Reporting Child Abuse
ChildLine 1-800-932-0313 or CYF 412-473-2000
The Pennsylvania ChildLine and Abuse Registry is known as “ChildLine.” ChildLine accepts and assigns reports of child and student abuse to county children and youth agencies for investigation. ChildLine may also provide information and referral services for families and children.
Changes to legislative requirements for reporting child abuse in Pennsylvania effective May 2007
Child Abuse (from Child Protective Services Law 23 PA CS§6303; 55 PA Code §3490.4)
The term "child abuse" shall mean any of the following:
- Any recent act or failure to act by a perpetrator* which causes non-accidental serious physical injury to a child under 18 years of age.
- An act or failure to act by a perpetrator which causes non-accidental serious mental injury to or sexual abuse or sexual exploitation of a child less than 18 years of age.
- Any recent act, 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 essentials of life, including adequate medical care, which endangers a child's life or development or impairs the child's functioning.
Persons required to report include but are not limited to:
- A licensed physician, medical examiner, coroner, funeral director, dentist, optometrist, osteopath, chiropractor, psychologist, podiatrist, intern, registered nurse or licensed practical nurse.
- Hospital personnel engaged in the admission, examination, care or treatment of persons.
- A Christian Science practitioner, member of the clergy, school administrator, school teacher, school nurse, school librarian, social services worker, day care center worker or another child care or foster care worker, mental health professional, peace officer or law enforcement official.
Allegheny County Department of Human Services Office of Children, Youth and Families (CYF) provides telephone access to receive reports of alleged child abuse and neglect 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
The call screener will:
- Gather information and document all reports that come to the attention of the agency;
- Inquire about all children living in the household and all related children, regardless of residence; and
- Make recommendations to the Call Screening Supervisor about whether and when to assign cases to Casework Staff.
The call screening supervisor will:
- Review all incoming reports and any prior CYF record(s);
- Rate initial level of risk;
- Assign a response time, unit and Caseworker as necessary; or
- Screen out the report.
CYF intake assignments
- The Call Screening Supervisor may:
- Assign a Child Protective Service (CPS) Caseworker to conduct a CPS Investigation when there is a ChildLine number or allegation that appears to meet the Child Protective Service Law (CPSL) definition of child or student abuse;
- Determine whether and when to make assignments for General Protective Service (GPS) Assessment to GPS Caseworkers or other specialized units within the agency;
- Assign a Field Screening to assess the safety of the children for families with a child age under the age of seven when the case is not assigned for a CPS Investigation or GPS Assessment. (These cases may be screened out after a Field Screening); or
- Direct the provision of Information and Referral Services (I&RS).
Screening out calls
All referrals, reports and requests for service will result in an assessment from CYF unless the Call Screener, in consultation with the Call Screening Supervisor, clearly establishes that:
- CYF does not have legal jurisdiction in the matter;
- There are no reasons for CYF to conduct a field assessment;
- There are no service needs appropriate for CYF to address; or
- Another agency or provider can meet the family’s needs and Call Screeners have provided resource information to the caller.