My local newspaper informs me that Governor Corbett signed into law HB 431 436 and SB 21 and 33 into law today. The paper reports what this means:
“Senate Bill 21 ensures that virtually anyone who works with children in a professional or volunteer capacity, including school personnel, personnel at colleges and universities, youth sports coaches, child care providers, religious leaders, physicians and other health care workers, social services workers, law enforcement officers, librarians, emergency medical service providers and employees and independent contractors for each of those entities are required to report suspected child abuse.
“House Bill 436,” Stephens continued, “adds attorneys for organizations caring for children to this list of reporters, while preserving the attorney client privilege, bringing Pennsylvania in line with a majority of states across the U.S.”
So, anyone who works with or volunteers with children is now considered a mandatory reporter. Attorneys who work for those organizations who serve children cannot keep quiet when child abuse is reported to them. Mental health and other health professionals continue to be mandated reporters when potentially abused children present to them or their colleagues.
Besides expanding who is mandated to report suspected child abuse, HB431 also now requires evidence of 3 hours of training on child abuse recognition and reporting for all seeking PA licenses AND evidence of 2 hours of continuing education on the same subject for all who seek to renew their PA licenses. 30 CE hours are still the minimum required per licensing period, but now 2 of those 30 must be about child abuse recognition and reporting. Not sure if that means the existing mandate to take at least 3 hours in ethics will be on top of the 2 for child abuse reporting or if the 2 for child abuse reporting will count towards the 3 in ethics.