Pa. Department of Human Services releases annual child abuse statistics

Regional News

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WTAJ)– The Wolf Administration announced that the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (DHS) released their 2020 annual Child Protective Services Report, which includes statewide and county-level data relevant to the child welfare system in the previous year.

From 2019 to 2020 it was found that the total number of Child Protective Services (CPS) reports received dropped about 22 percent. The CPS reports are from incidents that meet the definition of child abuse in the Child Protective Services Law. Even though CPS reports saw a decent decrease, the total number of substantiated reports only saw a slight decrease. These are CPS reports that find that chi; abuse has actually occurred after the investigation.

Pennsylvania did see an increase in both deaths and near-deaths from child abuse. In 2020 there were reported 73 children deaths and 115 near-deaths from child abuse compared to 2019 in which 51 children died and 93 near-deaths occurred from child abuse.

“Pennsylvania’s child welfare system did not stop or slow down at any time during 2020. ChildLine remained fully operational. County and DHS caseworkers continued investigating reports. Families continued receiving services they needed,” DHS Acting Secretary Meg Snead said. “In all of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties, child welfare workers as well as mandated and permissive reporters adapted to a changed world so families could continue to receive support and children can grow up safely and cared for. The value of their work is immeasurable, and I want to say thank you on behalf of the Wolf Administration and the commonwealth.”

The Wolf Administration also announced the full implementation of Pennsylvania’s Family First Prevention Services Act. This gives the state the option to use federal funding to administer child welfare systems differently and also allows the funding to be used in support for evidence-based mental health prevention and treatment.

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