Attorney Questions Changed PA Child Abuse Report

“Other child abuse prevention organizations have raised concerns about the accuracy of the entire report.”

HARRISBURG, PA – Regional statistics in Pennsylvania’s annual child abuse report, posted on the state Department of Human Services website Monday, indicated 66 reported cases were never investigated because case workers missed the 60-day deadline.

Carlisle attorney Jason Kutulakis has dedicated much of his career to fighting child abuse and was on the task force that recommended changes to the state’s child abuse laws. He found the number alarming.

“It may be 66 perpetrators that have not been properly identified, that have the ability to apply to work in environments with children. They will go to get a clearance and appear to be without any history,” Kutulakis said.

A few days after the report was posted, Kutulakis noticed the number had changed.

“The report now indicates that the state or regional investigators only missed two cases, so there is a dramatic change from 66 to two being indicated,” he said. “Where did those cases go? Why were the changes made and is this just a mathematical error? Certainly there was two extra months to develop this report. We would hope that there would be no mathematical errors. If there was one, that is understandable, but why were those changes not made throughout the entire report and why wasn’t the public notified that an error was discovered.”

A spokeswoman said the department noticed the error on Tuesday and corrected it immediately.

“On Dec. 31, 2014, the department launched the Child Welfare Information Solution. Given the transition, we were pulling data from two systems for this year’s report and it took longer to verify the data,” spokeswoman Kathaleen Gillis said. “Unfortunately, the original chart posted on Monday was inaccurate and the accurate information was corrected by Tuesday. We apologize for any confusion that may have resulted.”

Other child abuse prevention organizations have raised concerns about the accuracy of the entire report. Gillis said the department will post a notice on the website to acknowledge the mistake.