Reporting of Child Abuse

In 2015 amendments to the Child Protective Services Law (CPSL) became effective throughout the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The CPSL amendments expanded the list of mandated reporters of child abuse.  Failure to report suspected child abuse is a crime.

At the outset, it is important to note that “child abuse” is not limited to sexual abuse. It includes inflicting, or creating a likelihood of serious bodily injury, serious mental injury, sexual abuse or exploitation, serious physical neglect or medical abuse. A “child” is any individual who is under the age of 18.  According to the laws, an act or failure to act, resulting in bodily injury must have occurred within the last TWO years.

Adherence by Church personnel to the expanded reporting mandates is a vital part of the Church’s efforts to prevent the abuse of children. The Diocese of Scranton urges that all Church personnel resolve any questions about the application or interpretation of the law in favor of reporting.

Among the occupations specifically listed in CPSL as mandated reporters are many associated with Catholic institutions: clergy, teachers, day-care personnel, social service workers, school administrators, school nurses, foster-care workers, health care personnel and mental health workers.

Other types of Church personnel who are considered mandated reporters are religious education instructors, parish and school administrative personnel, music ministers, child-care personnel, youth ministers, athletic coaches, food service personnel, classroom aides, playground monitors, and Girl Scout and Boy Scout leaders.

Resources

  1. Diocese of Scranton Mandated Reporter Training Policy
  2. Mandated Reporter Live Training Schedule
  3. Reporting Abuse (Flow Chart for Mandated Reporters)
  4. Link to Keep Kids Safe Resource for reporting child abuse and neglect
  5. Link to Frequently Asked Questions about reporting child abuse
  6. Contact Information – County Children and Youth Agencies