Child Abuse Facts

PA Department of Human Services 2018 Child Protective Services Report

The child welfare system in Pennsylvania is state-supervised and county-administered with both agencies having vital roles in the protection of children. DHS is responsible for oversight and enforcement of laws, regulations, and policies that guide the provision of child welfare services at the county level by each of the 67 counties in Pennsylvania. DHS provides funding, oversight, and technical assistance to each county agency. Additionally, DHS is responsible for the licensure of public and private child welfare agencies and the investigation of complaints received regarding these agencies. 

The report includes both child protective services (CPS) and general protective services (GPS) reports.

Additional Statistics and Information

2017 Child Protective Services Report (PA Dept. of Human Services)

2016 Child Protective Services Report (PA Dept. of Human Services)

Child Maltreatment 2017 - This report presents national data about child abuse and neglect known to child protective services agencies in the United States during federal fiscal year 2017.

Child Welfare Outcomes 2010–2014: Report to Congress -This report to Congress provides information on the performance of states in seven outcome categories and also includes data on contextual factors and findings of analyses conducted across states.


Safe Haven Act

Act 201 of 2002, also known as The Newborn Protection Act, took effect in February 2003 and was amended in 2014. The law permits that a parent of a newborn may leave the child in the care of a hospital or a police officer or police station without being criminally liable, providing that the following criteria are met:

  • The parent expresses orally or through conduct that they intend for the hospital or the police officer to accept the child, and;
  • The newborn is not a victim of child abuse or criminal conduct.

The parent may provide information about the child’s medical history and any identifying information. The parent is not required to provide this information and will not be asked any questions. A newborn is defined by this act as a child less than 28 days of age as reasonably determined by a physician.

Pennsylvania’s program for newborn protection is known as "Safe Haven of Pennsylvania."

The Act requires that designated hospital staff or police take protective custody of a newborn. If the police take custody, they must ensure that the child is transported to the hospital and placed into the care of a health care provider. The hospital will perform a medical evaluation and any act necessary to care for and protect the physical health and safety of the child. The hospital is also required to notify the county children and youth agency and local law enforcement. The county children and youth agency is to make diligent efforts to notify a parent, guardian or other family member of the whereabouts of the newborn (unless prohibited by court order) and the reasons for the need for protective custody. The county children and youth agency will find a safe and permanent home for the baby. Since 2003, 25 newborns have been relinquished under the Safe Haven of Pennsylvania program. 

A statewide hotline has been established for women in crisis and individuals seeking information. Callers are able to speak with a person regarding the program and to find out the location of the nearest hospital or police station. The hotline number is 1-866-921-7233 (SAFE).

Download the Safe Haven FAQ Sheet

Additional Child Abuse Resources

To learn more about child abuse, visit these websites:

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