PA Background Checks

Pennsylvania Act 153 (Child Protection Clearances)

Summary

In October 2014, Governor Corbett signed PA Act 153 into law. This legislation is designed to increase the safety of children by requiring background checks and child abuse clearances for all volunteers and staff who are responsible for children. This law impacts all organizations who serve youth and also includes strengthened mandatory reporting requirements for adult volunteers and staff.

Mandated Reporter

Pertaining to our Church and Preschool, the following adults are considered mandated reporters and are required to report suspected child abuse if they have reasonable cause to suspect that a child is a victim of child abuse:

  • Employees of child care services who have direct contact with children in the course of employment;

  • Clergymen, priests, rabbis, ministers, Christian Science practitioners, religious healers, or spiritual leaders of any regularly established church or other religious organization;

  • Individuals — paid or unpaid — who, on the basis of the individuals’ role as an integral part of a regularly scheduled program, activity, or service, are responsible for the child’s welfare or has direct contact with children;

  • Individuals supervised or managed by a person listed above, who have direct contact with children in the course of employment

  • Independent contractors who has direct contact with children

Mandated reporters are required to make a report of suspected child abuse if they have reasonable cause to suspect that a child is a victim of child abuse. Concerns related to the safety of children including, but not limited to inadequate housing, clothing, and supervision, can be referred to ChildLine or the county children and youth agency for assessment as general protective services cases. Mandated reporters must make an immediate and direct report of suspected child abuse to ChildLine either electronically at www.compass.state.pa.us/cwis or by calling 1-800-932-0313. After making the report to ChildLine, mandated reporters are required to immediately thereafter notify the person in charge of the institution, school, facility, or agency or the designated agent of the person in charge.

Permissive Reporter

Permissive reporters are individuals who are encouraged to report suspected child abuse, although not required by law. Permissive reporters can make a report at any time they suspect a child is the victim of child abuse. Permissive reporters can make a report to ChildLine by calling 1-800-932-0313.

Volunteers having contact with Children

What is the criteria for clearances?

Adults who are currently unpaid volunteers, or are applying to be unpaid volunteers with the following responsibilities:

    • Acting in lieu of or on behalf of a parent by providing care, supervision, guidance, or control of children; or

    • Having regular, ongoing contact with children that is integral to their volunteer responsibilities.

What clearances are required?

Volunteers who meet any of the above criteria must have the following clearances:

  1. Pennsylvania State Police Criminal History (There is no cost to obtain this clearance for non-profit volunteers working with children)

  2. Pennsylvania Department of Human Services Child Abuse Clearance (There is no cost to obtain this clearance for non-profit volunteers working with children)

  3. Criminal History Clearance

      • For those who have not lived in Pennsylvania for at least the past ten (10) consecutive years complete the FBI Fingerprint Background Check (The cost is $22.60).

          • Visit www.identogo.com/locations/pennsylvania

          • Click "Digital Fingerprint"

          • Enter Service Code 1KG6ZJ and press "Go"

          • Click "Schedule or Manage Appointment" and follow the prompts for completing the required information and printing the registration form to take to the fingerprinting location.

      • For those who have lived in Pennsylvania for at least the past ten (10) consecutive years complete the Disclosure Statement for Volunteers

When do clearances need to be submitted?

All prospective volunteers must submit clearances prior to the commencement of service.

Employees having contact with Children

What is the criteria for clearances?

Paid employees (14 years of age or older) with the following responsibilities:

    • Acting in lieu of or on behalf of a parent by providing care, supervision, guidance, or control of children;

    • Having regular, ongoing contact with children that is integral to their employment responsibilities.

Beginning December 31, 2019, with the passage of Act 47 of 2019, employers, administrators, supervisors or other persons responsible for employment decisions may no longer employ applicants on a provisional basis. Onboarding with no contact with children is not the intent of the Act.

What clearances are required?

Employees who meet any of the above criteria must have the following clearances:

    1. Pennsylvania State Police Criminal History (The cost is $22.00)

    2. Pennsylvania Department of Human Services Child Abuse Clearance (The cost is $13.00)

    3. FBI Fingerprint Background Check (The cost is $23.85).

          • Visit www.identogo.com/locations/pennsylvania

          • Click "Digital Fingerprint"

          • Enter Service Code 1KG756 and press "Go"

          • Click "Schedule or Manage Appointment" and follow the prompts for completing the required information and printing the registration form to take to the fingerprinting location.

    4. Disclosure Statement - Application for Employment, Including Provisional Employment

When do clearances need to be submitted?

All prospective employees must submit clearances prior to the commencement of service.

Submission of Clearances

Where do I submit my clearances once I have them?

Copies of clearances should be immediately submitted in the following methods:

How long are my certificates valid?

PA Act 153 requires that certifications be renewed every 60 months (5 years).

Transfer of Clearances

    • Child Abuse and PSP clearances obtained for volunteer purposes can only be used for other volunteer activities.

    • Clearances obtained for employment purposes within the previous 60 months may be used to serve in a volunteer capacity for any program, activity, or service.