A report of suspected child abuse can be made by:
- Any individual who suspects a child has been abused. The individual can call the statewide toll free ChildLine, at 1-800-932-0313, or the local Children and Youth Services agency (in Beaver County - 724-891-5800).
- Mandated reporters. These are persons who, in the course of their employment come into contact with children, must report all cases of suspected abuse to the hotline. Such persons include, but are not limited to: Law enforcement officials, Physicians, Educators, Clergy, Social Service Practitioners, and Psychologists.
Upon receiving a report of suspected child abuse, the Childline worker calls the local Children and Youth Agency in the county where the abuse is alleged to have occurred so an investigation may commence immediately.
Upon receipt of a report of suspected abuse, the agency will assess the child's immediate safety and may provide emergency intervention to a degree necessary to ensure the child is safe. When safety of the child cannot be provided through voluntary efforts of the caseworker with the parent or caretakers, it may become necessary to initiate emergency protective custody of the child pursuant to processes defined in the Pennsylvania Juvenile Act.
Certain types of suspected child abuse are reported by the agency to the Beaver County District Attorney for possible criminal investigation. These include, for example, reports of suspected sexual abuse and serious bodily injury.
While services to a family may continue for an extended period of time, the agency has up to 60 days to complete its investigation and make a final determination of the validity of the report. The agency will make one of the following status findings for the report:
- Indicated - report is substantiated through an admission by the perpetrator to the acts of abuse, or the agency investigation results in substantial evidence or medical evidence that the
- Founded - any finding by a Court that a child who is the subject of the report has been
- Unfounded - insufficient evidence or admission exists in which case all records relating to the investigation are destroyed within 12 months at both the State and Local levels of the