State Senator LeAnna Washington introduces bill to create Office of Children’s Ombudsman
The Penn State child sexual abuse scandal has raised awareness in the Commonwealth of the need to better protect our children, an issue that has been at the heart of State Senator LeAnna Washington's policies. This week, Senator Washinton (D-Phila./Montgomery) introduced Senate Bill 1363 to create an Office of Children's Ombudsman for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to support the interests and rights of children and families – both individually and system wide.
The Office of Children's Ombudsman will be an independent advocate charged with investigating complaints concerning government services for children and families such as child protective services, foster care, adoption and juvenile justice services. It will probe violations of alleged administrative agencies' mismanagement which directly or indirectly place a child in danger. It will also pursue legislative changes on behalf of children and make recommendations to the Governor, the General Assembly and the Supreme Court on child welfare issues.
"As a survivor of child abuse myself, I am appalled at the systematic failures that continue to persist in failing to protect the most vulnerable citizens," Washington said. "Through the Office of Children's Ombudsman, we can immediately start scrutinizing a backlog of abuses and begin examining long-term changes to improve our government agencies. We need to ensure that children who are victims have a way to be heard and that every child in Pennsylvania can live free from mistreatment."
Approximately 29 states including New Jersey and Delaware have ombudsman or offices of the child advocate and a number of others are in the process of creating them. Most of these receive complaints regarding children and family services and assist the public with questions and issues about state agencies.
Senator LeAnna Washington represents the 4th District, which consists of parts of Montgomery County and the City of Philadelphia. Washington has served in the Senate for six years, since May 2005, when she won a special election. Prior to serving in the Pennsylvania Senate, she served from November 1993 to June 2005 in the PA House of Representatives, representing the 200th legislative district. Washington currently serves as Democratic Chair of the Senate Aging and Youth Committee.
She also serves on the Democratic Policy Committee as the Deputy Chair, as well as the Community, Economics, and Recreational Development, Finance, State Government, Urban Affairs and Housing, and Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committees. Washington is also a member of the Children's Trust Fund Board.
+ Top Story
Dr. Kermit Gosnell waived his right to appeal in exchange for a sentence of life without parole. Gosnell, 72, was convicted Monday of first-degree murder in a case that became a flashpoint in the nation’s abortion debate.
The number of Americans who applied for unemployment benefits fell by 4,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 323,000, a five-year low. Layoffs have returned to pre-recession levels, a trend that could lead to more hiring.
The airline announced Thursday that it plans to offer daily nonstop flights to Port-au-Prince, Haiti, from New York City’s John F. Kennedy International Airport and South Florida’s Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.
America’s blacks voted at a higher rate than other minority groups in 2012 and by most measures surpassed the white turnout for the first time, reflecting a deeply polarized presidential election in which blacks strongly supported Barack Obama while many whites stayed home.
PepsiCo said it immediately pulled the 60-second spot after learning that people found it offensive. The ad was part of a series developed by African-American rapper Tyler, The Creator, and depicted a battered white woman on crutches being urged to identify a suspect out of a lineup of black men.
Richie Havens, the folk singer and guitarist who was the first performer at Woodstock, died Monday at age 72. Havens died of a heart attack in New Jersey, his family said in a statement. He was born in Brooklyn.
"A Nation at Risk," the report issued 30 years ago by President Ronald Reagan's Education Department, was meant as a wake-up call for the country. It spelled out where the United States was coming up short in education and what steps could be taken to avert a crisis.