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Task Force Recommends Major Changes to Pennsylvania Child Protection Laws

By Tony Romeo

HARRISBURG, Pa. (CBS) -- A task force created by Governor Tom Corbett and state legislative leaders in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky scandal (see related stories) is recommending sweeping changes to Pennsylvania's child protection laws.

The Task Force on Child Protection calls for, essentially, a complete rewrite of Pennsylvania's child services law.

For one thing, task force member Jason Kutalakis (far right in photo) notes that in the Penn State situation, suspected child sex abuse was reported up the chain of command at the school rather than to law enforcement authorities.

"This has been changed in these amendments to require the person, the individual who discovers the abuse, to report it immediately to ChildLine," Kutalakis tells KYW Newsradio.

ChildLine is the 24-hour-a-day state hotline to report suspected child abuse.

But while the Penn State child sex abuse scandal is what prompted the creation of the task force, the panel took a broader approach to reviewing child abuse laws, and also makes recommendations to better define physical abuse of children and expand the definition of perpetrators.

Many of the task force recommendations will require legislative changes.

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