How do I report suspected Child Abuse in Pennsylvania?
Call ChildLine at 1-800-932-0313
If a child is being actively abused or is in immediate danger, call 9-1-1.
Do I have to know for sure that the child was abused?
NO. Your responsibility is to make the report when you suspect a child is abused.
Generally, in the interest of protecting children and avoiding liability for failure to make a mandated report, it is better to err on the side of making a report.
Keep in mind that you are not liable as long as you act in good faith.
Mandated reporters are required by law to report suspected child abuse immediately to Pennsylvania’s Childline (1-800-932-0313).
Mandated reporters are certain adults, who are legally required to report suspected child abuse if they have reasonable cause to suspect that a child is a victim of child abuse.
Mandated reporters include: doctors, nurses, other hospital personnel, dentists, psychiatrists, psychologists, public health department personnel, police officers, sheriffs, county detectives, court officials, social services workers, child care workers, clergy, teachers, principals, school nurses, school counselors, school administration, and anyone who as part of his or her job has contact with children.
What could happen to me if I don’t report?
A mandated reporter who is convicted of willfully failing to report or refer suspected child abuse is guilty of a misdemeanor of the third degree. A second or subsequent offense is a misdemeanor of the second degree.
The maximum penalty for a misdemeanor of the third degree is $2,500 and/or one year in jail; for a misdemeanor of the second degree it is $5,000 and/or two years in jail.
What happens next?
Childline referrals are forwarded to child abuse investigators at both the Upper Allen Police Department and Cumberland County Children and Youth Services. The detective and caseworker will jointly begin an immediate investigation.
The investigators may choose to utilize services at the UPMC Child Advocacy Center (CAC). The CAC brings together investigators, advocates, forensic interviewers, medical, and mental health professionals to care for the child and family. The CAC’s centralized approach is designed to provide a more efficient, accurate, and less traumatic investigation for the child.