2014 Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes
Title 23 - DOMESTIC RELATIONS
Chapter 63 - Child Protective Services
Section 6383 - Education and training

23 PA Cons Stat § 6383 (2014) What's This?

§ 6383. Education and training.

(a) Duties of department and county agencies.--The department and each county agency, both jointly and individually, shall conduct a continuing publicity and education program for the citizens of this Commonwealth 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. In addition, the department shall, by regulation, establish a program of training and certification for persons classified as protective services workers. The regulations shall provide for the grandfathering of all current permanent protective services workers as certified protective services workers. Upon request by the county agency and approval of the department, the agency may conduct the training of the county's protective services workers.

(a.1) Study by department.--The department shall conduct a study to determine the extent of the reporting of suspected child abuse in this Commonwealth where the reports upon investigation are determined to be unfounded and to be knowingly false and maliciously reported or it is believed that a minor was persuaded to make or substantiate a false and malicious report. The department shall submit the report to the Governor, General Assembly and Attorney General no later than June 1, 1996. The report shall include the department's findings and recommendations on how to reduce the incidence of knowingly false and malicious reporting.

(a.2) Information for mandated and permissive reporters.--

(1) In addition to the requirements of subsection (a), 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:

(i) Website content.

(ii) Printable booklets and brochures.

(iii) Educational videos.

(iv) Internet-based interactive training exercises.

(2) Information shall be pertinent to both mandated and permissive reporters and shall address topics, including, but not limited to:

(i) Conduct constituting child abuse under this chapter.

(ii) Persons classified as mandated reporters.

(iii) Reporting requirements and procedures.

(iv) The basis for making a report of suspected child abuse.

(v) Penalties for failure to report.

(vi) Background clearance requirements for individuals who work or volunteer with children.

(vii) Recognition of the signs and symptoms of child abuse.

(viii) Alternative resources to assist with concerns not related to child abuse.

(3) The department shall include the following with all certifications provided pursuant to section 6344(b)(2) (relating to employees having contact with children; adoptive and foster parents):

(i) Information that certain persons are required by law to report suspected child abuse.

(ii) The Internet address where the information and guidance required by this subsection can be obtained.

(iii) A telephone number and mailing address where guidance materials can be requested by individuals who cannot access the department's Internet website.

(4) The department shall implement this subsection within 180 days of the effective date of this subsection.

(b) Duties of Department of State.--

(1) The Department of State shall make training and educational programs and materials available for all professional licensing boards whose licensees are charged with responsibilities for reporting child abuse under this chapter with a program of distributing educational materials to all licensees.

(2) Each licensing board with jurisdiction over professional licensees identified as mandated reporters under this chapter shall promulgate regulations within one year of the effective date of this subsection on the responsibilities of mandated reporters. These regulations shall clarify that the provisions of this chapter take precedence over any professional standard that might otherwise apply in order to protect children from abuse.

(3) Each licensing board with jurisdiction over professional licensees identified as mandated reporters under this chapter shall:

(i) Require all persons applying for a license or certification issued by the licensing board to submit documentation acceptable to the licensing board of the completion of at least three hours of approved child abuse recognition and reporting training. Training shall address, but shall not be limited to, recognition of the signs of child abuse and the reporting requirements for suspected child abuse in this Commonwealth. Training shall be approved by the department. The training may occur as part of the continuing education requirement of the license.

(ii) Require all persons applying for the renewal of a license or certification issued by the licensing board to submit documentation acceptable to the licensing board of the completion of at least two hours of approved continuing education per licensure cycle. Continuing education shall address, but shall not be limited to, recognition of the signs of child abuse and the reporting requirements for suspected child abuse in this Commonwealth. Continuing education curricula shall be approved by the licensing board in consultation with the department. The two hours of continuing education on child abuse recognition and reporting shall be completed by each licensee as a portion of the total continuing education required for biennial license renewal.

(4) A licensing board with jurisdiction over professional licensees identified as mandated reporters under this chapter may exempt an applicant or licensee from the training or continuing education required by paragraph (3) if all of the following apply:

(i) The applicant or licensee submits documentation acceptable to the licensing board that the person has already completed child abuse recognition training.

(ii) The training was:

(A) required by section 1205.6 of the act of March 10, 1949 (P.L.30, No.14), known as the Public School Code of 1949, and the training program was approved by the Department of Education in consultation with the department; or

(B) required by the act of June 13, 1967 (P.L.31, No.21), known as the Public Welfare Code, and the training program was approved by the department.

(iii) The amount of training received equals or exceeds the amount of training or continuing education required by paragraph (3).

(5) Upon biennial renewal of a license, a licensing board shall provide to professional licensees under its jurisdiction identified as mandated reporters information related to mandatory reporting of child abuse and the reporting requirements of licensees.

(6) A professional licensee identified as a mandated reporter may apply to the licensing board with jurisdiction over the licensee for an exemption from the training or continuing education required by paragraph (3). A licensing board may exempt the licensee if the licensee submits documentation acceptable to the licensing board that the licensee should not be subject to the training or continuing education requirement.

(c) Training of persons subject to department regulation.--

(1) The following persons shall be required to meet the child abuse recognition and reporting training requirements of this subsection:

(i) Operators of institutions, facilities or agencies which care for children and are subject to supervision by the department under Article IX of the Public Welfare Code, and their employees who have direct contact with children.

(ii) Foster parents.

(iii) Operators of facilities and agencies which care for children and are subject to licensure by the department under Article X of the Public Welfare Code and their employees who have direct contact with children.

(iv) Caregivers in family day care homes which are subject to registration by the department under Subarticle (c) of Article X of the Public Welfare Code and their employees who have direct contact with children.

(2) Within six months of the effective date of this subsection, operators and caregivers shall receive three hours of training prior to the issuance of a license, approval or registration certificate and three hours of training every five years thereafter.

(3) Employees who have direct contact with children and foster parents shall receive three hours of training within six months of the issuance of a license, approval or registration certificate and three hours of training every five years thereafter. New employees and new foster parents shall receive three hours of training within 90 days of hire or approval as a foster parent and three hours of training every five years thereafter.

(4) Training curriculum shall be approved by the department and shall address, but not be limited to, the following:

(i) Recognition of the signs of abuse and reporting requirements for suspected abuse in this Commonwealth.

(ii) For institutions, facilities and agencies under paragraph (1)(i), their policies related to reporting of suspected abuse.

(5) A person may be exempted from the requirements of this subsection if all of the following apply:

(i) The person provides documentation that the person has already completed child abuse recognition and reporting training.

(ii) The training was:

(A) required by section 1205.6 of the Public School Code of 1949, and the training program was approved by the Department of Education in consultation with the department; or

(B) required by this chapter and the training program was approved by the department.

(iii) The amount of training received equals or exceeds the amount of training required by this subsection.

(d) Definitions.--As used in this section, the following words and phrases shall have the meanings given to them in this subsection unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:

"Direct contact with children." The care, supervision, guidance or control of children or routine interaction with children.

"Operator." An executive or facility director. The term does not include a person who is not involved in managerial decisions related to the provision of services for or care of children with regard to any of the following:

(1) Personnel.

(2) Policy and procedures.

(3) Regulatory compliance.

(4) Services related to the general or medical care of children.

(5) Supervision of children.

(6) Safety of children.

23c6383v

(Dec. 16, 1994, P.L.1292, No.151; Dec. 9, 2002, P.L.1549, No.201, eff. 60 days; Apr. 15, 2014, P.L.411, No.31, eff. Dec. 31, 2014; Apr. 15, 2014, P.L.417, No.33, eff. Dec. 31, 2014; Oct. 22, 2014, P.L.2529, No.153, eff. Dec. 31, 2014)

2014 Amendments. Act 31 added subsecs. (b)(3), (4), (5) and (6), (c) and (d), Act 33 added subsec. (a.2) and Act 153 amended subsec. (a.2). Section 2 of Act 31 provided that the amendment shall apply to persons applying for a license, certification, approval or registration, or for the renewal of a license, certification, approval or registration, on or after January 1, 2015.

2002 Amendment. Act 201 amended subsec. (a).

Cross References. Section 6383 is referred to in section 6509 of this title.

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