Pennsylvania’s newly formed Task Force on Child Protection convened its first meeting on Jan. 26 with a discussion on the scope of the task force’s work and the pace at which it should proceed.
Task Force Chairman David Heckler noted the group is due to issue a final report on its work by Nov. 30, but he said that timeline would make it difficult for lawmakers to consider any needed legislation before the end of the session. He suggested a task force schedule that would “identify matters about which we have a great deal of consensus” by spring and provide legislative proposals as early as May or June so lawmakers would have “grist for their mill” to begin deliberations during summer.
The task force also discussed holding hearings in various regions of the state to better gather public input.
The next meeting of the task force has been tentatively scheduled for 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, March 8, in Harrisburg.
In addition to Heckler, other members of the task force include:
- Dr. Rachel Berger, member of Child Protection Team at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh;
- Jackie Bernard, Chief Deputy District Attorney, Blair County;
- Dr. Cindy W. Christian, M.D., director of Safe Place: The Center for Child Protection and Health, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia;
- Hon. Arthur Grim, Senior Judge, Court of Common Pleas of Berks County.
- Carol Hobbs-Picciotto, MHS, Intake Social Worker, City of Philadelphia.
- Garrison Ipock Jr., executive director, The Glen Mills Schools, Glen Mills;
- Jason Kutalakis, senior partner, Abom & Kutalakis LLP, Carlisle;
- Delilah Rumburg, Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape and the National Sexual Violence Resource Center.
- William Strickland, president and CEO of Manchester Bidwell Corporation;
Public Welfare Secretary Gary Alexander serves as an ex-officio member of the task force, and Bev Mackereth, DPW’s deputy secretary for the Office of Children, Youth and Families, also is expected to lend her expertise to the task force’s work. Additionally, Lt. Gregg Mrochko of the State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation serves as a liaison and resource to the panel.