A proven change agent

Since 2003, the work of the Center was accomplished via an informal coalition. In October 2013 we evolved into the Center for Children’s Justice, which is a registered non-profit corporation in Pennsylvania. In 2014, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) approved the Center for Children’s Justice’s tax-exempt application. With this approval then donations to the Center are tax-deductible.

Over the last decade; we’ve championed the protection of children as a shared community responsibility and assured that child protection policies and practices are child-centered and trauma-informed.

  • Joined with like-minded allies in 2003 to build a strong foundation of understanding within communities about childhood trauma and support for changing the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

    • Result: The voters of the Commonwealth approved constitutional changes so that children, who have been abused or directly witnessed a violent crime, have testimony options beyond face-to-face.
  • Worked to ensure that Pennsylvania became compliant with the federal Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA).

    • Result: Pennsylvania has created three Citizen Review Panels engaging community members in an integral way to evaluate and improve child protection services.
    • Result: The state annually receives Children’s Justice Act funding intended to enhance multidisciplinary and trauma-informed child abuse interventions and investigations.
  • Surveyed more than 1,400 persons legally required to report suspected child abuse known as mandated reporters.

    • Result: Identified gaps in understanding of the legal requirements as well as training and fostered intentional strategies to improve access to high-quality training.
    • Result: Highlighted opportunities to improve the operations of ChildLine - the state’s child abuse reporting hotline.
  • Convened stakeholders and developed public education materials to demonstrate how the investment in voluntary evidence-based home visiting services can reduce the prevalence of child abuse, chronic health conditions, delinquency and other adverse childhood experiences.

    • Result: Consensus around the definition of “high quality” and “evidence-based” home visiting services.
    • Result: PA was awarded formula and competitive federal funding through the Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) Program to connect more families to evidence-based home visiting services that help assure the nurture, protection and early learning of young children.
  • Developed a rich array of objective and data-driven materials to illustrate a troubling disconnect between the on-the-ground experience of what the child welfare workforce was investigating and physicians were diagnosing with official state child abuse data. Identified tangible child protection shortcomings and then fostered solutions to improve policy and practice related to how child abuse is defined, reported, investigated and treated.

    • Result: Mobilized more than 50 organizations to secure an objective examination of Pennsylvania laws, practices and data.
    • Result: An 11-member state-level Task Force on Child Protection was created by the Governor and Pennsylvania General Assembly issuing comprehensive recommendations in late 2012.
    • Result: Beginning in 2014, Pennsylvania will implement historic and far-reaching child protection reforms impacting how child abuse is defined, reported, investigated, treated and measured.

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