By: Don Shaw email: don.shaw@pennsylvaniachronicle.com (570) 543-2961

With new laws Pennsylvania ends child marriage, expand the availability of psychological services through telemedicine

With new laws Pennsylvania ends child marriage, expand the availability of psychological services through telemedicine
Harrisburg, PA

Governor Tom Wolf signed into law House Bill 360, which sets 18 as the minimum age to obtain a marriage license and extends the time period for child care and school employees to obtain their criminal Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) background certifications.

“Setting the minimum age to obtain a marriage license will help prevent child exploitation,” said Gov. Wolf. “Marriage is a sacred and serious commitment that should be undertaken with love by two adults, not by children being exploited by unscrupulous adults.”

“Simply put, House Bill 360 is a child protection measure. Child marriage typically involves a teenage girl, whose life hasn’t even begun, being forced or coerced into marrying an older man,” State Rep. Jesse Topper said. “Some of the many stories I’ve heard from survivors of child marriage involve these girls becoming victims a second time. In these instances, they are modern-day slaves in the human trafficking trade.”

“With the abolition of child marriage, Pennsylvania is safeguarding its children,” State Rep. Perry Warren said. “This bill will help ensure the long-term health of children and improve their health and educational and job opportunities.”

Gov. Wolf also signed into law Senate Bill 67, which amends regulations to expand the availability of psychological services through telemedicine.

“The COVID-19 crisis has reduced Pennsylvanians’ ability to meet in-person with a therapist during a time when they are facing life changes, stress, and grief,” said Gov. Wolf. “Senate Bill 67 will allow Pennsylvanians to more easily access psychological services for mental wellness while supporting physical health through social distancing.”