Child Protective Services Law

Justices Say Child Welfare Agency Can't Mandate Drug Testing

Jun 16, 2020
Matt Rourke / AP

Officials may not order drug tests as part of a child-abuse investigation, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled Tuesday, siding with a prosecutor who had come under the scrutiny of a county child welfare agency.

Court To Decide If Drug Use While Pregnant Is Child Abuse

Apr 9, 2018
Gosia Wozniacka / AP, file

Pennsylvania's highest court will determine whether a woman's use of illegal drugs while pregnant qualifies as child abuse under state law.

The Supreme Court has taken up the case of a woman who tested positive for suboxone and marijuana at the time she gave birth early last year at Williamsport Hospital.

A county judge ruled that didn't qualify as child abuse under the state's Child Protective Services Law, but the intermediate Superior Court said drug use while pregnant can make bodily injury likely for a child after birth.

The Pennsylvania House will take up a bill that makes some changes to the Child Protective Services Law. That is the law crafted after the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal.

“This is the bill that clarifies the existing statute requiring employees and adult volunteers who work directly with children to obtain criminal background check clearances and child abuse clearances,” said Rep. Katharine Watson (R-Bucks), the bill’s sponsor. “The legislation further delineates who is and who is not subject to those requirements.”