PA Senate Aging and Youth Committee Holds Hearing on Child Abuse Legislation

Youngwood, PA – The Pennsylvania Senate Aging and Youth Committee today held a hearing to discuss Senate Bill 753 which amends the definition of Child Abuse to include children addicted to a controlled substance at birth, where the mother’s use of the substance was unlawful.  The hearing held at the Tots ‘n Tikes Preschool and Daycare Center in Youngwood, PA was hosted by Aging and Youth Chairperson Senator Kim Ward (R-39).

Senator Pat Vance (R-31) who is the bill’s primary sponsor, and is a member on the Aging and Youth Committee, was in attendance to discuss the bill and listen to testimony.

“I am grateful to Senator Ward for conducting this hearing on such an important issue.  The whole thrust of the legislation is to do the earliest of early- intervention to protect an infant born to a drug addicted mother,” Stated Senator Vance.

Among those testifying in support of changing the definition of child abuse were representatives from the Pennsylvania Children and Youth Solicitors’ Association, Protect our Children, and the Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association.  The A.C.L.U., Allegheny County Human Services, and the Pennsylvania Family Support Alliance provided testimony arguing that the change was unnecessary.

“As a result of this hearing, it is apparent, based on the testimony, that a broader discussion is needed on what Pennsylvania defines as Child Abuse,” claimed Senator Ward.  “I intend to make this issue a focal point at our next hearing on the potential of under-reporting of child abuse claims statewide.  We need to start looking for remedies to this expanding problem,” she finished.

The Senate Aging and Youth Committee will conduct another hearing on the reporting of child abuse claims in earlier October.

Contact:  Tom Aikens
(724) 600-7002