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Changes in Child Welfare Law

2013

PDF IconSummary of Pennsylvania child protection legislation PDF Icon  PowerPoint presentation of new child protection legislation
Summaries of the 10 bills related to child protection that were signed by Governor Corbett on December 18, 2013. Created by the Pa. Department of Human Services, Office of Children, Youth and Families.

2012

PDF Icon Pa. Act 126 of July 5, 2012
Amends the Public School Code of 1949 - Child Abuse Recognition and Reporting Training with new training requirements, many related to the recognition and reporting of sexual misconduct on the part of employees of educational institutions. Effective 180 days after signing. 

2011

pdf.gif DHS Director Cherna testified against the expansion of the definition of child abuse as proposed by Pa. Senate Bill 753. 
On Friday, Aug. 26, 2011 DHS Director Marc Cherna testified before the Pennsylvania Senate Committee on Aging and Youth regarding Senate Bill 753, which seeks to expand the definition of child abuse to include a woman’s use of illegal drugs during pregnancy.   

National Youth in Transition Database (NYTD)
DHS is submitting information to Pennsylvania related to services and outcomes of Allegheny County transition-aged youth who received independent living services through DHS. Submitted data will become part of the National Youth in Transition Database (NYTD) with the goal of providing guidance to ultimately improve the futures of youth who are transitioning to adulthood from the child welfare system.

DHS is submitting information to Pennsylvania related to services and outcomes of Allegheny County transition-aged youth who received independent living services through DHS. Submitted data will become part of the National Youth in Transition Database (NYTD) with the goal of providing guidance to ultimately improve the futures of youth who are transitioning to adulthood from the child welfare system.  

 

 

 

 

 

2008 

Pa. Act 27 of 2008 - Clean Indoor Air Act 

Effective September 11, 2008, the Clean Indoor Air Act of 2008 (Pa. Senate Bill 246 of Session 2007, (Pa. Act 27 of 2008) signed June 13, 2008) bans smoking in nearly all public places and work places in Pennsylvania. It also bans smoking in the homes and vehicles of resources parents (foster care or pre-adopt parents) when a child, 18 years of age or younger, is present. Child welfare agencies are charged with screening resource parents with the law in mind. Penalties for non-compliance include discontinuation of service as a resource parent, fines and incarceration.

pdf.gif Pa. Office of Children, Youth and Families Bulletin regarding the ramifications of Pa. Act 27 on resource parents and child welfare agencies (released September 17, 2010).

word.gif Clean Indoor Air Act Compliance Agreement 

word.gif Clean Indoor Air Act (CIAA) Violation Complaint Report 

More information about CIAA is available on the Pa. Department of Health website (keyword CIAA).


Pa. Act 33 of 2008 - Child Fatality / Near Fatality Review Team
Allegheny County Child Fatality/Near Fatality Review Team  


Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act

Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act offers vulnerable children meaningful family connections and important protections and support. It underscores the importance of siblings and extended family in the lives of children who are in or at risk of entering foster care by:

  • Providing federally funded financial and training support for grandparents and other extended family members who choose to become foster or adoptive parents to their related children;
  • Broadening the application of Title IV-E funding to new groups of children; and
  • Supporting youth as they “age out” of the child welfare system.

New Help for Children Raised by Grandparents and Other Relatives: Questions and Answers About the Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008  


Pa. HB 1961 (Act 73) requires child care personnel, and foster and adoptive family household members over 18 years of age to submit the following documents prior to employment or assignment, respectively.

  • Pa. State criminal background check and State ChildLine Registry report (see pdf.gif HB 1961 for frequency requirements) 
  • Federal criminal history record check (see pdf.gif HB 1961 for frequency requirements) by submitting a one-time full set of fingerprints 

Additionally, prior to assignment, foster and adoptive family household members over 18 years of age must submit 

  • Certification from the Statewide registry of child abuse in any state in which he/she resided during the past five years. 

Pa. HB 1961 (Act 73) amends Section 6344 (Child Protective Services Law) of Title 23 (Domestic Relations) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes. 

pdf.gif HB 1961  


2007

pdf.gif Pa. Act 76 (amends PA C.S. Title 42 section 6351 effective January 1, 2008) requires the court to consult with the child regarding the child’s permanency plan in a manner appropriate to the child’s age and maturity.  If the court does not consult personally with the child, the court shall ensure that the views of the child regarding the permanency plan have been ascertained to the fullest extent possible and communicated to the court by the guardian ad litem under Section 6311of PA C.S. title 42 or, as appropriate to the circumstances of the case, by the child’s counsel, the court-appointed special advocate or other person as designated by the court. 

World Wide Web Icon Act 146 enacts Pennsylvania’s version of the federal Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) establishes citizen review panels, requiring mandatory reporting of cases where an infant is born who has been exposed to illegal substances, and provides for quarterly reporting of child fatalities and near fatalities that result from abuse. 

World Wide Web Icon Act 179 encourages more complete reporting of alleged child abuse by expanding the mandatory reporting of crimes against children to ChildLine – Pennsylvania’s 24-hour child abuse hotline.  And, it holds people accountable when they fail to act on behalf of a child.

pdf.gif More detailed information about Act 146 and Act 179 

pdf.gif Flyer about changes for Mandated Reporters 

DHS information on Mandated Reporters 


2006 

pdf.gif Pa. Act 126 requires county children and youth agencies to take annual pictures of children involved in child, or general protective services cases – creating a more reliable, updated source of identification to protect children.


Related Resources 

pdf.gif Major Federal Legislation Concerned With Child Protection, Child Welfare, and Adoption
Complied by the Child Welfare Information Gateway, current as of April 2012 

Section 6344 (Child Protective Services Law) of Title 23 

Overview of Key CYF Philosophies, Practices and Procedures