Rewriting State Laws on Child Abuse and Protection

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Debra Schilling Wolfe      
Executive Director, Field Center for Children’s Policy, Practice & Research         
University of Pennsylvania



  • She has testified before the Pennsylvania Task Force on Child Protection.  Her testimony and research from the Field Center helped to inform the Task Force in making its recommendations for sweeping changes to rewrite the state’s child-abuse laws.
  • A leader in child welfare for nearly 30 years with an extensive clinical background that includes child and family therapy, Wolfe was the most frequently cited expert throughout the Task Force’s 400-page report.
  • She has developed new treatment models for child-welfare intervention and assisted with the development of an interoperable, real-time technology system, the Information Portability Project, which provides child welfare caseworkers immediate access to critical information to improve the safety of at-risk children.



“Pennsylvania was last in the nation in the substantiation of child-abuse reports and had poorly written laws.  The state’s willingness to critically look at the multi-system response to child abuse is bold and far-reaching.  The Task Force refused to cave to special interests, putting the child victim’s needs above all else.  That in itself is a monumental accomplishment.”



The full report is available at