2014 Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes
Title 23 - DOMESTIC RELATIONS
Chapter 63 - Child Protective Services
Section 6375 - County agency requirements for general protective services
§ 6375. County agency requirements for general protective services.
(a) Duties of county agency.--The county agency shall make available a program of general protective services within each agency. The county agency shall perform those functions assigned by this chapter and others that would further the purposes of this chapter. It shall have sufficient staff of sufficient qualifications to fulfill the purposes of this chapter and be organized in a way as to maximize the continuity of responsibility, care and service of individual workers toward individual children and families. The department by regulation shall set forth staff-to-family ratios for the receipt and assessment of reports of children in need of protective services and for the provision of services to neglected children and their families.
(b) Organization of county agency.--Each county agency shall be organized and staffed to ensure that the agency can provide intake for general protective services. Intake occurs when a report or referral is made to the agency or when a parent or person responsible for the child's welfare requests the assistance of the agency.
(c) Assessment for services.--
(1) Within 60 days of receipt of a report, an assessment shall be completed and a decision on whether to accept the family for service shall be made. The county agency shall provide or arrange for services necessary to protect the child during the assessment period.
(1.1) The county agency shall immediately notify the department upon the completion of the assessment whether the report was determined to be valid or invalid and whether the family was accepted for services or referred to community services.
(1.2) The county agency shall immediately notify the department upon the closure of services for a child or family that has been accepted for services.
(2) Each county agency shall implement a State-approved risk assessment process in performance of its duties.
(d) Receiving and assessing reports.--The county agency shall be the sole civil agency responsible for receiving and assessing all reports of children in need of protective services made pursuant to this chapter for the purpose of providing protective services to prevent abuse or neglect to children and to provide or arrange for and monitor the provision of those services necessary to safeguard and ensure the child's well-being and development and to preserve and stabilize family life wherever appropriate. The department may waive the receipt and assessment requirement pursuant to section 6361 (relating to organization for child protective services). Nothing in this subsection limits 42 Pa.C.S. § 6304 (relating to powers and duties of probation officers).
(e) Family service plan.--The county agency shall prepare a written family service plan in accordance with regulations adopted by the department.
(f) Types of services.--Each county agency shall make available for the prevention and treatment of child abuse and neglect: multidisciplinary teams, instruction and education for parenthood and parenting skills, protective and preventive social counseling, emergency caretaker services, emergency shelter care, emergency medical services, part-day services, out-of-home placement services, therapeutic activities for the child and family directed at alleviating conditions that present a risk to the safety and well-being of a child and any other services required by department regulations.
(g) Monitoring, evaluating and assessing.--The county agency shall frequently monitor the provision of services, evaluate the effectiveness of the services, conduct in-home visits and make a periodic assessment of the risk of harm to the child, which shall include maintaining an annually updated photograph of the child and verification of the identification of the child.
(h) Emergency coverage.--As part of its general protective services program, a county agency shall provide 24-hour-a-day emergency coverage and be accessible to the public.
(i) Protective custody.--Pursuant to section 6315 (relating to taking child into protective custody) and after receipt of a court order, the county agency shall take a child into protective custody to protect the child from abuse or further neglect. No county agency worker may take custody of a child without judicial authorization based on the merits of the situation.
(j) Court action.--If the county agency determines that protective services are in the best interest of a child and if an offer of those services is refused or if any other reason exists to warrant court action, the county agency shall initiate the appropriate court proceedings.
(k) Adjudication of dependency.--The county agency shall maintain its responsibility for petitioning the court when necessary for the adjudication of dependency of a child pursuant to 42 Pa.C.S. Ch. 63 (relating to juvenile matters).
(l) Assistance to court.--The county agency shall assist the court during all stages of a court proceeding in accordance with the purposes of this chapter.
(m) Weekly face-to-face contacts.--For those children assessed under this section as being at high risk for abuse or neglect who are remaining in or returning to the home in which the abuse or neglect occurred, the county agency shall ensure that those children are seen at least once a week, either directly by a county agency worker or through purchase of service, until they are no longer assessed as being at high risk for abuse or neglect.
(n) Transfer of files between county agencies.--Whenever a county agency transfers to another county agency a file relating to a child who receives or is in need of protective services under this chapter, the file shall include any photographic identification and an annual photograph taken of the child.
(o) Availability of information.--Information related to reports of a child in need of general protective services shall be available to individuals and entities to the extent they are authorized to receive information under section 6340 (relating to release of information in confidential reports).
(Dec. 16, 1994, P.L.1292, No.151; Nov. 24, 1999, P.L.542, No.50, eff. 60 days; Oct. 27, 2006, P.L.1192, No.126, eff. 60 days; Dec. 18, 2013, P.L.1167, No.107, eff. Jan. 1, 2014; Apr. 7, 2014, P.L.388, No.29, eff. Dec. 31, 2014)
2014 Amendment. Act 29 amended subsec. (c).
2013 Amendment. Act 107 added subsec. (o). See section 6 of Act 107 in the appendix to this title for special provisions relating to applicability.
2006 Amendment. Act 126 amended subsec. (g) and added subsec. (n). Section 3 of Act 126 provided that the Department of Public Welfare may promulgate rules and regulations to administer and enforce the amendment of section 6375 effected by Act 126.
1999 Amendment. Act 50 added subsec. (m).
1994 Amendment. Act 151 added section 6375, effective July 1, 1997, except as to subsec. (c)(2). See section 10(1) of Act 151 in the appendix to this title for special provisions relating to the effective date of subsec. (c)(2).
References in Text. The Department of Public Welfare, referred to in this section, was redesignated as the Department of Human Services by Act 132 of 2014.
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