Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Are Pennsylvania Educators Effective Advocates for Child Safety? A Quantitative Correlation Study Examining Before and After Act 126 of 2012
by Caffrey, Summer Joy, Ph.D., Northcentral University, 2018, 219; 10976154
Abstract (Summary)

Deemed the “broad safety net approach,” reformation of statutory law Pennsylvania Act 126 of 2012, increased the education and training requirements for mandated reporters with the intentions to increase the number of children identified as abused and neglected. The purpose of this quantitative correlation study is to examine data from the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services to determine if Act 126 of 2012 improved child safety outcomes. Child cognitive development theory, normative social conformity theory, and public outrage and public policy reform theory were used as the theoretical foundation of study. Participants included Pennsylvania Educators and Rereported Child Abuse referrals from years 2009 to 2016. Eight reporting years made up the sample size and was divided into two groups. All five research questions were answered by the results of the study. First, via two independent t-Test analysis, the researcher determined neither total PEG referrals nor substantiated PEG referrals were affected. Next, there was a significant main effect of Act 126 of 2012 on unsubstantiated PRAR referrals with an inverse correlation between educator-generated referrals and substantiation rates. Finally, a statistically significant main effect existed between Child age which projected Child Protective Services outcomes. In short, Pennsylvania educators reported more school-aged children than their younger and older counterparts which were correlated with educator-generated referral rates. However, the relationship was negative. Hence, Act 126 of 2012 was not sufficient and did not achieve the expected results. Educators produced high quantity low-quality referrals. These results are significant since both Children and Youth Services, and Pennsylvania lawmakers rely on educators as the front line of defense in child safety. The changes to Act 126 of 2012 were not sufficient to improve Child Protective Services outcomes for children. The implications of the study are severe due to a school-to-child protective services pipeline increasing child and family contact with Pennsylvania’s Children and Youth Services without improved outcomes. Recommendations for future research include repeating the study using disaggregated data from the National Child Abuse use and Neglect Data Systems’ (NCANDS) Child-File level data held at the national archives, Cornell University, New York.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: George, Robert F.
Commitee: Burd, Paul, Watkins, Julia
School: Northcentral University
Department: Education
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-A 80/03(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Educational leadership, School counseling, Public health, Counseling Psychology, Public policy
Keywords: Child abuse, Child protective services law, Children and youth services, Educational personnel, Mandated reporters
Publication Number: 10976154
ISBN: 978-0-438-63096-3
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