By Tiffany Meeder, Assistant to the Executive Director
On December 31, 2014 twenty-three pieces of legislation were added to Pennsylvania’s Child Protective Services Law. Employees and volunteers who work or will be working in direct contact with children and youth are now required to submit documentation from three background checks. For more information, see the previous blog post, “What to Know about Pennsylvania’s Child Protection Law.”
Beginning July 1, 2015, volunteers are required to obtain background checks, including the Child Abuse History Clearance (issued by the Department of Human Services) and the Criminal History Record Check (issued by the PA State Police). If a volunteer has lived outside the Commonwealth of PA in the last 10 years, he or she must also have a fingerprint-based federal criminal history check (issued through the FBI).
New volunteers must have required background checks before beginning in the volunteer position in which they have direct contact with children.
If volunteers were in such positions before July 1, 2015 and do not have clearances (because they were not required to obtain clearances previously), they have until July 1, 2016 to obtain them.
If clearances are older than 36 months, volunteers in this category have until July 1, 2016 to obtain new ones.
Between now and July 24, 2015, the Child Abuse and Criminal History clearances cost $10 each. By decree of Governor Tom Wolf, beginning July 25, 2015, there will be no cost for volunteers obtaining these two clearances. However, costs for clearances for employees (a separate status from the volunteers) will be lowered from $10 each to $8 each, also beginning July 25, 2015.
For detailed information on Pennsylvania’s Child Protection Laws and for specific answers to questions our churches have asked, check out this easy-to-read five page Fact Sheet for Volunteers then visit www.keepkidssafe.pa.gov. If you have specific questions please contact your insurance company agent as soon as possible.
To apply for clearances visit www.compass.state.pa.us/cwis.