Pennsylvania Children & Youth Administrators
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FAQ: What is child abuse in Pennsylvania?

Question

What is child abuse in Pennsylvania?

Answer

Child Protective Services Law, as amended (3/99)
Summary of Definitions
 
Child Abuse - Child abuse shall mean any of the following:

  •  Any recent act or failure to act by a perpetrator which causes nonaccidental serious physical injury to a child under 18 years of age.
     
  • 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.
  • Any recent act (within two years), failure to act or series of such 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.
  • 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 child’s life or development or impairs the child’s functioning.

Serious Physical Injury - An injury that:

  • Causes a child severe pain; or
           
  • Significantly impairs the child’s physical functioning, either temporarily or permanently.

Serious Mental Injury - A psychological condition, as diagnosed by a physician or licensed psychologist, including the refusal of appropriate treatment, that:

  • Renders a child chronically and severely anxious, agitated, depressed, socially withdrawn, psychotic or in reasonable fear that the child’s life or safety is threatened; or
           
  • Seriously interferes with a child’s ability to accomplish age appropriate developmental and social tasks.

Serious Physical Neglect - A physical condition caused by the act or failure to act of a perpetrator which endangers the child’s life or development or impairs the child’s functioning and is the result of one of the following:

  • Prolonged or repeated lack of supervision;
           
  • Failure to provide essentials of life, including adequate medical and dental care.

Sexual Abuse or Exploitation - The employment, use, persuasion, inducement, enticement or coercion of any child to engage in or assist any other person to engage in any sexually explicit conduct or any simulation of any sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of producing any visual depiction, including photographing, videotaping, computer depicting or filming, of any 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.
 
Perpetrator - A person who has committed child abuse and is the parent of a child, a person responsible for the welfare of a child, an individual (age 14 years or older) residing in the same home as a child, or a paramour of a child’s parent.
Note: No child shall be deemed to be physically or mentally abused based on injuries that result solely from environmental factors that are beyond the control of the parent or person responsible for the child’s welfare, such as inadequate housing, furnishings, income, clothing and medical care. If, upon investigation, the county agency determines that a child has not been provided needed medical or surgical care because of seriously held religious beliefs of the child’s parents, guardian or person responsible for the child’s welfare, which beliefs are consistent with those of a bona fide religion, the child shall not be deemed to be physically or mentally abused. The county agency shall closely monitor the child and shall seek court-ordered medical intervention when the lack of medical or surgical care threatens the child’s life or long-term health.

Attachments

Created at 10/8/2009 12:13 PM by CCAPAdmin
Last modified at 10/8/2009 12:13 PM by CCAPAdmin