights the warning signs of child abuse.

WebCE’s convenient, easy-to-use online platform makes completing the required training course simple and stress-free. And with WebCE, you can complete your training course from home and on your own schedule. The exam for the PA Child Abuse Recognition and Reporting Training course is open book and no monitor is required, so you’ll never have to step into a classroom.

PA Child Abuse Recognition and Reporting Training Course