Child Protective Services Laws

Since 2013, legislation has been enacted, changing the manner in which Pennsylvania responds to child abuse. These changes will significantly impact the reporting, investigating, assessment, prosecution, and judicial handling of child abuse and neglect cases. These new laws expand and further define mandated reporters and the reporting process, increase penalties for those mandated to report suspected child abuse who fail to do so, and provide protections from employment discrimination for filing a good faith report of child abuse.

View the complete Child Protective Services Laws

Act BillSponsorSummaryEffective Date
Act 105 of 2013HB 321Toepel

Amends Title 42 (Judiciary and Judicial Procedure) the Pennsylvania Commission on Sentencing shall provide a sentence enhancement within its guidelines for offenses involving sexual abuse of children specifying variations from the range of sentences applicable based on such aggravating circumstances as the age of the child, the number of images possessed by the defendant and the nature and character of the abuse depicted in the images.

Jan. 1, 2014
Act 107 of 2013HB 414O'Neill

Amends Title 21 (Domestic Relations) and 42 (Judiciary) factors relating to child abuse shall be considered when awarding custody.

Jan. 1, 2014
Act 108 of 2013HB 726Petri

Amends Title 23 (Domestic Relations) updating the definition of "child abuse" in numerous ways.

Dec. 31, 2014
Act 116 of 2013HB 1594Regan

Amends Title 18 (Crimes and Offenses) to further provide for definitions and for grading of the offense of luring a child.

Feb. 16, 2014
Act 117 of 2013SB 23L. Baker

Amends Title 23 (Domestic Relations) redefining "perpetrator." The act also details the process for record expungement for a perpetrator who is under 18 years of age.

Dec. 31, 2014
Act 118 of 2013SB 28Browne

Amends Titles 18 (Crimes and Offenses) providing for the offense of simple assault and for the offense of aggravated assault to include injury to a child; in falsification and intimidation, providing an offense for the offense of false reports of child abuse and an offense for intimidation or retaliation in child abuse cases. The legislation further provides for an offense of an obstruction of an investigation.

Jan. 1, 2014
Act 119 of 2013SB 30Erickson

Amends Title 23 (Domestic Relations) provides for immunity for persons or enumerated entities reporting suspected child abuse in good faith. This also details a hearing requirement and process for expunction of records.

July 1, 2014 
Section 6303 (definition of child care services) will become effective Dec. 31, 2014.
Act 120 of 2013SB 34Smucker

Amends Educator Discipline Act by expanding the bases for discipline to include founded and indicated reports of child abuse as well as "grooming" behaviors such as sending a student sexually explicit text messages.

Feb. 16, 2014
Act 123 of 2013SB 1116Washington

The act details the requirements of a multidisciplinary review team and a multidisciplinary investigative team, who are tasked with different functions when looking into suspected child abuse by a perpetrator.

Jan. 1, 2014
Act 4 of 2014SB 29Vance

Amends Title 23 (Domestic Relations), providing for mandatory reporting of infants by requiring a health care provider to immediately make a report if the provider is involved in the delivery or care of a child under one year of age who is born and identified as being affected by any of the following: (1) Illegal substance abuse by the child's mother; (2) Withdrawal symptoms resulting from prenatal drug exposure; or (3) A Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder.

April 22, 2014
Act 27 of 2014HB 89Marsico

Ends the DARE fund at the end of FY 2012-2013. All remaining funds in the DARE fund shall be transferred to the PCCD for enumerated purposes as they relate to the funding of child advocacy centers.

June 6, 2014
Act 28 of 2014HB 316Harhart

Department of Health must double the fee to get a certified copy of a birth record to $20. For the fiscal year 2014-15, 50 percent of the fee shall be transferred to the DPW for training of mandated reporters of child abuse and child abuse related costs. Beginning in fiscal year 2015-16, 25 percent of that allocation shall be used by DPW for training of mandated reporters and 75 percent shall be used by the PCCD for grants for child advocacy centers and multidisciplinary investigative teams.

July 1, 2014
Act 29 of 2014SB 24Vulakovich

Amends Title 23 (Domestic Relations), providing for electronic reporting and for the establishment of Statewide database/central register.

Dec. 31, 2014
Act 31 of 2014HB 431Gingrich

Amends Title 23 (Domestic Relations) providing for education and training by requiring child abuse recognition and reporting training for certain mandated reporters.

Dec. 31, 2014
Act 32 of 2014HB 436Stephens

Amends Title 23 (Domestic Relations) certain attorneys are required to report suspected child abuse and for privilege communications. Also increases penalties for failure by mandated reporters to report child abuse.

Penalties effective on June 14, 2014. Attorneys as mandated reporters effective Dec. 31, 2014.
Act 33 of 2014SB 21Ward

Amends Title 23 (Domestic Relations), outlines those persons who are required to report suspected child abuse and those who are encouraged to report suspected child abuse, provides for the procedure of making the report.

Dec. 31, 2014
Act 34 of 2014SB 33Mensch

Amends Title 23 (Domestic Relations), provides whistleblower protections for individuals that file a good faith report of child abuse.

Dec. 31, 2014
Act 44 of 2014SB 31Fontana

Amends Title 23 (Domestic Relations) repealing provisions relating to definitions of school employees, administration, investigation, and reporting responsibilities of schools.

Dec. 31, 2014
Act 45 of 2014HB 434Maloney

Amends Title 23 (Domestic Relations) providing for expunction of information of perpetrator under the age of 18 and for background checks for employment in schools.

Dec. 31, 2014
Act 56 of 2014HB 112Vereb

Amends Titles 18 (Crimes and Offenses) and 42 (Judiciary and Judicial Procedure), providing for the offense of sexual assault by sports official, volunteer or employee of nonprofit association; and, in sentencing, further providing for sentences for offenses against infant persons.

Aug. 17, 2014
Act 176 of 2014SB 27Mensch

Amends Title 23 (Domestic Relations) allowing for the exchange of information between certified medical practitioners and county children & youth agencies in circumstances where a child's health is negatively affected.

Dec. 31, 2014
Act 153 2014HB 435Moul

Amends Title 23 (Domestic Relations) by outlining the individuals required to obtain child abuse clearances. Also provides for a study to be conducted by PDE/DPW/PCCD on employment bans.

Dec. 31, 2014
Act 168 of 2014HB 1816Tobash

Pass the Trash;" Ban schools from entering into contracts that suppress information about investigations of abuse and sexual misconduct as well as prevent schools from transferring teachers that were subject of a report of abuse to another school district.

Dec. 21, 2014
Act 15 of 2015HB 1276Watson

Amends Title 23 (Domestic Relations) to clarify and make more explicit provisions in the statute enacted last session which requires employees and adult volunteers who work with children to obtain criminal background check clearances and child abuse clearances

July 1, 2015
​Act 115 of 2016
​SB 1311

​Amends Titles 23 (Domestic Relations) and 42 (Judiciary and Judicial Procedure) to further provide for definitions and for release of information in confidential reports, and in Juvenile matters, further providing for definitions.

​Oct. 28, 2016
Act 40 of 2017​
​HB 118

​Amends the Administrative Code of 1929 by prescribing that the Department of Human Services may charge a fee not to exceed thirteen dollars ($13) in order to conduct the certification for employees having contact with children, including adoptive and foster parents. Additionally, no fee will be charged for those applying to become a volunteer with an affiliate of Big Brothers Big Sisters of America or with a rape crisis center or domestic violence shelter.

​Dec. 29, 2017
​Act 68 of 2017
​HB 1139

​Amends Titles 18 (Crimes and Offenses) and 23 (Domestic Relations), allowing for an emergency services provider, on the grounds of an entity that employs or otherwise provides access to the emergency services provider under Title 23, Chapter 65 (relating to newborn protection) to take a child into protective custody. 

​Dec. 22, 2017
​Act 10 of 2018
​HB 631

​Amends Titles 18 (Crimes and Offenses), 23 (Domestic Relations) and 42 (Judiciary and Judicial Procedure), providing for a mandatory period of probation for certain sexual offenders, and by establishing either a ten-year or lifetime registration requirement, as would have been the requirement prior to enactment of Act 111 of 2011, for individuals who committed a sexually violent offense before December 20, 2012. 

​Feb. 21, 2018
​Act 29 of 2018
​HB 2952

​Amends Titles 18 (Crimes and Offenses), 23 (Domestic Relations) and 42 (Judiciary and Judicial Procedure) further expanding Pennsylvania’s definition of child abuse to include when a person leaves a child unsupervised with an individual, other than the child’s parent, who they know or reasonably should have known, under Pennsylvania’s Megan’s Law (42 Pa. C.S. Chapter 97), to be a sexually violent predator or to be subject to lifetime registration. Additionally, Act 29 provides grounds for involuntary termination of parental rights for parents required to register as sexual offenders.

​June 12, 2018
​Act 54 of 2018
​HB 1232

​Amends Title 23 (Domestic Relations) to require all public and non-public schools and hospitals to display a commonwealth-designed poster containing the statewide toll-free telephone number for reporting suspected child abuse, a toll-free number relating to school safety, and DHS' internet website (; requires valid general protective services reports to be maintained in the statewide database for 10 years or until the youngest child identified in the most recent general protective services report reaches 23 years of age, whichever occurs first; amends § 6337 to allow for county agencies to indefinitely maintain information regarding valid general protective services reports and unfounded child protective services reports, to assist in future risk and safety assessments and research; amends § 6344 to allow an employee that supervises a child during an internship, externship, work study, co-op or similar program to now be considered a volunteer who should obtain and use volunteer clearances and who can waive the requirement for an FBI clearance if they have been a PA resident for the entirety of the previous 10-year period; and establishes notification requirements for health care providers regarding infants under one year of age identified as being effected by substance exposure (legal or illegal). Additionally, state agencies are to develop “interagency protocols” that provide guidance to local multidisciplinary teams (MDT) in the identification and assessment of infants to ensure the development of a plan of safe care, that supports the provision of services to the infant and their caregivers. 

​June 28, 2018
Act 88 of 2018​
​HB 1539

​Amending Title 23 (Domestic Relations) allowing the court to appoint a family member temporary guardianship in 90-day increments for up to one year, when a child’s custodial parent has entered a rehabilitation facility for treatment of drug and alcohol addiction or has been subject to emergency medical intervention due to abuse of drugs or alcohol. Act 88 also mandates cooperation and information sharing between a court of common pleas, DHS, and county agencies when a court of common pleas is considering awarding temporary guardianship.

​Oct. 23, 2018
​Act 47 of 2019
​HB 235

​Amends Title 23 (Domestic Relations) allowing for correctional facility employees to serve as a witness when incarcerated parents of an adoptee are completing an adoption consent form; amends the Child Protective Services Law (CPSL) by no longer allowing employees or volunteers to be hired on a provisional basis.  Child day-care centers, group day-care homes and family child-care homes still may provisionally hire employees or approve volunteers for a single period not to exceed 45 days, provided certain conditions are met and a waiver is granted by the Department of Human Services (DHS), Office of Child development and Early Learning (OCDEL). Lastly, clearance requirements for child day-care centers, group day-care homes and family child-care homes were amended by: adding convictions of arson and strangulation to the list of prohibitive hire offenses; requiring the National Sex Offender Registry Verification; and requiring out of state clearances for employees and volunteers who have lived outside of Pennsylvania in the last five years.

​July 2, 2019
Act 88 of 2019
HB 1051
Amends Title 23 (Domestic Relations) to clarify and increase penalties for failure to report child abuse.  

Nov. 26, 2019