Tartaglione Urges Immediate Action on Child-Protection Report
HARRISBURG, Nov. 28, 2012 – State Sen. Christine M. Tartaglione today called on the Corbett administration to quickly begin implementation of the recommendations of the Pennsylvania Task Force on Child Protection.
“Some of the recommendations can be done without legislation and those should be done as soon as possible,” Tartaglione said. “This can’t be one of those reports accepted with praise only to sit on a shelf for a year.”
Staffing for ChildLine, a 24-hour hotline for abuse reports, should be increased right away, Tartaglione said. The task force report said that 8 percent of calls are dropped.
“It doesn’t do any good to expand the number of people who are required to report child abuse if there’s no one on the other end of the line,” she said.
Tartaglione praised the task force for addressing the definition of “child abuse” to move away from degree of pain as a threshold.
“The current standard is unreliable, especially when dealing with young children, whose ability communicate their feelings to a responsible adult or court is often limited,” she said.
The Task Force on Child Protection was formed after the arrest of former football coach Jerry Sandusky, whose years of child molestation continued even after allegations came forward.
“Clearly the penalties for failing to report and follow-up on a child abuse allegation are not sufficient to overcome other motives,” Tartaglione said. “That has to change and we have to make sure that we expand the reporting requirement to anyone who is responsible for the welfare of children.”
Some of the recommendations for staffing and reporting will require increased state funding, a challenge that has stifled previous “blue-ribbon” reports.
“It will be a test of priorities,” Tartaglione said. “There was a lot of tough talk after the scandal broke, but there is some question as to whether that talk will translate to action when the action requires money to be spent.”