Subchapter E. CHILD ABUSE REPORTING REQUIREMENTS
21.502. Suspected child abusemandated reporting requirements.
21.503. Photographs, medical tests and X-rays of child subject to report.
21.504. Suspected death as a result of child abusemandated reporting requirement.
21.505. Immunity from liability.
The provisions of this Subchapter E issued under the Child Protective Services Law, 23 Pa.C.S. § 6383(b)(2); section 2.1(k) of The Professional Nursing Law (63 P.S. § 212.1k); and section 17.6 of the Practical Nurse Law (63 P.S. § 667.6), unless otherwise noted.
§ 21.501. Definitions.
The following words and terms, when used in this subchapter, have the following meanings, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:
ActsThe Professional Nursing Law (63 P.S. § § 211225); and the Practical Nurse Law (63 P.S. § § 651667).
Child abuseA term meaning any of the following:
(i) A recent act or failure to act by a perpetrator which causes nonaccidental serious physical injury to a child under 18 years of age.
(ii) An act or failure to act by a perpetrator which causes nonaccidental serious mental injury to or sexual abuse or sexual exploitation of a child under 18 years of age.
(iii) A recent act, failure to act or series of acts or failures to act by a perpetrator which creates an imminent risk of serious physical injury to or sexual abuse or sexual exploitation of a child under 18 years of age.
(iv) Serious physical neglect by a perpetrator constituting prolonged or repeated lack of supervision or the failure to provide the essentials of life, including adequate medical care, which endangers a childs life or development or impairs the childs functioning.
ChildLineAn organizational unit of the Department of Public Welfare which operates a 24-hour a day Statewide toll free telephone system for receiving reports of suspected child abuse, referring reports for investigation and maintaining the reports in the appropriate file.
Individual residing in the same home as the childAn individual who is 14 years of age or older and who resides in the same home as the child.
PerpetratorA person who has committed child abuse and is a parent of the child, a person responsible for the welfare of a child, an individual residing in the same home as a child or a paramour of a childs parent.
Person responsible for the childs welfareA person who provides permanent or temporary care, supervision, mental health diagnosis or treatment, training or control of a child in lieu of parental care, supervision and control. The term does not include a person who is employed by or provides services or programs in a public or private school, intermediate unit or area vocational-technical school.
Recent acts or omissionsActs or omissions committed within 2 years of the date of the report to the Department of Public Welfare or county agency.
Serious mental injuryA psychological condition, as diagnosed by a physician or licensed psychologist, including the refusal of appropriate treatment, that does one or more of the following:
(i) Renders a child chronically and severely anxious, agitated, depressed, socially withdrawn, psychotic or in reasonable fear that the childs life or safety is threatened.
(ii) Seriously interferes with a childs ability to accomplish age-appropriate developmental and social tasks.
Serious physical injuryAn injury that causes a child severe pain or significantly impairs a childs physical functioning, either temporarily or permanently.
Sexual abuse or exploitationThe employment, use, persuasion, inducement, enticement or coercion of a child to engage in or assist another person to engage in sexually explicit conduct or a simulation of sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of producing a visual depiction, including photographing, videotaping, computer depicting or filming, of sexually explicit conduct or the rape, sexual assault, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, aggravated indecent assault, molestation, incest, indecent exposure, prostitution, statutory sexual assault or other form of sexual exploitation of children.
§ 21.502. Suspected child abusemandated reporting requirements.
(a) General rule. Under 23 Pa.C.S. § 6311 (relating to persons required to report suspected child abuse), RNs, LPNs or CRNPs who, in the course of their employment, occupation or practice of their profession, come into contact with children shall report or cause a report to be made to the Department of Public Welfare when they have reasonable cause to suspect on the basis of their professional or other training or experience, that a child coming before them in their professional or official capacity is a victim of child abuse.
(b) Staff members of public or private agencies, institutions and facilities. RNs, LPNs and CRNPs who are staff members of a medical or other public or private institution, school, facility or agency, and who, in the course of their employment, occupation or practice of their profession, come into contact with children shall immediately notify the person in charge of the institution, school, facility or agency or the designated agent of the person in charge when they have reasonable cause to suspect on the basis of their professional or other training or experience, that a child coming before them in their professional or official capacity is a victim of child abuse. Upon notification by the RN, LPN or CRNP, the person in charge or the designated agent shall assume the responsibility and have the legal obligation to report or cause a report to be made in accordance with subsections (a), (c) and (d).
(c) Reporting procedure. Reports of suspected child abuse shall be made by telephone and by written report.
(1) Oral reports. Oral reports of suspected child abuse shall be made immediately by telephone to ChildLine, (800) 932-0313.
(2) Written reports. Written reports shall be made within 48 hours after the oral report is made by telephone. Written reports shall be made on forms available from a county children and youth social service agency.
(d) Written reports. Written reports shall be made in the manner and on forms prescribed by the Department of Public Welfare. The following information shall be included in the written reports, if available:
(1) The names and addresses of the child and the parents or other person responsible for the care of the child, if known.
(2) Where the suspected abuse occurred.
(3) The age and sex of the subjects of the report.
(4) The nature and extent of the suspected child abuse including any evidence of prior abuse to the child or siblings of the child.
(5) The name and relationship of the persons responsible for causing the suspected abuse, if known, and any evidence of prior abuse by those persons.
(6) Family composition.
(7) The source of the report.
(8) The person making the report and where that person can be reached.
(9) The actions taken by the reporting source, including the taking of photographs and X-rays, removal or keeping of the child or notifying the medical examiner or coroner.
(10) Other information which the Department of Public Welfare may require by regulation.
§ 21.503. Photographs, medical tests and X-rays of child subject to report.
An RN, LPN or CRNP may take or cause to be taken photographs of the child who is subject to a report and, if clinically indicated, cause to be performed a radiological examination and other medical tests on the child. Medical summaries or reports of the photographs, X-rays and relevant medical tests taken shall be sent to the county children and youth social service agency at the time the written report is sent or as soon thereafter as possible. The county children and youth social service agency shall have access to actual photographs or duplicates and X-rays and may obtain them or duplicates of them upon request.
§ 21.504. Suspected death as a result of child abusemandated reporting requirement.
An RN, LPN or CRNP who has reasonable cause to suspect that a child died as a result of child abuse shall report that suspicion to the coroner of the county where death occurred or, in the case where the child is transported to another county for medical treatment, to the coroner of the county where the injuries were sustained.
§ 21.505. Immunity from liability.
Under 23 Pa.C.S. § 6318 (relating to immunity from liability), an RN, LPN or CRNP who participates in good faith in the making of a report, cooperating with an investigation, testifying in a proceeding arising out of an instance of suspected child abuse or the taking of photographs shall have immunity from civil andcriminal liability that might result by reason of the RN, LPN or CRNPs actions. For the purpose of any civil or criminal proceeding, the good faith of the RN, LPN or CRNP shall be presumed. The Board will uphold the same good faith presumption in any disciplinary proceeding that might result by reason of an RN, LPN or CRNPs actions in participating in good faith in the making of a report, cooperating with an investigation, testifying in a proceeding arising out of an instance of suspected child abuse or the taking of photographs.
§ 21.506. Confidentialitywaived.
To protect children from abuse, the reporting requirements of § § 25.50225.504 (relating to suspected child abusemandated reporting requirements; photographs, medical tests and X-rays of child subject to report; and suspected death as a result of child abusemandated reporting requirement) take precedence over provisions of any other ethical principle or professional standard that might otherwise apply to RNs, LPNs or CRNPs.
§ 21.507. Noncompliance.
(a) Disciplinary action. An RN, LPN or CRNP who willfully fails to comply with the reporting requirements in § § 25.50225.504 (relating to suspected child abusemandated reporting requirements; photographs, medical tests and X-rays of child subject to report; and suspected death as a result of child abusemandated reporting requirement) will be subject to disciplinary action under section 14 of the Professional Nursing Law (63 P.S. § 224) and section 16 of the Practical Nurse Law (63 P.S. § 666).
(b) Criminal penalties. Under 23 Pa.C.S. § 6319 (relating to penalties for failure to report), an RN, LPN or CRNP who is required to report a case of suspected child abuse who willfully fails to do so commits a summary offense for the first violation and a misdemeanor of the third degree for a second or subsequent violation.
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