Child Abuse

Home » Luzerne County » Departments/Agencies » Human Services » Children and Youth Services » Child Abuse

CHILD ABUSE

 

What is child abuse? 

        According to the Child Protective Services Law:   

       Child abuse

     (i)   The term child abuse means any of the following:

       (A)   Any recent act or failure to act by a perpetrator which causes nonaccidental serious physical injury to a child.

       (B)   An act or failure to act by a perpetrator which causes nonaccidental serious mental injury to or sexual abuse or exploitation of a child.

       (C)   A recent act, failure to act or series of the acts or failures to act by a perpetrator which creates an imminent risk of serious physical injury to or sexual abuse or exploitation of a child.

       (D)   Serious physical neglect by a perpetrator constituting prolonged or repeated lack of supervision or the failure to provide the essentials of life, including adequate medical care, which endangers a child’s life or development or impairs the child’s functioning.

     (ii)   A child will not be deemed to be physically or mentally abused based on injuries that result solely from environmental factors that are beyond the control of the parent or person responsible for the child’s welfare, such as inadequate housing, furnishings, income, clothing and medical care.

     (iii)   If, upon investigation, the county agency determines that a child has not been provided needed medical or surgical care because of seriously held religious beliefs of the child’s parents, guardian or person responsible for the child’s welfare, which beliefs are consistent with those of a bona fide religion, the child will not be deemed to be physically or mentally abused. The county agency shall closely monitor the child and shall seek court-ordered medical intervention when the lack of medical or surgical care threatens the child’s life or long-term health. In cases involving religious circumstances, all correspondence with a subject of the report and the records of the Department and the county agency may not reference ‘‘child abuse’’ and shall acknowledge the religious basis for the child’s condition, and the family shall be referred for general protective services, under Subchapter C of the CPSL (relating to general protective services), if appropriate.

 

How to file a report

ANYONE CAN MAKE A REPORT!!!

If you are in immediate danger and need immediate attention, please call 911.

 Otherwise, you can either call Childline at 1-800-932-0313, or call the local Luzerne County Children and Youth office at 570-826-8710. You are able to call anonymously.

 

About mandated reporters

Anyone may report suspected abuse; mandated reporters are those people who are required by law to report suspected child abuse. Mandated reporters are held to a higher standard of responsibility and may receive serious consequences for not reporting suspected abuse. Pennsylvania’s Child Protective Services Law (CPSL) was amended in 2014, including substantial changes to the list of people who are mandated reporters. Effective December 31, 2014, people in these positions are mandated to report child abuse:

  • A person licensed or certified to practice in any health-related field under the jurisdiction of the Department of State;

  • A medical examiner, coroner or funeral director;

  • An employee of a health care facility or provider licensed by the Department of  Health, who is engaged in the admission, examination, care or treatment of  individuals;

  • A school employee;

  • An employee of a child care service, who has direct contact with children in the course of employment;

  • Clergyman, priest, rabbi, minister, Christian Science practitioner, religious healer or spiritual leader of any regularly established church or other religious organization;

  • An individual paid or unpaid; who, on the basis of the individual’s role as an integral part of a regularly scheduled program, activity or service, accepts responsibility for a child;

  • An employee of a social services agency, who has direct contact with children in the course of employment;

  • A peace officer or law enforcement official defined as Attorney General, District Attorney, PA State Police and municipal police officer.

  • An emergency medical services provider certified by the Department of Health;

  • An employee of a public library, who has direct contact with children in the course of employment;

  • An individual supervised or managed by a person listed above who has direct contact with children in the course of their employment; and

  • An independent contractor who has direct contact with children.

  • An attorney affiliated with an agency, institution, organization or other entity that is responsible for the care, supervision, guidance or control of children.

  • A foster parent.

 

Resource for Mandated Reporters:

http://www.dhs.state.pa.us/cs/groups/webcontent/documents/communication/p_011835.pdf

 

Free Mandatory Reporter Training:

https://www.reportabusepa.pitt.edu/webapps/portal/execute/tabs/tabAction?tab_tab_group_id=_2_1

 

What does a Child Protective Services (CPS) investigation entail?

Abuse can include physical, sexual, risk of imminent harm, emotional and serious physical neglect. Both Federal and State Laws define child abuse and mandate the agency’s investigation of such reports. CPS then performs the duty of thoroughly investigating allegations and then determines whether a child is at significant risk and determines the best methods of assuring the child's safety is initiated. The level of risk to the child is the defining criteria for CPS involvement, which can range from information and referral to community resources, assignment to in-home services, to removal through court intervention.

 

Governing LAWS & Policies:

https://www.childwelfare.gov/pubpdfs/majorfedlegis.pdf

Last Updated: 11/03/16 13:22:06
Children and Youth Services
Luzerne County Seal