HARRISBURG, Pa., Nov. 14, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Pennsylvania Family Support Alliance (PFSA), Pennsylvania's leading provider of training in how to recognize and report child abuse, said "mandated reporters" need a better understanding of their roles and responsibilities in identifying and reporting child abuse.
Anyone in Pennsylvania may report child abuse. People who come into contact with children in the course of employment, occupation or practice of a profession are required to report—and hence are considered mandated reporters.
Tina Phillips, director of training for PFSA, pointed out that in Pennsylvania the Child Protective Services Law and the Protective Service Regulations govern the requirements for reporting child abuse.
She said, "When a mandated reporter has reasonable cause to suspect, on the basis of medical, professional or other training and experience, that a child is a victim of abuse, a report to ChildLine, the state's child abuse registry and hotline, must be made immediately."
She said this requirement applies to children under the mandated reporter's care, supervision, guidance, or training or under that of an agency, institution, organization or other entity with which the mandated reporter is affiliated.
"To put it simply," Phillips said, "if you work with kids and you have reasonable cause to suspect that one of kids with whom you work has been abused, you need to either make a report or cause a report to be made."
She said mandated reporters who work in an institution, school, facility, or agency must immediately notify the person in charge or his or her designee of the suspected abuse. The person in charge/designee has the responsibility and obligation to contact ChildLine immediately and cannot make an independent determination of whether or not to report. The person in charge/designee should notify the employee when the report is made.
Organizations should have a policy in place to ensure that all employees are aware of the protocol for their organization.
Phillips said that within 48 hours of making the report to ChildLine, a written report of suspected child abuse is made to the county children and youth agency where the suspected abuse occurred. The form is commonly referred to as a CY-47 and is available on the PFSA website.
Failing to report suspected child abuse is a third-degree misdemeanor for the first violation and a second-degree misdemeanor for a second or subsequent violation.
Phillips said ignorance of the law is not a defense for failure to report. She said training for mandated reporters has been proven to increase their knowledge and make them better equipped to help an abused child.
Free training is available to all mandated reporters in Pennsylvania through PFSA (www.pa-fsa.org or 1-800-448-4906) and for medical professionals through the Pennsylvania Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics (www.pascan.org or 1-866- 823-7226).
To report abuse, call ChildLine at 1-800-932-0313.
PFSA is a nonprofit organization that provides training in recognizing and reporting child abuse and neglect through schools, early childhood education centers, religious institutions, and social service agencies. For more information, visit the PFSA Web site at www.pa-fsa.org.
Pennsylvania Family Support Alliance
Protecting children from abuse
Training for professionals
Support for families
Education for communities
Visit the PFSA website at www.pa-fsa.org
SOURCE PA Family Support Alliance