Pa. moves to improve training for identifying child abuse

Written by Tim Lambert and Radio Pennsylvania | Jan 31, 2016 7:10 AM

(Harrisburg) -- New and enhanced training will be taking place in Pennsylvania aimed at better spotting the signs of child abuse. 

The state Department of Human Services has signed a five-year, $2.5 million contract with the Pennsylvania Family Support Alliance, to train mandated reporters to recognize and report suspected child abuse. 

Alliance President and CEO Angela Little says a recent survey from Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster shows this issue needs to be taken more seriously in Pennsylvania.

"In a state, where on average, more than 30 children are killed each year due to child abuse, we learned that, in fact, only 17 percent of citizens felt that child abuse was a serious concern," she said. "We further learned that only 52 percent of mandated reporters, who suspected child abuse had actually followed through and reported it."

Little says training mandated reporters to recognize the signs of child abuse does make a difference.

"Those who undergo training are five times more likely to intervene appropriately and accurately report child abuse. So indeed, it is a beautiful day in this neighborhood and for each and every neighborhood throughout Pennsylvania where people will receive training and then therefore better protect Pennsylvania's children.

A state law passed in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky case expands the definition of mandated reporter, to include anyone, paid or volunteer, who has direct or indirect contact with a child.

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