HARRISBURG – Rep. Tarah Toohil (R-Luzerne) today commended Gov. Tom Wolf for signing an executive order last week that overhauls Pennsylvania’s protective services systems, including the creation of a child advocate position within state government.
Toohil, who serves as vice chair of the House Children and Youth Committee, is the prime sponsor of House Bill 1749
, legislation that would establish the Office of the Child Advocate, which has also been referred to as an ombudsman. This legislation has had both opponents and proponents over the years.
“It is clear that parts of our child protection system are working properly and result in wonderful success stories, while other areas are grossly dysfunctional and allow tragedies such as the 2016 abuse and murder of the young Grace Packer to occur in Montgomery County,” said Toohil. “I applaud the governor for recognizing the critical need to create a child advocate to act on behalf of young people statewide suffering from abuse and neglect. I look forward to working with the administration on further child protection reforms.”
Under the governor’s executive order, the child advocate will work within the newly established Office of Advocacy and Reform and serve as a liaison and a resource to connect children and families with appropriate and available government services, recommend systemwide improvements, and represent the health, safety and welfare interests of children before the General Assembly.
The executive order also creates a 25-member Council of Reform that is charged with reviewing Pennsylvania’s protective services systems and issuing its findings by Nov. 1.
Representative Tarah Toohil
116th Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Contact: Rep. Toohil’s Office