Mandatory Reporting of Child Abuse and Neglect - Pennsylvania

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Professionals Required to Report
Citation: Cons. Stat. Tit. 23, § 6311

The following adults are required to report:

  • Persons licensed or certified to practice in any health-related field
  • Medical examiners, coroners, or funeral directors
  • Employees of licensed health-care facilities who are engaged in the admission, examination, care, or treatment of individuals
  • School employees
  • Employees of a child care service or public library
  • A clergy member, priest, rabbi, minister, Christian Science practitioner, religious healer, or spiritual leader of any regularly established church or other religious organization
  • Any person, paid or unpaid, who, on the basis of the person's role in a program, activity, or service, is a person responsible for the child's welfare or has direct contact with children
  • Employees of a social services agency 
  • A peace officer or law enforcement official
  • An emergency medical services provider
  • An individual supervised or managed by a person listed above who has direct contact with children 
  • An independent contractor
  • An attorney affiliated with an agency, institution, or other entity, including a school or established religious organization that is responsible for the care, supervision, guidance, or control of children
  • A foster parent
  • An adult family member who is a person responsible for the child's welfare and provides services to a child in a family living home, community home for individuals with an intellectual disability, or licensed host home for children

A 'school employee' is an individual who is employed by a school or who provides an activity or service sponsored by a school. The term does not apply to administrative personnel unless that person has direct contact with children. A school is a facility providing elementary, secondary, or postsecondary educational services, including public and nonpublic schools, vocational-technical schools, and institutions of higher education. 

Training Requirements for Mandatory Reporters

Citation: Cons. Stat. Tit. 23, § 6383

The Department of Human Services and each county agency, both jointly and individually, shall conduct a continuing publicity and education program aimed at the prevention of child abuse and child neglect, including the prevention of newborn abandonment, the identification of abused and neglected children, and the provision of necessary ameliorative services to abused and neglected children and their families. The department and each county agency shall conduct an ongoing training and education program for local staff, persons required to make reports and other appropriate persons in order to familiarize those persons with the reporting and investigative procedures for cases of suspected child abuse and the rehabilitative services that are available to children and families. 

For mandatory and permissive reporters, the department shall provide specific information related to the recognition and reporting of child abuse on its internet website in forms, including, but not limited to, the following:

Information shall be pertinent to both mandatory and permissive reporters and shall address an array of topics, including, but not limited to, the following:

  • Conduct constituting child abuse under this chapter
  • Persons classified as mandated reporters
  • Reporting requirements and procedures
  • The basis for making a report of suspected child abuse
  • Penalties for failure to report
  • Background clearance requirements for individuals who work or volunteer with children
  • Recognition of the signs and symptoms of child abuse
  • Alternative resources to assist with concerns not related to child abuse

Reporting by Other Persons
Citation: Cons. Stat. Tit. 23, § 6312

Any person may make an oral or written report of suspected child abuse, which may be submitted electronically, if that person has reasonable cause to suspect that a child is a victim of child abuse. 

Institutional Responsibility to Report
Citation: Cons. Stat. Tit. 23, § 6311

Whenever a person is required to report in the capacity as a member of the staff of a medical or other public or private institution, school, facility, or agency, that person shall report immediately in accordance with § 6313 and shall immediately thereafter notify the person in charge of the institution, school, facility, or agency, or the designated agent of the person in charge. Upon notification, the person in charge or the designated agent, if any, shall facilitate the cooperation of the institution, school, facility, or agency with the investigation of the report. Any intimidation, retaliation, or obstruction in the investigation of the report is subject to the provisions of title 18, § 4958 (relating to intimidation, retaliation, or obstruction in child abuse cases). This chapter does not require more than one report from any such institution, school, facility, or agency. 

Standards for Making a Report
Citation: Cons. Stat. Tit. 23, § 6311

A mandated reporter shall make a report of suspected child abuse if they have reasonable cause to suspect that a child is a victim of child abuse under any of the following circumstances:

  • The mandated reporter encounters the child in the course of employment, occupation, and practice of a profession or through a regularly scheduled program, activity, or service.
  • The mandated reporter is directly responsible for the care, supervision, guidance, or training of the child or is affiliated with an agency, institution, organization, school, regularly established church or religious organization, or other entity that is directly responsible for the care, supervision, guidance, or training of the child.
  • A person makes a specific disclosure to the mandated reporter that an identifiable child is the victim of child abuse.
  • An individual aged 14 or older makes a specific disclosure to the mandated reporter that the individual has committed child abuse.

Nothing in this section shall require a child to come before the mandated reporter for the mandated reporter to make a report of suspected child abuse. Nothing in this section shall require the mandated reporter to identify the person responsible for the child abuse to make a report of suspected child abuse. 

Privileged Communications
Citation: Cons. Stat. Tit. 23, § 6311.1

The privileged communications between a mandated reporter and a patient or client of the mandated reporter shall not apply to a situation involving child abuse nor relieve the mandated reporter of the duty to make a report of suspected child abuse.

The following protections shall apply:

  • Confidential communications made to a member of the clergy are protected under title 42, § 5943 (relating to confidential communications to clergymen).
  • Confidential communications made to an attorney are protected so long as they are within the scope of title 42, § 5916 (relating to confidential communications to an attorney) and § 5928 (relating to confidential communications to an attorney), the attorney work product doctrine, or the rules of professional conduct for attorneys.

Inclusion of the Reporter's Name in the Report
Citation: Cons. Stat. Tit. 23, § 6313

A written report of suspected child abuse, which may be submitted electronically, shall include the name, telephone number, and email address of the person making the report. 

Disclosure of the Reporter's Identity
Citation: Cons. Stat. Tit. 23, § 6340

Upon a written request, a subject of a report may receive a copy of all information, except for the identity of the person who made the report.

Except for reports released to law enforcement officials and the district attorney's office, and in response to a law enforcement official investigating allegations of false reports under title 18, § 4906.1 (relating to false reports of child abuse), the release of data that would identify the person who made a report of suspected child abuse or who cooperated in a subsequent investigation is prohibited. Law enforcement officials shall treat all reporting sources as confidential informants.