Protecting Children

PROTECTING CHILDREN

As a career child abuse prosecutor, Todd came to the legislature with a passion for protecting children from abuse.  Shortly after he was elected the Jerry Sandusky scandal broke and Todd authored one of the 23 reform bills that were signed into law following those tragic events.  Todd’s legislation expanded the list of “mandated reporters” who must report suspected child abuse and increased penalties for mandated reporters who failed in their duty to protect a child. Additionally, Todd was the sponsor of legislation to allow a criminal justice agency to share information relating to an allegation or instance of child abuse with a county agency or the Department of Human Services to investigate, or with a children’s advocacy center to provide services to investigating agencies. This legislation was signed into law by Governor Wolf in 2021 and enhances communication amongst those tasked with investigating child abuse allegations. 

Following a report on sexual abuse of children in Catholic churches in Pennsylvania, Todd worked with Attorney General Josh Shapiro and local District Attorneys to enact the Grand Jury's recommendations. The Grand Jury specifically praised Todd's legislation, which was signed into law by Governor Wolfand recommended it be expanded even further. 

Unsatisfied with merely increasing the reporting after the abuse has already occurred, Todd also wrote legislation to strengthen criminal background checks for school employees to prevent abuse from happening. Todd also held an informational hearing on the subject of protecting students and staff in schools after a local school district was alleged to have hidden a reported abuse incident between two students on school property. 

It is imperative that we not only do all we can to address threats to the safety of our children but also be free to plan for their future. Todd was instrumental in getting legislation passed to help families facing the financial stress of caring for individuals with disabilities. Todd worked with his colleagues to craft the ABLE Act, bipartisan legislation which creates a tax-free savings account in the Commonwealth to help cover qualified expenses like education, housing, and transportation for individuals with disabilities.