Pa. welfare chief wants country offices to review proposed child-protection measures

    As child-protection measures gain momentum in the Pennsylvania Legislature, one member of the Corbett administration is concerned proposed reforms will only add to the burden of county offices tasked with checking up on abuse complaints.


    Bev Mackereth, acting secretary of the Department of Public Welfare, is encouraging county human services administrators to talk to their state lawmakers about the measures being considered by the General Assembly.

    “I have cautioned everybody to move cautiously because whatever we do will have or can have a significant impact on counties,” she said Monday.

    Many proposals in the House and Senate come straight from the recommendations of a task force created in response to the Jerry Sandusky child abuse case.

    While some of those proposals are good, Mackereth said, many don’t address the structural problems on the front lines of child protection in county offices.

    Among the immediate and ongoing concerns at the county-level offices are staffs marked by high turnover, low pay, and little experience, she said.

    The state Senate is considering 16 different bills regarding child protection.

    House lawmakers have passed one measure that would temporarily allow law enforcement to go to Internet service providers to get identifying information about those being investigated for using the web to exploit children.

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