Thank you for all you do!
Clearances information: Effective January 1, 2015, revisions to a Pennsylvania Child Protection Law will require volunteers who will have direct contact with a child or children (fieldtrips, classroom aid) in a school or church to have the background clearances described below:
- Criminal Record Check ($10) https://epatch.state.pa.us/Home.jsp
- Child Abuse Clearances ($10) https://www.compass.state.pa.us/cwis/public/home (click Create a New Acct.)
- If you have lived in PA less than 10 years, you will also need Federal Criminal History Fingerprinting ($28.75) https://www.pa.cogentid.com/index_pdeNew.htm (Fill out the website and then go to UPS for fingerprinting.)
- If you have lived in PA for 10 or more years, you will want to sign this form to complete your volunteer level clearances. FBI Exemption Form
New CCA Employees (including parents that substitute) will fill out the Employment History Review (Abuse Disclosure Release, ACT 168 of 2014). One form is completed for each past employer where there was contact with children. Return the forms to the school office for mailing: Abuse Disclosure Release Form
What this means for CCA: In the past all teachers and coaches needed to have clearances and these lasted for your term of employment/volunteerism at one school. Now, in addition to these positions, most volunteers will also need to have at least 2 clearances. This is the case in all schools in Pennsylvania due to the new state laws. This means that parents on a fieldtrip, or parents helping in a classroom, or chaperoning an event must have clearances. But what about Grandparents Day, special speakers, and birthday parties? There is some room in the law for adults (without clearances) who are guests in the school building. A guest has no child related responsibilities and is never alone with a non-relative. Examples of adults who do not need clearances would include (but may not be limited to): class party/performance guests, fundraising volunteers, & concession stand workers.
The new laws were put in place to protect children. It will mean a greater cost to all of us since both employees and volunteers now need to spend $20 to $48.75 on clearances every 3 years. If you are involved with children or youth in your church, you will be glad to know that you can use the same clearances for both. Be sure to keep your originals and only give the organization a copy. Clearances have become a “passport to work with the young” in Pennsylvania. Don’t let them stand in the way of making a difference this year.
You can read about the new laws in this article in the Sentinel: Our View: New Child Abuse Laws .