Gov. Corbett today signed into law three child protection bills, moving efforts to transform the way the state handles child abuse cases in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky case, closer to the finish line
The legislation, stemming from proposals of a task force create after the indictment on child abuse charges of the former assistant Penn State coach, will create a statewide database to track reporting of child abuse and provide dedicated funding for Child Advocacy Centers.
“The bills I am signing into law today are another step forward in the fight to end child abuse.” Corbett said. “Today, Pennsylvania says, ‘no more’ to child abuse.”
The bills will:
• Create a statewide database and allows for electronic reporting to facilitate mandatory reporting of child abuse.(SB 24)
• Terminate the DARE Fund, supported by the sale of DARE license plates, and directs any further balance of that account be appropriated to the PA Commission on Crime and Delinquency to award grants to Children's Advocacy Centers during FY 2013-14.(HB 89)
• Establish the Child Advocacy Center Advisory Committee that will approve and distribute grants to child advocacy centers (CACs) and multidisciplinary investigative teams (MDITs). (HB 316)
"Child abuse is considered the silent crime, no more," said Beverly Mackereth, secretary of the Department of Public Welfare. She called the bill "absolutely necessary" and said they have taken far too long to become law.
The signing brings to 11 the number of bills passed addressing child abuse since the task force's commission report was released in late 2012.
Corbett said he is awaiting final passage of the mandatory reporting bill that would expand the range of those required to report cases of suspected child abuse.
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