Recent legislation changed the legal requirements for child care providers related to suspected child abuse and neglect. Facilities with clearances issued before 12/31/14 that are less than 36 months old need new clearances 36 months from the previous clearance date. New clearances are required by 12/31/15 if clearances are more than 36 months old. New applicants’ clearances must be no more than 3 months old. Also, the clearance requirements apply to family or group home staff and to anyone in the household who is 18 years of age or older. All staff members who have any contact with children and were hired before 12/31/14 must complete state-approved child abuse training by 7/1/2015. Those hired after 12/31/14 must complete training within 90 days of hiring. Use the new website, Keep Kids Safe PA to access key resources about child abuse and neglect. If you are reading a print copy of this newsletter, note that the URL is http://keepkidssafe.pa.gov/. This website has a link for mandated reporters to make reports of suspected child abuse electronically. Electronic reporting is preferable. Go to www.compass.state.pa.us/cwis. If you can’t report electronically, you can report by phone at 800-932-0313 and then you must follow-up by submitting the state’s CY 47 form.
The state’s Keep Kids Safe PA website lists state-approved sources of required training. It explains how to get child abuse clearance and offers two state forms: the CY-113, the child abuse history clearance and the CY-47, the written report of suspected child abuse. Child care providers are mandatory reporters. The penalties for failure to report suspected child abuse can be severe.
The new laws protect child abuse reporters. They encourage and support reporting suspected child abuse and neglect electronically to improve the efficient use and tracking of child abuse data. KeepKidsSafe.pa.gov has a link to the Child Welfare Information Gateway. The Gateway is a jointly sponsored service of three federal government agencies. Explore the Gateway website’s many excellent publications in English and Spanish. Search for a topic in the Gateway’s well-stocked catalog of publications at https://www.childwelfare.gov/catalog/. You can download free fact sheets, references and research information about child abuse and neglect.
In March, ECELS submitted for state approval an updated, online, video-based, interactive Child Abuse and Neglect self-learning module and a workshop curriculum. The content matches the state’s current criteria for required training. ECELS will send an Email Alert as soon as the state review/approval process is complete. At that time, these ECELS training options should appear on the KeepKidsSafe.pa.gov list of approved child abuse trainings. Be sure you have signed up at www.ecels-healthychildcarepa.org to receive Email Alerts from ECELS.