Expected to Pass This Week, Bill Will Broaden Scope of Mandated Reporters

Apr 9, 2014

A plethora of legislation was proposed in the aftermath of the Sandusky Penn State sex abuse case. One of the most comprehensive bills is expected to pass this week.

Senate Bill 21 will broaden the scope of mandated reporters when it comes to child abuse – and hold them more accountable.

Mandated reporters are those who have contact with children, anyone from a public library employee to clergy to a medical examiner. These reporters would be required to alert law enforcement when they suspect a child is being abused.

“They now have to report it they are required to report it, they can report to their superiors but they need to report to the DPW, to protective child services who will then investigate or to the police," said Senator Kim Ward, a Republican from Westmoreland County who proposed this bill. "They have to report this.”

She says she is saddened that this has to be written into law.

There are more than a dozen measures in this package. Other bills that will or have been signed in update the meaning of abuse and strengthen law enforcement. Another will terminate the Drug Abuse Resistance Education fund and redirects that money to the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency for grants to child advocacy centers.