University Revises Child Abuse Reporting Policy
Penn State announced a change to its policy for reporting child abuse Monday in light of recent changes to Pennsylvania’s Child Protective Services Law.
Due to changes in the CPSL, all employees working with children will be required to retake training related to reporting child abuse annually, while employees not working with children will be required to take the training every three years by their work anniversary.
Policy AD72 was revised to reflect the changes in the CPSL. The University updated its Building a Safe Penn State: Reporting Child Abuse training program, which is required for all employees, volunteers, and independent contractors who are interacting with minors prior to starting work, as well as by those not working with children within 30 days of starting work.
“The new training is a great resource for employees to become aware of their new responsibilities under the law and AD72,” said Sandy Weaver, a Penn State youth programs compliance specialist. “Although employees who took the training in 2014 aren’t required to take the training until their anniversary date, they are accountable for knowing their new responsibilities now, so we recommend taking the new training as soon as possible.”
The updated policy also eliminates chain-of-command reporting for incidents of suspected child abuse, instead requiring employees to report directly to the Pennsylvania Department of Welfare’s ChildLine portal. Any employee of the University who has contact with children is also now considered a “mandated reporter,” along with any individual supervised or managed by a mandated reporter.
With the new changes to the CPSL and AD72, Penn State is taking further measures to prevent a recurrence of the events surrounding the Sandusky scandal. Ending chain-of-command reporting by switching to an independent reporting system would put blame on an employee who fails to report abuse instead of their superiors.