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PA Bulletin, Doc. No. 01-1525



Notice of Comments Issued

[31 Pa.B. 4608]

   Section 5(d) and (g) of the Regulatory Review Act (71 P. S. § 745.5(d) and (g)) provide that the designated standing committees may issue comments within 20 days of the close of the public comment period, and the Independent Regulatory Review Commission (Commission) may issue comments within 10 days of the close of the committees' comment period. The Commission's Comments are based upon the criteria contained in subsection 5.1(h) and (i) of the Regulatory Review Act (71 P. S. § 745.5a(h) and (i)).

   The Commission issued comments on the following proposed regulation. The agency must consider these comments in preparing the final-form regulation. The final-form regulation must be submitted by the date indicated.

Reg. No.Agency/Title Issued Deadline
14-469 Department of Public Welfare 08/02/01 07/02/03

(31 Pa.B. 2799 (June 2, 2001))

Department of Public Welfare Regulation No. 14-469

Protective Services

August 2, 2001

   We submit for consideration the following objections and recommendations regarding this regulation. Each objection or recommendation includes a reference to the criteria in the Regulatory Review Act (71 P. S. § 745.5a(h) and (i)) which have not been met. The Department of Public Welfare (Department) must respond to these Comments when it submits the final-form regulation. If the final-form regulation is not delivered by July 2, 2003, the regulation will be deemed withdrawn.

1.  Section 3490.4. Definitions.--Legislative intent; Reasonableness; Implementation procedures; Clarity.

   This proposed regulation contains a new definition of ''imminent risk.'' Several commentators, including the House Children and Youth Committee, and Senator Vincent Hughes, Minority Chair, Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee, expressed concerns with the possible breadth of the new definition.

   What type of conduct does the Department intend to identify? How does the definition meet the legislative intent of the Child Protective Services Law (23 Pa.C.S.A. §§ 6301--6385)? Will the new definition increase the number of reports and the degree of intervention? The Department should address these concerns.

2.  Law enforcement officials.--Consistency with statute; Clarity.

   The terms ''law enforcement officials'' or ''appropriate law enforcement officials'' are used in sections 3490.34(f), 3490.105a(b)(1), 3490.106a(f) and 3490.191(b)(1). These provisions relate to the release of confidential reports.

   By both existing regulations at 55 Pa. Code § 3490.91(a)(9) and (10) and the statute at 23 Pa.C.S.A. § 6340(9), the release of child abuse reports to law enforcement officials is limited to specific situations such as when the information is relevant to an investigation of an alleged crime. The regulation should clearly identify that the only law enforcement officials who may receive child abuse reports are those investigating an alleged crime.

3.  Section 3490.60. Services available through the county agency.--Reasonableness: Consistency with other regulations; Clarity.

Subsection (b) Multidisciplinary team.

   Subsection (b)(2) states that the county ''shall make available a multidisciplinary team . . . to assist in the development of a family service plan for the child, when appropriate'' [emphasis added]. However, an existing provision at section 3490.62 requires a county agency to arrange for a review by the multidisciplinary team (MDT) when the county receives a second report of child abuse involving the same victim.

   Does ''when appropriate'' mean when there is a second report of child abuse involving the same victim? Alternatively, is the Department developing a new standard for the use of an MDT? The regulation should clearly explain when a county agency is to arrange for an MDT to assist in developing a family service plan. What benchmarks or indicators should be used in determining the need for an MDT?

Subsection (c) Investigative team.

   This subsection replicates the words of the statute at 23 Pa.C.S.A. § 6365(c) by stating ''[t]he county agency and the district attorney shall develop a protocol for the convening of investigative teams . . .'' In addition, subsection (c)(3) states ''[t]he district attorney shall convene an investigative team in accordance with the protocol.''

   Although the Department has the authority to require action by county agencies, it does not have authority over the district attorneys. Therefore, we question why the proposed regulation mandates action by the district attorneys. We suggest that the Department rephrase the proposed language in this section to require county agencies to work in conjunction with district attorneys. As an alternative, the subsection could reference the applicable subsection of the statute.

4.  Section 3490.70. Expunction and amendment of report by the county agency.--Clarity.

   Existing language in subsection (a) states that a county agency will expunge a record of child abuse when it receives notification from ChildLine. However, the proposed subsection (b) requires that a child abuse record be maintained when a family is accepted for services. It is our understanding that subsection (b) is an exception to subsection (a). This is unclear. Language should be added to subsection (a) to reference subsection (b) as an exception.

5.  Section 3490.122. Responsibilities of an applicant, prospective operator or legal entity of a child care service.--Reasonableness; Clarity.

   In subsection (d), the regulation states that a person may not be hired if he or she has been convicted of crime as specified at 23 Pa.C.S.A. § 6344, an equivalent crime under Federal law or an equivalent out-of-state crime ''as determined by the Department.'' This language is vague. When and how will the Department make determinations concerning the equivalency of crimes? The regulation should include the criteria for this determination.


[Pa.B. Doc. No. 01-1525. Filed for public inspection August 17, 2001, 9:00 a.m.]

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