Glossary and Acronyms for Look Out for Child Abuse

Glossary and Acronyms for Look Out for Child Abuse

This list is intended to provide you with some guidance about frequently cited words on the Look Out for Child Abuse website. You can see the legal definitions in Title 23 § 6303 by clicking on this link (http://www.legis.state.pa.us/WU01/LI/LI/CT/PDF/23/23.PDF)

Bodily injury – Impairment of physical condition or substantial pain

Child – An individual under 18 years of age

Child-care services includes any of the following:

  • Child day-care centers
  • Group day-care homes
  • Family day-care homes
  • Foster homes
  • Adoptive parents
  • Boarding homes for children
  • Juvenile detention center services or programs for delinquent or dependent children
  • Mental health services for children
  • Services for children with intellectual disabilities
  • Early intervention services for children
  • Drug and alcohol services for children
  • Day-care services or programs that are offered by a school
  • Other child-care services that are provided by or subject to approval, licensure, registration or certification by the department or a county social services agency or that are provided pursuant to a contract with the department or a county social services agency (Note that independent contractors are captured by this designation)

County agency or CYS agency – a county children and youth social service agency (sometimes also known as the CYS agency)

Department or DHS – The Pennsylvania Department of Human Services referred to also as DHS (Note that until 2014, the department was known as the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare, so older documents may cite the source as DPW versus DHS – still they are one and the same)

Direct contact with children – The care, supervision, guidance or control of children or routine interaction with children (Note: PA law does not define “routine interaction” with children)

Founded report – After a report is investigated by the county children and youth agency and/or officials from the Department of Human Services (DHS), it may be substantiated as a founded report of child abuse. A founded report is one that involved as perpetrator as defined by the Child Protective Services Law (see below) and where any of the following apply:

(1) There has been a judicial adjudication based on a finding that a child who is a subject of the report has been abused and the adjudication involves the same factual circumstances involved in the allegation of child abuse. The judicial adjudication may include any of the following:

  • (i) The entry of a plea of guilty or nolo contendere.
  • (ii) A finding of guilt to a criminal charge.
  • (iii) A finding of dependency under 42 Pa.C.S. §6341 (relating to adjudication) if the court has entered a finding that a child who is the subject of the report has been abused.
  • (iv) A finding of delinquency under 42 Pa.C.S. §6341 if the court has entered a finding that the child who is the subject of the report has been abused by the child who was found to be delinquent.

(2) There has been an acceptance into an accelerated rehabilitative disposition program and the reason for the acceptance involves the same factual circumstances involved in the allegation of child abuse.

(3) There has been a consent decree entered in a juvenile proceeding under 42 Pa.C.S. Ch. 63 (relating to juvenile matters), the decree involves the same factual circumstances involved in the allegation of child abuse and the terms and conditions of the consent decree include an acknowledgment, admission or finding that a child who is the subject of the report has been abused by the child who is alleged to be delinquent.

(4) A final protection from abuse order has been granted under section 6108 (relating to relief), when the child who is a subject of the report is one of the individuals protected under the protection from abuse order and:

  • (i) only one individual is charged with the abuse in the protection from abuse action;
  • (ii) only that individual defends against the charge;
  • (iii) the adjudication involves the same factual circumstances involved in the allegation of child abuse; and
  • (iv) the protection from abuse adjudication finds that the child abuse occurred.

General protective services or GPS – Some reports of suspected child abuse and neglect called into ChildLine or filed online do not necessarily meet the criteria to be investigated by the county children and youth agency. If the report doesn’t meet the definition of child abuse but do suggest a child/family is in need of services or supports to prevent child abuse and neglect, it becomes known as a referral for General Protective Services (GPS). Specially trained staff from the county CYS agency will meet with and assess the child and family instead of conducting a formal child abuse investigation.

Health care provider – A licensed hospital or health care facility or person who is licensed, certified or otherwise regulated to provide health care services under the laws of this Commonwealth, including a physician, podiatrist, optometrist, psychologist, physical therapist, certified nurse practitioner, registered nurse, nurse midwife, physician’s assistant, chiropractor, dentist, pharmacist or an individual accredited or certified to provide behavioral health services.

Independent contractor – An individual who provides a program, activity or service to an agency, institution, organization or other entity, including a school or regularly established religious organization, that is responsible for the care, supervision, guidance or control of children. The term does not include an individual who has no direct contact with children.

Indicated report – After a report is investigated by the county children and youth agency and/or officials from the Department of Human Services (DHS), it may be substantiated as an indicated report of child abuse. This determination requires that substantial evidence exist based on any of the following:

  • (i) Available medical evidence
  • (ii) The child protective service investigation
  • (iii) An admission of the acts of abuse by the perpetrator.

A report can be indicated for any child who is a victim of child abuse regardless the number of perpetrators involved or if a specific perpetrator(s) could not be determined.

Perpetrator – A person who has committed child abuse and is one of the following:

  1. A parent of the child.
  2. A spouse or former spouse of the child’s parent.
  3. A paramour or former paramour of the child’s parent.
  4. A person 14 years of age or older and responsible for the child’s welfare.
  5. An individual 14 years of age or older who resides in the same home as the child.
  6. An individual 18 years of age or older who does not reside in the same home as the child but is related within the third degree of consanguinity or affinity by birth or adoption to the child.

Only the following can be determined to be a perpetrator for failing to act:

  1. A parent of the child.
  2. A spouse or former spouse of the child’s parent
  3. A paramour or former paramour of the child’s parent
  4. A person 18 years of age or older and responsible for the child’s welfare
  5. A person 18 years of age or older who resides in the same home as the child

Remember that a mandated reporter must make a report when they have reasonable cause to suspect child abuse and neglect regardless who the perpetrator is. In other words, the mandated reporter is not responsible for knowing if a person is or is not a perpetrator under the Child Protective Services Law (CPSL) before making a report of suspected child abuse.

Person affiliated with – A person that directly or indirectly, through one or more intermediaries, controls, is controlled by or is under common control with a specified person.

Person responsible for the child’s welfare – A person who provides permanent or temporary care, supervision, mental health diagnosis or treatment, training or control of a child in lieu of parental care, supervision and control. The term includes any such person who has direct or regular contact with a child through any program, activity or service sponsored by a school, for-profit organization or religious or other not-for-profit organization.

Program, activity or service – A public or private educational, athletic or other pursuit in which children
participate. The term includes, but is not limited to, the following:

  1. A youth camp or program
  2. A recreational camp or program
  3. A sports or athletic program
  4. An outreach program
  5. An enrichment program
  6. A troop, club or similar organization

Recent act or failure to act – Any act or failure to act committed within two years of the date of the report to the department or county agency.

School – A facility providing elementary, secondary or postsecondary educational services. The term includes the following:

  1. Any school of a school district
  2. An area vocational-technical school
  3. A joint school
  4. An intermediate unit
  5. A charter (5) A charter school or regional charter school
  6. A cyber charter school
  7. A private school licensed under the act of January 28, 1988 (P.L.24, No.11), known as the Private Academic Schools Act
  8. A private school accredited by an accrediting association approved by the State Board of Education
  9. A nonpublic school
  10. A community college which is an institution now or hereafter created pursuant to Article XIX-A of the act of March 10, 1949 (P.L.30, No.14), known as the Public School Code of 1949, or the act of August 24, 1963 (P.L.1132, No.484), known as the Community College Act of 1963
  11. An independent institution of higher education that is an institution of higher education operated not for profit, located in and incorporated or chartered by the Commonwealth, entitled to confer degrees as set forth in 24 Pa.C.S. § 6505 (relating to power to confer degrees), and entitled to apply to itself the designation “college” or “university” as provided for by standards and qualifications prescribed by the State Board of Education pursuant to 24 Pa.C.S. Ch. 65 (relating to private colleges, universities and seminaries)
  12. A State-owned university
  13. A State-related university
  14. A private school licensed under the act of December 15, 1986 (P.L.1585, No.174), known as the Private Licensed Schools Act
  15. The Hiram G. Andrews Center
  16. A private residential rehabilitative institution as defined

To report suspected child abuse, contact CHILDLINE at
1-800-932-0313