The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

News

December 28, 2013

Ten new laws bolster battle of child abuse

Valley expert: More work ahead

NORTHUMBERLAND — The 10 bills Gov. Corbett signed this month into laws that refine definitions of child abuse represent a positive step for Pennsylvania, a Valley physician says.

One law expands the definition of who is considered a potential child abuser; another lowers the threshold for the kind of injury or pain that is considered child abuse. A third lowers the threshold for the kind of injury to a child that could trigger child welfare workers to summon a medical examiner.

Dr. Pat Bruno, of the Children’s Advocacy Center, in Northumberland, says the laws are important because the high thresholds in Pennsylvania prevented many cases from being classified as child abuse.

“(Pennsylvania) was very low in terms of cases investigated and cases substantiated,” he said. “The laws weren’t as child-centered as they could’ve been. ... We almost lost a lot of money (in grant and research funds) because our definitions were so narrow.”

Low numbers also provided inaccurate information for lawmakers, who were trying to address the problems without having a full picture of the situation, Bruno said.

“These are our statistics that we depend upon,” Bruno said, “and that our legislators depend upon.”

Now those definitions and thresholds more accurately reflect the broader picture, but there are still issues legislators missed, Bruno said.

“I’m not ready to celebrate just yet,” he said.

Lawmakers failed to address the “religious exemption” in child abuse law, which allows forgoing medical treatment for children because of religious beliefs, Bruno said.

“That,” he said, “needs to be addressed.”

Legislators must also revisit proposals specifying that drunken driving with a child in the vehicle or dealing drugs with a child present is child abuse.

“I think we need to have a fierce commitment going forward to make this a shared community responsibility,” he said.

And while Bruno noted that the Sandusky scandal at Penn State certainly put the state’s child-abuse issues on the national radar, the recent changes to laws weren’t necessarily a direct result of the former assistant football coach’s case, Bruno said.

“These were a long time coming,” he said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

1
Text Only
News
  • Arizona tribe set to prosecute first non-Indian under a new law

    PASCUA YAQUI INDIAN RESERVATION, Ariz. — Tribal police chief Michael Valenzuela drove through darkened desert streets, turned into a Circle K convenience store and pointed to the spot beyond the reservation line where his officers used to take the non-Indian men who battered Indian women.
     

    April 19, 2014

  • Danville parents hope strike ends quickly

    DANVILLE ““ First-grader Madison Wild was sad she missed school Thursday.

    April 19, 2014

  • Schools ask state to waive 180-day rule

    Three area school districts have asked the Pennsylvania Department of Education to add up their hours instead of their days in order to reach the required amount of instruction time in the school year.

    April 19, 2014

  • Former Bucknell star in NBA playoffs

    ATLANTA — It really hit Mike Muscala a few days ago when he was listening to the Nets’ starting lineup at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

    April 19, 2014

  • State: Discard raw milk from Greenfield Dairy

    MIDDLEBURG — Consumers should discard raw milk purchased recently from the Greenfield Dairy of Middleburg, which also has temporarily suspended production after Listeria monocytogenes was discovered in the product following routine testing, the state Department of Agriculture announced today.

    April 18, 2014

  • Penn State police: Three posed nude at Nittany shrine

    STATE COLLEGE — Penn State police say three male students who reportedly posed nude for a photo at the university’s Nittany Lion Shrine face school discipline.

    April 18, 2014

  • State unemployment rate drops to 6 percent in March

    HARRISBURG — Pennsylvania’s jobless rate has continued its steady decline. The state Department of Labor and Industry says unemployment fell two-tenths of a percentage point to 6 percent in March.

    April 18, 2014

  • Report: Pennsylvania forests impacted by drilling

    PITTSBURGH — A small portion of Pennsylvania state forest land has been impacted by shale gas drilling, but many questions remain about how to manage the politically sensitive issue that is opposed by many residents, according to a new report.

    April 18, 2014

  • TRAFFIC ADVISORY: Route 45 east of Montandon

    MONTANDON — A paving project is slowing traffic today on Route 45 east of Montandon.

    April 18, 2014

  • Accident victims remain in critical condition this morning

    DANVILLE - Victims from serious traffic accidents the past two days remain in critical condition this morning at Geisinger Medical Center in Danville.

    April 18, 2014

The Daily Marquee
Poll

How do you eat your chocolate Easter bunny?

Feet first
Tail first
Ears first
     View Results
Photo Galleries
The Valley

Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.