Changes in the Child Protective Services Law (CPSL)

CHANGES TO CPSL- ABUSE AND NEGLECT DEFINITION

Add under Abuse & Neglect Definition (under Recognizing Child Abuse & Neglect):

On 10/28/2016 Senate Bill 1311 was signed, making it Act 115 of 2016.  This Act added Engaging a child in a severe form of trafficking in persons or sex trafficking as a form of child abuse.  This type of child abuse includes both sex trafficking and labor trafficking of children.    
• Child Sex Trafficking: Any child under the age of 18 who is induced to engage in commercial sex is a victim of sex trafficking.  Examples of sex trafficking of children includes prostitution, pornography, and sex tourism.  (https://www.childwelfare.gov)

• Child Labor Trafficking is the use of force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose of subjection in involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery.  Examples of labor trafficking include agricultural or domestic service workers who are underpaid or not paid at all, physically abusive traveling sales crews that force children to sell legal items (e.g., magazines) or illegal items (e.g., drugs) or to beg, and workers in restaurants and hair and nail salons who are abused, confined, and/or not paid. (https://www.childwelfare.gov)


Add under Recognizing Child Abuse:

Indicators of Child Sex Trafficking – Child
(Innocence Lost Working Group, 2010 - http://www.missingkids.com/ en_US/documents/CCSE_Fact_Sheet.pdf)
• History of emotional, sexual, or other physical abuse
• Signs of current physical abuse and/or sexually transmitted diseases
• History of running away or current status as a runaway
• Inexplicable appearance of expensive gifts, clothing, cell phones, tattoos, or other costly items
• Presence of an older boyfriend or girlfriend
• Drug addiction
• Withdrawal or lack of interest in previous activities
• Gang involvement

Indicators of Child Labor Trafficking – Child
(http://www.polarisproject.org/human-trafficking/ recognizing-the-signs)
• No freedom to leave or come and go as desired
• No or very little pay, or payment only through tips
• Excessive and/or unusual work hours
• No breaks at work
• A large debt that cannot be paid off
• Recruitment through false promises concerning the nature and conditions of the work
• High security measures in the work and/or living locations
• Lack of knowledge of whereabouts and/or lost sense of time


CLARIFICATION ON CLEARANCES FOR VOLUNTEERS

House Bill 1276 was signed into law by Governor Wolf on July 1, 2015. Now known as Act 15 of 2015, the legislation amends the Child Protective Services Law (CPSL) by providing some clarity and some financial relief surrounding clearances (now called certifications). 

Since the enactment of the original 23 amendments, much confusion has existed over which adult volunteers need certifications. Agencies that are a child-care service as defined by the CPSL, schools and programs activities or services must ensure that certain volunteers submit certifications. Act 15 requires that those volunteers with “direct volunteer contact” or are responsible for the child’s welfare obtain certifications. "Direct volunteer contact" is defined as providing care, supervision, guidance or control of children and having regular and repeated contact with children. 

Each organization will need to assess the roles and responsibilities of its volunteers in determining who needs to have certifications. In making that determination, consideration must be given to whether a volunteer is responsible for the welfare of a child and to whether the volunteer is acting in lieu of or on behalf of a parent. If they are acting in lieu of or on behalf of a parent, they will need certifications. If the volunteer is not acting in lieu or behalf of the parent then consideration must be given to whether the volunteer has direct volunteer contact with children by providing care, supervision, guidance or control of children and have regular and repeated interaction with children. In considering the terms “care, supervision, guidance and control of children,” the common meanings of these terms should be used. 

Volunteers are required to obtain the child abuse history certification and the Pennsylvania criminal history certifications. The federal criminal history certification is required if the volunteer has lived in Pennsylvania less than ten years. If the volunteer has lived in Pennsylvania more than ten years, the volunteer must swear and affirm in writing that they are not disqualified from service based upon a conviction of an offense under §6344 of the CPSL. The website keepkidssafe.pa.gov has a sample form that can be used for this purpose. 

Additionally, as of July 25, 2015, volunteers can obtain the child abuse history certification and the Pennsylvania criminal history certifications at no cost. Those volunteers who need the federal criminal history certification will need to pay the fee of $25.75. Pennsylvania has no control over the federal fees. The effective date for volunteer certifications began August 25, 2015. This means that new volunteers as of August 25 will need the certifications. Current volunteers who have outdated certifications or who have never obtained certifications will need to obtain them by July 1, 2016. 

For additional information and forms, please click here.

UNDERSTANDING THE CHANGES TO CPSL

Significant changes were made to Pennsylvania’s Child Protective Services Law in 2013 and 2014. The following documents will help you identify these changes:

Act 31 Requirements for Training of Mandated Reporters

Act 31 requires child abuse recognition and reporting training for the following:

Mandated reporters who hold a health-related license under the Pennsylvania Department of State

  • Training approved by the licensing board in consultation with the Department of Human Services
  • Two hours of training for each licensing cycle

Article IX Licensed Child Care Facilities

The requirements below apply to operators of institutions, facilities or agencies that care for children and are subject to supervision by the Department of Human Services (DHS) under Article IX of the Public Welfare Code, and their employees who have direct contact with children.

  • Operators must have three hours of training no later than June 30, 2015, and prior to the issuance of a license. Three hours of training is required every five years thereafter.
  • Employees who have direct contact with children must have three hours of training within six months of the issuance of a license. Three hours of training is required every five years thereafter.
  • New employees must have three hours of training within 90 days of hire.
  • Training must be approved by DHS.

Foster parents

  • Foster parents must have three hours of training within six months of the issuance of a license. Three hours of training is required every five years thereafter.
  • New foster parents must have three hours of training within 90 days of approval.
  • Training must be approved by DHS.

Article X Licensed Child Care Facilities

The requirements below apply to operators of facilities and agencies that care for children and are subject to licensure by the DHS under Article X of the Public Welfare Code and their employees who have direct contact with children.

  • Operators must have three hours of training no later than June 30, 2015, and prior to the issuance of a license. Three hours of training is required every five years thereafter.
  • Employees who have direct contact with children must have three hours of training within six months of the issuance of a license. Three hours of training is required every five years thereafter.
  • New employees must have three hours of training within 90 days of hire.
  • Training must be approved by DHS.

Caregivers in Subarticle (c) of Article X Facilities

The below requirements apply to caregivers in family day care homes that 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.

  • Operators must have three hours of training no later than June 30, 2015, and prior to the issuance of a license. Three hours of training is required every five years thereafter.
  • Training must be approved by DHS.

Read Act 31.

About PFSA's Training

The Recognizing and Reporting Child Abuse training provided by Pennsylvania Family Support Alliance (PFSA) is approved by the Department of Human Services, the Department of State and the Department of Education.

Further Information

For further information about the training requirement, please contact:

Act 126

Act 126 requires training for school employees. Read the requirements of this Act.

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