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Task Force on Child Protection
Calls for Sweeping Changes to Laws Governing Child Protection in Pennsylvania
HARRISBURG – The
Pennsylvania Task Force on Child Protection today released its report with
recommendations to dramatically improve state laws and procedures governing
child protection and the reporting of child abuse.
The 11-member panel, chaired by Bucks County District Attorney David Heckler, held
11 public meetings throughout 2012. It was created by the passage of
Senate Resolution 250 in December 2011.
"Our Task Force heard testimony from more than 60 people with hands-on expertise in every aspect of protecting
children and investigating and prosecuting child abuse," Heckler said. "Based
on their testimony, other written submissions and the substantial experience of
our members, we have developed a sweeping set of proposals."
"The Task Force's recommendations call for what is essentially a complete rewriting of the Child Protective
Services Law – such as redefining and clarifying what constitutes child abuse
itself, and expanding the list of those who are required to report child abuse
ChildLine," Heckler said. "We also call for upgrading some crimes and
creating several new offenses. We propose a transformation in the way
information concerning child abuse is handled and maintained, the way in which
crimes against children are investigated in parts of the state, and the way in
which those with a responsibility for the well being of children are trained."
Heckler noted that the Task Force's sweeping recommendations will need to be introduced in numerous bills
for the General Assembly to consider, and that many issues will require
additional public hearings. "The Task Force took a comprehensive look at
Pennsylvania's current laws governing child protection," he said. "Strengthening
these laws must be done as soon as possible, but we should recognize that it
cannot be done overnight."
NOTE: The complete report and video of the news conference will be posted on the
Task Force website and