Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children (PPC) today presented Rep. Katharine Watson (R-Bucks) with its annual “Be Someone for Kids” award in recognition of her work to improve public policies that benefit the commonwealth’s children, particularly her efforts to address child abuse and neglect.
“As chair of the House Children and Youth Committee, Kathy Watson played a critical role in recent years in helping to enact numerous laws to better protect our commonwealth’s children,” said PPC President and CEO Joan Benso. “We all owe her a debt of gratitude, and our ‘Be Someone’ award is one way we are saying thanks for standing up for kids.”
Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children worked closely with Rep. Watson over the past several legislative sessions on comprehensive changes to the state’s Child Protective Services Law. Her efforts helped lead to the enactment of two dozen pieces of legislation aimed at better protecting children, including measures that broaden the threshold of what defines child abuse and make comprehensive changes to the list of individuals mandated to report child abuse and obtain clearances for employment or volunteer duties.
Rep. Watson also sponsored legislation (Act 94 of 2015) that limits the use of one of the least desirable options for finding a permanent home for a foster youth. The option, known as Another Planned Permanent Living Arrangement (APPLA), is often used by the courts when better options - such as family reunification, adoption, kinship care or legal guardianship - have been ruled out. APPLA, however, is a permanency goal that often results in long-term foster care instead of a permanent home.
“One of our goals at Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children is to ensure all children in foster care receive the services and supports they need to help them be part of a permanent family,” Benso said. “Kathy’s work is helping this goal become a reality.”
PPC launched the “Be Someone for Kids” award in 2015 as a way to honor those who have made extraordinary efforts to help Pennsylvania’s nearly 2.8 million children. This year’s award was given to Rep. Watson by Benso during a ceremony at the state Capitol attended by several of her legislative colleagues, officials from the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services and children’s advocates.