DeLissio helps raise awareness for ‘Child Abuse Prevention Month’ in April

State Rep. Pamela A. DeLissio, D-Montgomery/Phila., takes part in a Legislative Breakfast with the Philadelphia Children's Alliance on March 27, 2015.

PHILADELPHIA, March 27 – As a new member of the House Children and Youth Committee, state Rep. Pamela A. DeLissio, D-Montgomery/Phila., is helping raise awareness of “Child Abuse Prevention Month” in April.

A recent hearing this session included testimony on the implementation of the almost two dozen pieces of new child protective services legislation signed into law last legislative session.  

“As with any landmark policy undertaking, there is a need for clarification and potentially making legislative adjustments to the laws that were passed,” DeLissio said. “Concerns include the need for background checks by organizations and religious entities for many individuals, particularly volunteers, who may come in contact with children even momentarily throughout the day.”

To read more about the policies implemented and what it means for those who work with children, DeLissio said she encourages people to check out http://keepkidssafe.pa.gov/.

“The protection and safety of our children is paramount; however, we need to ensure that our laws do not place unfair burdens that in reality can undermine or deter the good work happening to support our children’s needs,” she added.

DeLissio said as she embarks on work with the Children and Youth Committee, she finds the assignment very interesting. 

“My assignment to this committee has also introduced me to a variety of other services that the state and local governments provide for children,” she said. “Children Advocacy Centers (CACs) are an innovative way to support and treat abused children, particularly those who have been sexually abused.”

DeLissio said the CACs in Philadelphia and Montgomery counties are co-located with law enforcement and county agencies in order to provide comprehensive investigation and treatment without further traumatizing the child.    

“I have toured both Mission Kids in Montgomery County and the Philadelphia Children’s Alliance in Philadelphia and have been impressed with the ‘vertical’ model of services and the commitment of all agencies involved,” DeLissio said.

“It is clear that we need a better understanding that child sex abuse occurs in all neighborhoods, across all socio-economic classes. We need to educate parents and teachers about recognizing signs of abuse and ensuring they report concerns timely and appropriately. Others who also interact with children should also be educated to the signs a child may be a victim of abuse –- including coaches, youth center workers, grandparents, Sunday school teachers, day care workers and more. 

“My commitment is to work with my colleagues to ensure adequate funding for these CAC initiatives and to help to raise awareness.”

The hotline number (Childline) for reporting abuse in Pennsylvania is 800-932-0313.