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Is state’s child-abuse reporting system working? Audit seeks to find out

The world of child protection in Pennsylvania has turned upside over the past year or so with two dozen new laws put in place to bolster child safety along with new systems installed for reporting child abuse and neglect.

Given all those changes spurred at least in part by the Jerry Sandusky child sexual abuse scandal, state Auditor General Eugene DePasquale wants to take a look at how well the ones affecting ChildLine are working.

DePasquale announced on Wednesday his auditors last month began the first-ever state audit of this program overseen by Department of Human Services that runs the state’s child abuse hotline and processes applications for child abuse clearances.

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Man, woman to be charged in boy’s child-abuse death

A man accused of murder in connection with the child-abuse related death of his girlfriend’s 18-month-old son said Friday it “really hurts my heart” that people think he would harm the boy.

William Mark Warren, 23, was formally charged Friday with felony murder and first-degree child abuse in the death of Amere Carver.

The victim’s mother, 22-year-old Brandee Danielle Wright, also was arraigned on charges of manslaughter, child abuse, second-degree child abuse and lying to a peace officer.

If convicted of the principle charge, Warren would be sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole. Wright faces up to 15 years in prison.

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Washington County Board of Education adopts new child-abuse policy

The Washington County Board of Education on Tuesday unanimously adopted three policies that will immediately impact the school system’s child-abuse reporting methods, superintendent evaluations and diversity initiatives.

The child-abuse reporting policy requires all employees of Washington County Public Schools to report any incidents of suspected abuse or neglect “as soon as possible, but without compromising student safety.”

Previously, training focused on instructional and administrative staff at schools. But, under the new policy, training will be extended to all school employees, including bus drivers, custodians and cafeteria workers.

“We felt there was an opportunity for other employees,” board President Donna Brightman said. “Whether that be a custodian, food service or a bus driver, anyone who comes in contact with a child who might have the trust or be able to see if something is fairly obviously wrong and try to be that point of contact for that situation.

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Should America Have a Public Child-Abuse Registry?

Erica Hammel’s two-year-old child Wyatt was shaken so badly that he got brain damage.

Her ex-husband’s then girlfriend allegedly did the awful deed a year ago, leaving the kid temporarily blinded and unable to speak. The accused, Rachel Edwards, had two previous child abuse charges, but had only gotten probation. Now Hammel wants to prevent anyone else from experiencing this horror by establishing a public database for child abusers.

Michigan, where Hammel lives, actually already has a child abuse database that contains about 275,000 names, but it’s only accessible to law enforcement and child protective services. Hammel wants to make that database public, like sex offender registries.

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Shanesha Taylor facing child-abuse trial in March

A Phoenix woman who left her two young sons alone in a hot car in Scottsdale while she went for a job interview is scheduled to stand trial on March 31.

A March 24 final pretrial conference also was set Tuesday for 35-year-old Shanesha Taylor, who attracted sympathy from around the nation with a tear-stained mug shot.

Maricopa County prosecutors reinstated felony child abuse charges against Taylor after she missed two deadlines to fund a trust for her children.

She was ordered to set up the trust after receiving more than $114,000 in donations following her arrest and tearful mug shot that went viral.

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