TPAM Device

YES, I Agree Pennsylvania Needs a Children’s Ombudsperson

Pennsylvania’s child welfare system impacts the safety, custody, permanency and well-being of thousands of children and families. In 2009, more than 25,000 reports of suspected child abuse were investigated and over one hundred thousand PA children received in-home services.More than 31,000 PA children and youth were in foster care.The cost to investigate child abuse and provide comprehensive child welfare services in PA exceeded $1.5 billion in 2009.

Additionally since 2002, at least 344 Pennsylvania children have died as a result of child abuse – approximately half of these children were known, in some way, to the child welfare system.

Pennsylvania children, youth and families benefit from child welfare services delivered by public and private providers as part of a state supervised and county administered system that has strengths, but too often also does not function as it should or must

  • Effectively assess and assure the safety of a child;
  • Guard the rights of parents, children and alleged perpetrators;
  • Respond to the calls of mandated child abuse reporters who suspect abuse;
  • Prevent the removal of a child from his/her home or other disruptions when placement is required;or
  • Communicate with other public and private partners in the protection of children and youth

Consequential decisions – human and fiscal – are made every day within the child welfare system.These decisions occur without any mechanism for independent and impartial oversight.

Creating a Children’s Ombudsperson will provide Pennsylvania children, families and policymakers with an effective mechanism t

  • Independently evaluate and respond to complaints about the action/inaction of the child welfare system; and
  • Infuse accountability and transparency while also offering systemic recommendations to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the services delivered

Everyone benefits - children, families and taxpayers – with the creation of an independent, impartial statewide Children’s Ombudsperson. As part of the public outcry for and heightened commitment to government accountability, I strongly urge you to create a Children’s Ombudsperson.

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