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Child protection measures sent to the Governor

December 13, 2013- Hanson Quickel
HARRISBURG- Several bills targeting child abuse received final legislative approval this week and were sent on to the Governor for his signature and enactment into law.

Senate Bill 23 updates the definition of “perpetrator” and expands the definition of “person responsible for a child’s welfare.”

Senate Bill 28 amends Title 18 (Crimes and Offenses) to comprehensively strengthen Pennsylvania's child abuse laws.

Senate Bill 30 establishes accountability and due process protections for individuals working with delinquent children in juvenile detention facilities and residential rehabilitative institutions.

Senate Bill 34 establishes a comprehensive system for professional educators who are investigated and disciplined for misconduct in Pennsylvania.

Senate Bill 1116 provides for a multidisciplinary investigative team to be used to coordinate child-abuse investigations between county agencies and law enforcement.

House Bill 1201 amends the Judicial Code concerning child victims and witnesses, and reporting by district attorneys.

Several other bills were approved by the Senate and returned to the House for concurrence votes.

House Bill 321 directs the Pennsylvania Commission on Sentencing provide for a sentencing enhancement for child pornography, based upon the age of the child victimized, the number of images possessed, and the nature and character of the abuse.

House Bill 414 requires the court, in a custody proceeding, to consider factors related to child abuse and involvement with child protective services.        

House Bill 726 amends the definitions of “child abuse” and related terms in the Child Protective Services Law.

The bills are part of a bipartisan package of legislation introduced following the recommendations of the Pennsylvania Task Force on Child Protection, created by the passage of Senate Resolution 250 in December 2011. The panel held a series of public meetings and released its report in November 2012.

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