HARRISBURG, Pa. — Child welfare advocates said there have been significant strides a decade after the Jerry Sandusky sex abuse scandal became public.
“I think there was a lot of swift movement when the Sandusky scandal broke,” said Angela Liddle, president and CEO of the Pennsylvania Family Support Alliance, a non-profit organization that works to prevent child abuse.
She said the biggest changes have been legally requiring people to report abuse to ChildLine right away, instead of only to a supervisor.
“Another change that came to our child protective services law is that we increase the penalties for failing to report child abuse,” said Liddle.
Pennsylvania has also expanded who is considered a mandated reporter.
“So, we captured volunteers finally in that classification,” said Liddle.
This also includes athletic coaches and neighborhood associations. Liddle also highlighted training requirements for healthcare jobs in order to get a certification or license through the Department of State.
“That really puts the horse before the cart in terms of we’re telling people this is what it means to be a mandated reporter,” said Liddle.
She said it goes beyond volunteers with child abuse also happening at the hands of parents.
Liddle tells us a 2020 report in Pennsylvania shows the number of child fatalities and near fatalities has increased to the highest number in state history.
“So those numbers are very concerning in terms of what we can do about child abuse and neglect, it happens at the hands of parents,” said Liddle.
As for what she said still needs to be done.
“We need to infuse money into the child welfare system, we had workforce development issues there like we do in every other industry almost right now,” said Liddle.
From WFMZ-TV, November 6, 2021