Ward Holds Aging and Youth Committee Hearing on Challenges Facing Children and Youth Services Agencies

HARRISBURG – Sen. Judy Ward (R-30) and the Senate Aging and Youth Committee held a hearing to receive testimony regarding the challenges and opportunities facing Pennsylvania’s network of children and youth services agencies.

“County children and youth agencies provide a vital tool and service, helping to protect children across Pennsylvania,” Ward said. “Today’s hearing provided valuable information on how to best strengthen our children and youth services network. Our children are one of our greatest assets, and we need to do all we can to ensure that the agencies tasked to protect them have the tools and support they need to succeed.”

Pennsylvania’s child welfare system is state supervised and county administered, with a children and youth services agency that organizes and manages the services in that county. Children and youth services agencies provide child welfare services designed to protect children from abuse and neglect, and enable children to remain safely in their homes. They also provide services to help families overcome problems that result in dependency, neglect, and delinquency, and to enhance the family’s capacity to provide for their children’s educational, physical, and behavioral health needs. Should a situation be deemed unsafe for a child, the children and youth services agency provides adequate substitute care in foster family homes and child caring institutions for any child in need of care due to abuse or neglect, with the ultimate goal of healthy and safe reunification. This care continues up to 18, or 21 if the youth chooses to stay involved. 

Testifiers included the Department of Human Services, Children’s Advocacy Centers of Pennsylvania, the Pennsylvania Children and Youth Administrators Association, as well as Kelvin Abrashoff, director of Children and Youth Services of Huntingdon County. Video of the hearing can be found on the Senate Aging and Youth Committee website.

Residents can follow Ward on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/SenJudyWard and Twitter @SenatorJWard for news about legislation and the 30th Senate District. Contact information for her district offices and other information can be found on her website at SenatorJudyWard.com, and constituents also can sign up for her e-newsletter at SenatorJudyWard.com/enewsletters.


Contact: Nathan Akers

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