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PA Secretary of Public Welfare Releases 2007 Child Abuse Report
Date:4/9/2008

Urges Need for Continued Vigilance for Children Statewide

HARRISBURG, Pa., April 9 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Citing improvements in some key areas, Secretary of Public Welfare Estelle B. Richman today released the 2007 Child Abuse Report and said Pennsylvania will continue working to prevent children statewide from falling victim to abuse and neglect.

"It is encouraging to me that this year we saw a slight decrease in the percentage of cases of substantiated child abuse," said Richman. "While we have made progress, we still must recognize that 46 Pennsylvania children died last year as the result of abuse or neglect. This sobering statistic should remind us that we need to remain vigilant in our efforts to protect children living in our communities."

According to the report, more than 24,000 reports of suspected abuse were received last year, with approximately eight of out of every 1,000 children reported as suspected victims.

Working with the General Assembly, the department is also continuing its work this year to bring Pennsylvania into compliance with the federal Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act, by passing Act 73 of 2007. This law would further protect Pennsylvania children by requiring prospective foster and adoptive parents and adult household members to complete FBI background checks, as well as submit for a child abuse clearance from other states in which they resided in the previous five year period.

Pennsylvania's child welfare system is administered by individual county children and youth agencies and is operated under the leadership of the Department of Public Welfare. County agencies investigate cases of suspected abuse, take preventative measure to protect children from abuse and neglect and offer rehabilitative services for families affected by abuse.

The department also maintains a central registry for abuse reports and operates ChildLine, a toll-free anonymous hotline available for reporting suspected cases of abuse and neglect. ChildLine is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week by calling (800) 932-0313.

For more information on Pennsylvania's efforts to prevent child abuse and neglect or to view the 2007 child abuse report, visit http://www.dpw.state.pa.us.

CONTACT:

Stacey Witalec or Anne Bale

(717) 787-4592


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SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare
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