Pa. bill to encourage child-abuse reporting sent to governor

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Legislation that would require Pennsylvania’s schools to prominently display the phone number for reporting suspected child abuse is headed to Gov. Tom Wolf for his signature.

House Bill 1232 would require all public and non-public school to display a poster, 11×17 inches or larger, containing the statewide toll-free number.

The poster design would be approved by the departments of Education and Human Services.

Rep. Thomas Murt (R-Montgomery/Philadelphia) said his measure also requires the poster to be displayed in a high-traffic, public area that is widely used by students.

“Posting this critical information in schools would let students know that they have somewhere to turn if they need to report abuse or neglect that they’ve suffered or if they suspect another child is being abused or neglected,” Murt said in a statement. “Such a poster also reinforces to students the fact that abuse should be reported and that the school supports them.”

Murt said Texas was the first state to require schools to post such information. He said that after two years of displaying the information, the Texas Department of Family Protective Services reported it received 19,562 calls from students.

The poster also would include the address of the DHS website that provides information and resources related to child protection, www.keepkidssafe.pa.gov.

Pennsylvania’s statewide toll-free hotline number to report suspected child abuse, known as Childline, is 1-800-932-0313.

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