Mensch Bill to Provide Whistleblower Protection to Child Abuse Reporters Heads for Enactment

Harrisburg – Legislation sponsored by Sen. Bob Mensch (R-24) to provide “whistleblower” protection individuals who report child abuse received final legislative approval this week and will be sent to the governor for enactment.

Senate Bill 33 will allow an employee to bring action for employment discrimination if:

  1. They are a mandated reporter,
  2. The person acted in good faith in making the report of suspected child abuse or caused a report to be made;
  3. The person is discharged from employment or discriminated against with respect to compensation, hire, tenure, terms, conditions or privileges of employment;
  4. The court may grant appropriate relief, which may include reinstatement of the plaintiff with back pay and;
  5. The Department of Public Welfare may intervene in the commenced civil action.

“We’ve come a long way in two years on improving legislation to prevent child abuse. While more work remains on this issue, this legislation brings us one more step closer to addressing the recommendations set forth by the PA Child Task Force,” said Mensch.  “No law can protect every child from every one of life’s threats, but through the work of the task force and the Senate Aging and Youth committee hearings, we know what can be done better.”

In addition to SB 33, there are two other child abuse protection bills that are being sent to the governor to be signed:

HB 431 (Gingrich) would amend the Child Protective Services Law to require that licensing boards issue regulations to require that licensees who are mandated reporters of child abuse be trained on child abuse recognition and reporting.

HB 436 (Stephens) – defines who is required to report suspected child abuse, outlines what is privileged communications and establishes a system of progressive penalties for those who knowingly don’t report suspected child abuse

The following child protection bills were recently signed into law by the Governor:

  • Act No. 27 (Marsico) that amends Title 75 (Vehicles) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, further providing for DARE plate and for payments to the Commission on Crime and Delinquency to provide grants to Child Advocacy Centers.
  • Act No. 28 (Harhart) increases the funding for children’s advocacy centers.
  • Act No. 29 (Vulakovich) establishes a statewide database that allows for better sharing of information related to child abuse

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. As Chairman of the Senate Aging and Youth Committee, Mensch helped shepherd the bills through the General Assembly.

More information about state issues is available at Senator Mensch’s website, www.SenatorMensch.com or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/senatormensch and Twitter at @SenatorMensch.  

CONTACT:

Sarah Stroman
(215) 541-2388