Carnegie Mellon University

Pennsylvania Mandatory Reporting Laws

 

23 Pa. C.S.A. § 6303(b) – Definition of Child Abuse

 
The term “child abuse” shall mean intentionally, knowingly or recklessly doing any of the following:
 
     (1)  Causing bodily injury to a child through any recent act or failure to act.
 
     (2)  Fabricating, feigning or intentionally exaggerating or inducing a medical symptom or disease which results in a potentially harmful medical evaluation or treatment to the child through any recent act.
 
     (3)  Causing or substantially contributing to serious mental injury to a child through any act or failure to act or a series of such acts or failures to act.
 
     (4)  Causing sexual abuse or exploitation of a child through any act or failure to act.
 
     (5)  Creating a reasonable likelihood of bodily injury to a child through any recent act or failure to act.
 
     (6)  Creating a likelihood of sexual abuse or exploitation of a child through any recent act or failure to act.
 
     (7)  Causing serious physical neglect of a child.
 
     (8)  Engaging in any of the following recent acts:
          (i) Kicking, biting, throwing, burning, stabbing or cutting a child in a manner that endangers the child.
         (ii) Unreasonably restraining or confining a child, based on consideration of the method, location or the duration of the restraint or confinement.
         (iii) Forcefully shaking a child under one year of age.
         (iv) Forcefully slapping or otherwise striking a child under one year of age.
         (v) Interfering with the breathing of a child.
         (vi) Causing a child to be present at a location while a violation of 18 Pa.C.S. § 7508.2 (relating to operation of methamphetamine laboratory) is occurring, provided that the violation is being investigated by law enforcement.
        (vii) Leaving a child unsupervised with an individual, other than the child's parent, who the actor knows or reasonably should have known:
                    (A) Is required to register as a Tier II or Tier III sexual offender under 42 Pa.C.S. Ch. 97 Subch. H (relating to registration of sexual offenders),8 where the victim of   the sexual offense was under 18 years of age when the crime was committed.
                    (B) Has been determined to be a sexually violent predator under 42 Pa.C.S. § 9799.24 (relating to assessments) or any of its predecessors.
                    (C) Has been determined to be a sexually violent delinquent child as defined in 42 Pa.C.S. § 9799.12 (relating to definitions).
 
     (9)  Causing the death of the child through any act or failure to act.
 

23 Pa. C.S.A. § 6311 – Persons Required to Report Suspected Child Abuse

 

(a)  Mandated reporters.--

The following adults shall make a report of suspected child abuse, subject to subsection (b), if the person has reasonable cause to suspect that a child is a victim of child abuse:
     (1)       A person licensed or certified to practice in any health-related field under the jurisdiction of the Department of State.
     (2)       A medical examiner, coroner or funeral director.
     (3)       An employee of a health care facility or provider licensed by the Department of Health, who is engaged in the admission, examination, care or treatment of individuals.
     (4)       A school employee.
     (5)       An employee of a child-care service who has direct contact with children in the course of employment.
     (6)       A clergyman, priest, rabbi, minister, Christian Science practitioner, religious healer or spiritual leader of any regularly established church or other religious organization.
     (7)       An individual paid or unpaid, who, on the basis of the individual's role as an integral part of a regularly scheduled program, activity or service, accepts responsibility for a child.
     (8)       An employee of a social services agency who has direct contact with children in the course of employment.
     (9)       A peace officer or law enforcement official.
     (10)    An emergency medical services provider certified by the Department of Health.
     (11)    An employee of a public library who has direct contact with children in the course of employment.
     (12)    An individual supervised or managed by a person listed under paragraphs (1), (2), (3), (4), (5), (6), (7), (8), (9), (10) and (11), who has direct contact with children in the course of employment.
     (13)    An independent contractor.
     (14)    An attorney affiliated with an agency, institution, organization or other entity, including a school or regularly established religious organization that is responsible for the care, supervision, guidance or control of children.
     (15)    A foster parent.

(b)  Basis to report.--

     (1)       A mandated reporter enumerated in subsection (a) shall make a report of suspected child abuse in accordance with section 6313 (relating to reporting procedure), if the mandated reporter has reasonable cause to suspect that a child is a victim of child abuse under any of the following circumstances:

                                       i.     The mandated reporter comes into contact with the child in the course of employment, occupation and practice of a profession or through a regularly scheduled program, activity or service.

                                      ii.     The mandated reporter is directly responsible for the care, supervision, guidance or training of the child, or is affiliated with an agency, institution, organization, school, regularly established church or religious organization or other entity that is directly responsible for the care, supervision, guidance or training of the child.                                          

                                      iii.     A person makes a specific disclosure to the mandated reporter that an identifiable child is the victim of child abuse.

                                     iv.     An individual 14 years of age or older makes a specific disclosure to the mandated reporter that the individual has committed child abuse.

     (2)       Nothing in this section shall require a child to come before the mandated reporter in order for the mandated reporter to make a report of suspected child abuse.
     (3)       Nothing in this section shall require the mandated reporter to identify the person responsible for the child abuse to make a report of suspected child abuse.

 

(c)   Staff members of institutions, etc.--

Whenever a person is required to report under subsection (b) in the capacity as a member of the staff of a medical or other public or private institution, school, facility or agency, that person shall report immediately in accordance with section 6313 and shall immediately thereafter notify the person in charge of the institution, school, facility or agency or the designated agent of the person in charge. Upon notification, the person in charge or the designated agent, if any, shall facilitate the cooperation of the institution, school, facility or agency with the investigation of the report. Any intimidation, retaliation or obstruction in the investigation of the report is subject to the provisions of 18 Pa.C.S. § 4958 (relating to intimidation, retaliation or obstruction in child abuse cases). This chapter does not require more than one report from any such institution, school, facility or agency.
 

23 Pa. C.S.A. § 6312 – Persons Encouraged to Report Suspected Child Abuse


 
Any person may make an oral or written report of suspected child abuse, which may be submitted electronically, or cause a report of suspected child abuse to be made to the department, county agency or law enforcement, if that person has reasonable cause to suspect that a child is a victim of child abuse.
 

23 Pa. C.S.A. § 6313 – Reporting Procedure

 

(a)  Report by mandated reporter.—

     (1)       A mandated reporter shall immediately make an oral report of suspected child abuse to the department via the Statewide toll-free telephone number under section 6332 (relating to establishment of Statewide toll-free telephone number) or a written report using electronic technologies under section 6305 (relating to electronic reporting).
     (2)       A mandated reporter making an oral report under paragraph (1) of suspected child abuse shall also make a written report, which may be submitted electronically, within 48 hours to the department or county agency assigned to the case in a manner and format prescribed by the department.
     (3)       The failure of the mandated reporter to file the report under paragraph (2) shall not relieve the county agency from any duty under this chapter, and the county agency shall proceed as though the mandated reporter complied with paragraph (2).


(b)  Contents of report.--

A written report of suspected child abuse, which may be submitted electronically, shall include the following information, if known:
     (1)       The names and addresses of the child, the child's parents and any other person responsible for the child's welfare.
     (2)       Where the suspected abuse occurred.
     (3)       The age and sex of each subject of the report.
     (4)       The nature and extent of the suspected child abuse, including any evidence of prior abuse to the child or any sibling of the child.
     (5)       The name and relationship of each individual responsible for causing the suspected abuse and any evidence of prior abuse by each individual.
     (6)       Family composition.
     (7)       The source of the report.
     (8)        The name, telephone number and e-mail address of the person making the report.
     (9)       The actions taken by the person making the report, including those actions taken under section 6314 (relating to photographs, medical tests and X-rays of child subject to report), 6315 (relating to taking child into protective custody), 6316 (relating to admission to private and public hospitals) or 6317 (relating to mandatory reporting and postmortem investigation of deaths).
    (10)    Any other information required by Federal law or regulation.
    (11)    Any other information that the department requires by regulation.
 


(c)   & (d) Repealed by 2014, April 15, P.L. 417, No. 33, § 2, effective Dec. 31, 2014.
 
(d)  Applicability of Mental Health Procedures Act.--

Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a mandated reporter enumerated under section 6311 (relating to persons required to report suspected child abuse) who makes a report of suspected child abuse pursuant to this section or who makes a report of a crime against a child to law enforcement officials shall not be in violation of the act of July 9, 1976 (P.L. 817, No. 143), known as the Mental Health Procedures Act, by releasing information necessary to complete the report.