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Child Abuse/Neglect & Making a Report

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What is Child Abuse and Neglect?

 “Abuse” means any willful act that results in any physical, mental, or sexual injury that causes or is likely to cause the child’s physical, mental, or emotional health to be significantly impaired. ( §415.503).

“Neglect” means a caregiver’s failure or omission to provide a child with the care, supervision and services necessary to maintain the child’s physical and mental health. Neglect is also the failure to protect a child from abuse, neglect, or exploitation by another person.

Reporting Child Abuse

  • As long as a person is acting in good faith (i.e.- not making a claim just to harass a person/family, etc):
    • The identity of any person whom reports child abuse (referral source) will always remain confidential
    • All referral sources  will have immunity from civil and criminal liability

       

Who can Report Child Abuse?

  • Permissive Reporter
    • Any person, acting in good faith, at any time may make a report of suspected abuse
  • Mandated Reporter
    • Any person that has contact with children, whether it be due to their course of employment, occupation or practice of their profession, and has reasonable cause to suspect, based on their medical, professional or other training and experience, that a child is a victim of abuse.
    • Who is a Mandated Reporter?
      • A licensed physician, medical examiner, coroner, funeral director, dentist, optometrist, osteopath, chiropractor, psychologist, podiatrist, intern, registered nurse or licensed practical nurse
      • Except confidential communications made to an ordained member of the clergy, the privileged communication between any professional person required to report and the patient/client of that person does not apply to situations involving child abuse and still requires the professional to report suspected abuse
      • Hospital personnel engaged in the admission, examination, care or treatment of persons
      • A Christian Science practitioner, member of the clergy, school administrator, school teacher, school nurse, social services worker, child care center staff or another child care or foster care worker, mental health professional, peace officer or law enforcement official

How to Report Child Abuse

  • If you are a Mandated Reporter, you MUST IMMEDIATELY call ChildLine with Child Protective Service (CPS) suspicions – any abuse involving physical, sexual or mental abuse with a child who is under 18 years of age
  • Permissive Reporters and all other referrals, please call:
    • Erie County OCY
      • 814-451-6600 or 1-800-352-0026 ext. 6600 (Mon – Fri: 830a – 5p)
      • 814-451-1503 (Mon – Thu 5p – 830a)
      • Also use this number on Weekends and Holidays
  • Questions you can expect to be asked when reporting
    • Name, age, address of child
    • Condition of child
    • Current whereabouts of child
    • Last time you saw the child & next time you will see child and your relationship with child
    • Parent’s names
    • Specifics of incident:  who/what/where/when/how
    • Alleged Perpetrator
    • Witnesses to incident
    • Language spoke in in the home
    • Knowledge of animals or weapons in the home
    • Does family know you are reporting?

Erie County Courthouse - 140 West Sixth Street, Erie, PA 16501 - (814) 451-6000 - TDD Phone: (814) 451-6237 - Hours: Monday through Friday, 8:00am to 4:30pm
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