Changes in Pennsylvania Law to Prevent Child Abuse

In 2014, legislation was signed into law in Pennsylvania to further protect children and youth from abuse. The new laws expand the categories of people considered "mandated reporters" of child abuse and provide for direct reporting to PA Childline.  Other changes were in the requirements for background checks for both paid employees and volunteers working with children.

All paid church staff members are required to get three clearances:

  1. Pennsylvania Child Abuse History Clearances (CY113) from the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services.
  2. Pennsylvania Criminal Record Checks (SP4-164) from the Pennsylvania State Police (PATCH). – Oxford Document Management covers this search when the Criminal History - Statewide Jurisdiction Service is selected as part of the position code set up process. Clearance documentation will be included with the final report.
  3. Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) Criminal Background Checks which includes submission of fingerprints.

ALL volunteers who deal with children, youth and vulnerable adults will be required to have clearances. If they have been a Pennsylvania resident for at least 10 years, volunteers must have both the State Police criminal background check (Act 34) and the Pennsylvania Child Abuse History Clearance (Childline, Act 33). If they have not been a PA resident for at least 10 years, they will also be required to obtain an FBI clearance. The same certifications are required every 36 months. Employees or volunteers whose clearances are more than three years old must get new ones by Dec. 31, 2015. Volunteers who do not have clearances must get them by July 1, 2015. 

How to Obtain Clearances:
Beginning December 31, 2014, the Pennsylvania Child Abuse History Clearance can be submitted and paid for online through the Child Welfare Information Solution (CWIS) self-service portal, https://www.compass.state.pa.us/cwis/public/home. Submitting an application online allows individual applicants to receive their results through an automated system that will notify the applicant once their results have been processed. Applicants will be able to view and print their results online. The self-service portal also provides the ability for organizations to create business accounts to prepay for child abuse clearances and have online access to the results. Those who need fingerprinting for the FBI Clearance may use https://www.pa.cogentid.com/index_dpw.htm.

For more information about the electronic submission of child abuse clearances or Federal Bureau of Investigation Criminal Background Check, go to: http://www.dhs.state.pa.us/findaform/childabusehistoryclearanceforms.

Mandated Reporting
The PA Department of Human Services website has complete details, including a Q&A about mandated reporting of suspected child abuse.  Report suspected child abuse online or call 1-800-932-0313.

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