ACT 126 – Child Abuse Recognition and Reporting Act
On December 18, 2013, Governor Corbett signed Act 120 of 2013 (SB 34), which made significant changes to the Educator Discipline Act. Those changes, which became effective February 18, 2014, include enhanced mandatory reporting requirements. There have also been significant changes to the Child Protective Services Law (CPSL) that greatly impact mandated reporters. As a result of these new laws, PDE suspended the approval of all Act 126 child abuse and reporting trainings previously approved for Act 48 credit until all pertinent Acts were passed. All Acts impacting Act 126 training are now passed. As a result, vendors previously approved by PDE to deliver Act 126 training for Act 48 credit must review the new Acts, revise their presentations based on the information provided in the Acts and resubmit their scripts and other training materials to PDE for re-approval as an Act 126 provider. Once the resubmitted course is reviewed and approved, the provider will again be listed on the site as an approved Act 48 provider for Act 126. A list of all Acts that impact Act 126 training is provided as a reference.
Child Protective Services Laws and Educator Discipline Act Legislation Update (PDF)
PFSA and PA AAP has been funded by the Department of Public Welfare to deliver child abuse and reporting trainings at no cost as long as it is face-to-face. PCAR's network of trainers provide one-hour and three-hour trainings upon request as a sliding scale fee at the discretion of the trainer and agency.
We are currently reviewing a couple of additional training courses that have been submitted by various providers. These courses are mainly online and will charge a fee which is still being determined by the vendors. The department is preparing a Question and Answer section about the Act's requirements which will be posted on the office's webpage.
If you look in the Act itself in Section 1205.6 (a) (4) you will see that if you will be giving professional education (Act 48) credit to your professionals then the trainer must be one approved by PDE and DPW. If you look at the law, if you are not going to give Act 48 credit you may use any other trainer to deliver the training.
Additionally, the School Bus Driver Association are training staff to deliver the training to drivers both new and old. However, this might be centralized to large companies not smaller ones. It is required that they receive training on the Professional Educator Discipline Act.
Finally, an LEA may have staff attend a "train-the-trainer" session so that they would have their own internal qualified trainer. This would give the LEA flexibility in conducting trainings. PFSA offers this type of training so you would need to contact them. PCAR, nor trainers in their network, provide trainings-of-trainers to allied professionals or school districts.
The method you use to accomplish the hours is up to your district.
Training must address, but not be limited to, the following topics:
- Recognition of the signs of abuse and sexual misconduct and reporting requirements for suspected abuse and sexual misconduct in this Commonwealth.
- Provisions of the act of December 12, 1973 (P.L.397, No.141), known as the "Professional Educator Discipline Act," including mandatory reporting requirements.
- The school entity's policies related to reporting of suspected abuse and sexual misconduct.
- Maintenance of professional and appropriate relationships with students.
We have held a series of meetings with our legal office and DPW to discuss the implementation of the requirements of ACT 126. The following is the guidance that have determined in order to meet the requirements of the Act:
- The Act is effective January 1, 2013. That is the start date for the 5 year requirement.
- Any Child Abuse Recognition training that an school employee or contractor has participated starting in July 1, 2012 is acceptable for inclusion of the three (3) hour training.
- Both PDE and the DPW recommends that all current school employees and contractors obtain the Child Abuse Recognition training portion by December 31, 2013 for potential legal issues.
- Each school entity must augment the training with a session to all school employees and contractors that outlines their our district's policy on child abuse.
- We are currently working with the Legal Counsel Professional Standards and Practices Commission that handles educator misconduct/disciplinary actions to develop a one hour online course on the provisions of the Act of December 12, 1973 known as the "Professional Educator Discipline Act" and to make it available, at no cost, to that each school employee and contractor.
As you can see it has been determined that no single provider has a training course that covers all the requirements of the Act nor can they cover each individual school entity's policies.
For additional information, please contact:
Joe Loccisano Ed.D | Safe Schools Office
Pennsylvania Department of Education
333 Market Street, 14th Floor | Harrisburg, PA 17126-0333
firstname.lastname@example.org | www.education.state.pa.us