Increasing incidents of emotional, physical, sexual abuse, and neglect are as real in Berks County as they are nationwide. Annually, Berks County Children and Youth Services receives over 5,000 calls reporting concerns of abuse and neglect within the County. Approximately, 100 Children and Youth Agency (CYS) caseworkers investigate more than 2,500 cases of abuse and neglect yearly in Berks County.
Caseworkers are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to receive referrals regarding abused and neglected children. These agency employees assess the risk and safety of the child and the need for intervention.
Both Federal and State Laws define child abuse and mandate the agency’s investigation of such reports. Abuse can include physical, sexual, risk of imminent harm, emotional and serious physical neglect. These Laws include:
- The Juvenile Act (Act 333) and amendments - Child Protective Services Law (Act 124) and amendments
- State Regulations governing County Children and Youth Agencies
- Domestic Relations Title 23
- Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997
- Adoption Assistance and Child Welfare Act of 1980
- Multi-ethnic Placement Act of 1994
- Indian Child Welfare act of 1987
For more information about child abuse law in Pennsylvania - (PA Department of Public Welfare child abuse page) http://www.dpw.state.pa.us/Child/ChildAbuseNeglect/003670352.htm
Any person can contact Berks County Children and Youth Services at anytime to make an allegation of child abuse or neglect. An assessment will be made to assure the child’s safety and determine if further investigation or services are needed.
The State of Pennsylvania maintains an office, Childline, to receive and track reports of child abuse and neglect. Childline can be accessed 24 hours a day / 7 days a week. Their toll-free telephone number is 1-800-932-0313.
Mandated reporters are people who come into contact with children as part of their work. Mandated reporters include, but are not limited to, physicians, medical examiners, dentists, optometrists, nurses, hospital personnel, members of the clergy, school administrators and teachers, social service workers, day care workers, coroners and Law Enforcement officers. These professionals are required to report cases of suspected child abuse.