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Sen. Mikulski: Child Abuse, Neglect Reporting Rules May Need Changes

Sen. Barbara Mikulski.

Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) said the 1974 Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act may have to be changed to prevent more Penn State scandals from occurring, according to this article in the Baltimore Sun.

The law provides federal funding to states that enact procedures for responding to allegations of child abuse and neglect and define who must report abuse, said Mikulski. The reporting requirements may need updating, said Mikuski, a social worker who worked on child neglect cases.

For instance, Maryland has mandatory reporting requirements for all adults but no criminal penalties for those who fail to report abuse or neglect. This makes reporting laws “essentially unenforceable,” the senator said.

In the Penn State case police claim former football defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky molested 10 boys over a 10-year period. Two college administrators have also been accused of being told about the alleged abuse but not reporting it to authorities.

To learn more about how social workers protect children visit the National Association of Social Workers’ “Help Starts Here” Kids & Families Website by clicking here.

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