Children's Justice & Advocacy Report

Pennsylvania's Center for Children's Justice (C4CJ) is dedicated to connecting inter-disciplinary stakeholders, especially those on the front lines of protecting Pennsylvania's children, to timely and reliable policy, practice and research updates and analysis. C4CJ is widely respected for its extensive and independent insight to and expertise about the systems enlisted to protect Pennsylvania's children. The CJAR provides straightforward user-friendly analysis of complex statutory and regulatory realities that directly impact child-serving systems and the outcomes achieved for at-risk children and families. Through the CJAR, we provide timely reporting on the evolving elements of interdisciplinary policy, practice and research trends. The CJAR is a cost-effective and essential tool for any individual or organization seeking to effectively understand and influence policy development, secure systems improvement and to become a powerful (and informed) voice for children. The CJAR is published, at least twice a month, and may be produced with more frequency, as warranted.

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Past Issues / Archives:

2017 Issues:

  • February 10:
    President Trump Vows his Administration is ‘going to be
    very tough on crime’, signs 3 executive orders
  • February 7:
    Auditor General Keeps Spotlight on Child Welfare
  • January 30:
    • Wolf Ready to Consolidate Aging, Drug & Alcohol Programs, Health and Human Services into Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)
    • PA Senate Judiciary Committee Expedites SOL Reform Bill
    • Cross-Reporting of Abuse against Children and Animals
  • January 23:
    HHS Complies with Casey/McConnell Protecting Our Infants Act (POIA)
  • January 19:
    Two Perpetrators — Dramatically Different Situations and Women
    Cases illustrate complexity of child welfare and the General Assembly’s unfinished work on background checks
  • January 12:
    • 232 Pennsylvania children experienced a fatality or near-fatality
      reported as suspected child abuse in 2016.
    • A lens into the child fatalities and near-fatalities that fall outside
      of an Act 33 review
    • Emerging details about the life, rape and murder of Grace Packer
      raise alarm and questions
    • Renewed calls for legislative oversight and an independent Office
      of Child Advocate
    • Watson still pursuing Task Force on Children
      and the Opioid Crisis

2016 Issues:

  • December 21
    Major Milestone for Pennsylvania's child protection efforts
    Inaugural GPS data reveals magnitude of families intersecting with child welfare
  • December 16
    From "Heinous roots" of Sandusky serial child sexual abuse, blossoms of funding and services for victimized children
    PA Commission on Crime and Delinquency awards another $1.7 million in Endowment Funding
  • December 15
    Wolf Administration confirms $600 million budget gap
    Lagging revenues and supplemental budget requests generate calls to rethink role of government (and what might be replaced by the non-profit sector)
  • November 16
    Pennsylvania projected to have big gap between revenues and expenditures
    Governor Tom Wolf will face budget negotiations with an expanded number of Republicans winning election to the General Assembly
  • November 9
    PA voters split tickets, give wins to Trump, Toomey, Shapiro, DePasquale and Torsella
    Plus big wins for Republicans in the Pennsylvania Senate and House of Representatives
  • October 26
    Auditor General DePasquale Puts Children and Youth Agencies 'On notice'
    Audit flags lack of "supporting documentation" for nearly $17 million of in-home services and "questionable billing practices"
  • October 17
    PA lawmakers have huge to do list and so few (only 6) days to act
    Still to be tackled background checks, CAPTA compliance, defining criminal offenses against children
  • September 20
    Justice for child sexual abuse victims in jeopardy
    as PA legislative session set to close

    In twist of irony, supporters and opponents of statute of limitation reform
    may be united to kill reforms before November 30th
  • July 7
    Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act has momentum, faces hurdles
    Congress strikes agreement on “substance” of bill, but funding becomes political hot potato
  • June 10
    Mandatory child abuse reporting law earns criticism
    Senator Reschenthaler readies legislation linked to reasonable cause to suspect standard
  • May 16
    Opioid epidemic gives politicians chance to be bipartisan
    Comprehensive addiction and recovery bill heads to conference to tackle tough decisions about funding and the fate of improving plans of safe care for substance-exposed infants
  • May 3
    Annual Child Abuse Report gets rebranded and will arrive in "three releases"
    Initial "release" provides insight to, invites questions about fatalities and near fatalities
  • April 30
    Congress in overdrive to fight "national epidemic of prescription opioid and heroin use"
    U.S. Senate overwhelmingly passes Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA), House shifts from CARA to "blizzard" of bills
  • April 28
    Governor Wolf and PA lawmakers committed to giving a "clean slate" to persons convicted of "non-violent" offenses
    Fuller understanding of sealing convictions related to Endangering the Welfare of Children (EWOC) required before well-intentioned legislation hits Wolf's desk
  • April 12
    PA House poised to equalize statute of limitation for murder and sexual crimes against children
    Momentum for extending civil SOL remains, but a window for survivors faces hurdles
  • April 4
    PA Senate advances next fix to Child Protective Services Law
    Background checks for health care providers, clergy plus efforts to retain records longer woven into Senate Bill 1156
  • April 3
    PA House prepares to "strengthen" statute of limitations in child sexual abuse cases
  • March 2
    Failure to report suspected child abuse triggers Grand Jury Report
    Shockwaves ripple across Pennsylvania as Grand Jury gives voice to 100s of children sexually assaulted by "at least 50 different priests or religious leaders." Dioceses' online child abuse reporting materials out-of-step with PA law.
  • February 24
    1. Judiciary offers insight on "offensive" emails, uptick and oversight of foster care plus what's next for juvenile lifers
    2. U.S. Senate Finance Committee spotlights Family First Act in studying opioid "epidemic"
    3. March 29th Roundtable to address opioid epidemic's impact on PA infants and children
    4. Recognizing the link between human abuse and animal abuse
    5. Funding for Children's Advocacy Centers gets political, remains difficult to track
    6. Remembering Scalia's dissent in a case essential to advancing child testimony options
  • February 11
    Urging Senators Casey and Toomey to lead on Family First Act
  • February 4
    Effort "to clarify" who needs background checks leads to "unintended consequence"
  • February 3
    Pennsylvania's heroin and opioid "epidemic" jeopardizes early childhood
  • January 18
    1. Congressional Committee flexes oversight on CAPTA Plans of Safe Care provision
    2. Congress puts forth important child protection vision in CAPTA, but resources and vision don't match up
    3. CAPTA State Plan provisions get altered by Congress and then HHS eliminates the regulations
    4. PA Budget Process Slugs Along
    5. Collateral Consequences of Conviction legislation introduced
    6. Sex trafficking victims and Title IV-E allowable costs

2015 Issues:

  • October 28
  • October 7
    1. PA House, with support of Democrats, votes down Governor’s tax package
    2. On verge of 100 day budget standoff, Republicans and Governor
      draw different conclusions about what happened, where to next
  • October 1
    1. One week till a PA budget, more like another day (91 in fact)
      and more rounds of gotcha politics
    2. Inaction on SOL reform in PA triggers new tactics
    3. Safe Harbor for Sexually Exploited Children critiqued
      by PA district attorneys
  • September 1
    1. PA Superior Court gives life to civil case involving physicians
      who failed to report suspected child abuse
  • June 8
    Bill to make background checks less “onerous” for volunteers
    alters mandatory reporting landscape
  • June 5
    Grand Jury identifies “serious issues” within Dauphin County Children and Youth Services
  • June 3
    PA House Committee readies legislation to address child protection glitches
  • May 29

    ... In the May 29th edition:
    1. Greenleaf and Leach propose Safe Harbor for Sexually Exploited Children
    2. Examining PA’s balancing act about when child welfare files are expunged
    3. Parental substance abuse and the impact on PA’s young children
      and the child welfare system
    4. Leveraging State and Federal Statutes and Funding Streams
      to Support Mothers and Babies
    5. Getting intentional about Plans of Safe Care for infants
    6. Toomey turning up the heat to increase funding

  • April 27
    U.S. Senate Ends Stall on Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act, CAPTA Regulations Deemed "Obsolete" and Evidence-Based Home Visiting Gets Congressional Lifeline
  • April 16
    Checking in on PA's implementation of the 20+ child protection laws enacted in 2013-2014
  • March 18
    March 18th edition: Prescription drug abuse deemed "the worst public health crisis"
    and Human trafficking bill stalls in U.S. Senate, trips up AG nomination
  • March 4
    Governor Wolf's investment in education is headliner,
    but health and human services not neglected
  • March 3
    U.S. Supreme Court examines mandatory reporting of child abuse
  • February 11
    House Children and Youth Chairwomen makes the case
    to let child protection changes "work"
  • January 29
  • January 19
  • January 16

2014 Issues:

2013 Issues:

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