HARRISBURG, Pa., Aug. 17 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The nonprofit Pennsylvania Family Support Alliance (PFSA), the top organization in Pennsylvania for training "mandated reporters" to recognize and report child abuse and neglect, provided training to 7,540 individuals during its recently ended 2009-2010 program year.
"We train more mandated reporters by far than any other agency in the Commonwealth, and we're constantly striving to expand the audience for our training because the mission is so vital," said PFSA Executive Director Angela M. Liddle.
Mandated reporters are people who by the nature of their jobs are around children on a regular basis, such as teachers, social workers, doctors, and others. They are legally bound to make a report to authorities if they suspect abuse or neglect.
Liddle pointed out that 25,342 cases of suspected child abuse were reported in Pennsylvania in 2009, of which 15.5 percent were substantiated, resulting in the deaths of 43 children and a total of 4,966 injuries.
"The more we're able to expand the ranks of mandated reporters whose skills are upgraded through training, the bigger dent we're able to make in this problem," she said.
PFSA's 16 trainers conducted 293 training sessions throughout the state in 2009-2010.
A majority of those receiving the training—61 percent—were community service workers such as mental health professionals, library staffers, healthcare professionals, welfare caseworkers, Early Intervention program personnel, and county mental health-mental retardation personnel. Childcare workers accounted for 24 percent; school personnel accounted for 14 percent; and clergy and staff members of religious programs accounted for 1 percent.
"These are people who work with, care for, and are around children on a daily basis, and they are the ones who are in position to notice and provide early warning if the signs of child abuse or neglect are evident," Liddle said.
Among the special initiatives during the last year was a joint effort between PFSA and the state Child Welfare Training Program that delivered training to child welfare agency staffers in seven regional locations.
PFSA also launched an online training program in February 2010 to make keeping up to date easier and more convenient for those who have already had in-person training.
In addition to training for mandated reporters, PFSA works with affiliated member agencies across Pennsylvania to provide information, educational materials, and programs that teach and support good parenting practices. At the end of the 2009-2010 program year, PFSA was working with 150 different parental support programs through a network of 50 affiliated organizations.
For more information, visit the PFSA Web site at www.pa-fsa.org.
SOURCE PA Family Support Alliance