PA State Laws Updates

A Summary Sheet from the Presbytery of Philadelphia: New PA_Law_Summary_Requirements

Archived information:

Updates as of June 12, 2015

Changes may be pending regarding the fees for background checks for Employees and Volunteers. We will confirm the information from the PA.Gov website – Stay tuned!

A helpful site to go to for documents identifying child abuse, employee requirements, volunteer requirements and mandated reporting, Click Here:

http://keepkidssafe.pa.gov/supportingdocuments/index.htm

From the PA Department of Human Services, here is a downloadable PDF of FAQ sheets on mandated Reporting, Volunteer requirements and staff requirements, click here:

Volunteer Fact Sheet

Updates as of May 20, 2015

This newest update is an example of what one of our congregations distributed to volunteers:

The following document outlines what checks and training are required for each category of employee or volunteer.  It will be the responsibility of the employee/volunteer to complete the check(s)/training. Links to sites are in BLUE.

Employees (14+) who work with children:

1. PA Department of Human Services Child Abuse Clearance

This puts you in the Child Welfare Portal page where you will ‘Create a new account’.  Once you start filling out the form, select ‘Regular Contact with Child’ as your category.  Allow about 15-20 minutes to complete the process. You may print your certificate now, but you will also be mailed a copy.

2.  PA State Police Criminal History Record

Look for “submit a new record check” on the left side midway down the page under the pay by credit card section. Follow the form instructions, use category ‘Church’. After giving your credit card information, wait for the result of the check.  You will see a control # on the left, click on that and you will get another page that  will give you “Record Check Details.”  In the center of that page at the bottom, you will  see “Certification Form,” right click on that to print it.  You should see a form with a seal.  IMPORTANT:  You get one chance to view this copy of the form for printing, so make sure it has printed correctly before leaving this page, otherwise you will have to start the process over and pay again. Allow about 5 minutes to complete this process.

3. FBI Fingerprinting

Select ‘register online’ under the ‘Registration’ heading on the right-hand side of the page which will take you to a form to fill out.  On that form you may skip all the ‘agency’ fields, they do not apply.  In the field titled ‘Reason Fingerprinted’, select the option for ‘employment with likelihood of contact with children’.  Fill in the remaining fields as appropriate, print the registration confirmation once you have paid.   Allow 5 minutes to complete the registration part of the process.  Select a fingerprinting location as listed on the website above — some require an appointment, some are walk-in.  Take your registration receipt to the location to  complete the fingerprinting process.

4.  Mandatory Reporter Training

All staff who work with children are considered mandatory reporters of suspected child abuse and are required to complete state mandated training. Select one of the two websites above and follow the instructions.  These online classes take 2-3 hours to complete.

5.  Sexual Misconduct Prevention Training:  Free

In addition, TMPC highly recommends that all employees and volunteers who work with youth/children take an online training course to help you identify situations where child sexual abuse can occur.  This course will also help protect you as you understand your responsibilities as a leader to follow certain rules.  This is a separate attached document.

Volunteers (age 18+) who work with children:

1. PA Department of Human Services Child Abuse Clearance

This puts you in the Child Welfare Portal page where you will ‘Create a new account’. Once you start filling out the form, select Volunteer category ’Other’.  Allow about 15-20 minutes to complete the process.  You may print your certificate now, but you will also be mailed a copy.

2. PA State Police Criminal History Record

Look for “submit a new record check” on the left side midway down the page under the pay by credit card section.  Follow the form instructions, use category ‘Volunteer’.  After giving your credit card information, wait for the result of the check.  You will see a control # on the left, click on that and you will get another page that will give you “Record Check Details.”  In the center of that page at the bottom, you will see “Certification Form,” right click on that to print it.  You should see a form with a seal.  IMPORTANT:  You get one chance to view this copy of the form for printing, so make sure it has printed correctly before leaving this page, otherwise you will have to start the process over and pay again.  Allow about 5 minutes to complete this process.

3. FBI Fingerprinting

a. If you are a resident of Pennsylvania who has lived here for the past 10+ years consecutively, you do not need to be fingerprinted if you can swear and affirm that you have not been involved in nor convicted of the crimes or offenses listed on the affidavit statement.  Please sign the affidavit titled ‘Volunteer Clearance Exception Disclosure Statement’ and return.

b. Otherwise, you must be fingerprinted:

Select ‘register online’ under the ‘Registration’ heading on the right-hand side of the page which will take you to a form to fill out.  On that form you may skip all the ‘agency’ fields, they do not apply.  In the field titled ‘Reason Fingerprinted’, select the option for ‘employment with likelihood of contact with children’.  (Note – there is currently no ‘volunteer’ option, so use the ‘employment’ option.)  Fill in the remaining fields as appropriate, print the registration confirmation once you have paid. Allow 5 minutes to complete the registration part of the process.  Select a fingerprinting location as listed on the website above — some require an appointment, some are walk-in.  Take your registration receipt to the location to complete the fingerprinting process.

4.  Mandatory Reporter Training

Some volunteers may also be considered mandatory reporters of suspected child abuse and will be requested to complete this training.  Your team leader or committee chair will let you know if you need to complete this requirement. Select one of the two websites above and follow the instructions.  These online classes take 2-3 hours to complete.

5. Sexual Misconduct Prevention Training: Free

It is also recommended that all employees and volunteers who work with youth/children take an online training course to help you identify situations where child sexual abuse can occur.  Check the internet for options.

Volunteers: If you have already completed these background check(s) elsewhere, such as for your child’s school, you do not need to repeat the process.  Just  bring in copies of your paperwork for our files.

Updates: April 15, 2015

REVISED LINKS

1. Criminal History Record obtained from the PA State Police ($10 fee)

2. Child Abuse Clearance obtained through the PA Department of Human Services ($10 fee): Child Abuse History Clearance
3. Federal Criminal History Record obtained by submission to FBI through CogentID ($25.75 fee)**: CogentID

4. All EXISTING mandated reporters are required to participate in a 3 hour Mandated Reporter Training. Online training can be done at either Report Abuse PA or PA Family Support Alliance.  This is required to be completed by June 2015.

Presbytery of Philadelphia Summary: Boundaries and New PA Requirements_15_Final

Updates: February 27, 2015

Pennsylvania Child Protection Policy (Update as of February 27, 2015)
Presbytery of Philadelphia

Several members of the Presbytery staff attended a 90-minute webinar on the new PA legislation and related compliance guidelines under the Child Protective Services Law. Many of the salient points have already been communicated to our churches in the entries below; however, here are a few additions to the summary worksheet:

Note:
Any volunteer who has been a resident of Pennsylvania for at least 10 years can avoid the FBI fingerprinting process by providing a signed affirmation that they have not been convicted of or involved in any acts of child abuse as described under Title 18 of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes or equivalent in another state. [Sample affirmation form available upon request through the Office of the Stated Clerk]

Timing:
New volunteers starting at or around July 1, 2015 and all employees must have the background checks completed by July 1, 2015.

Existing volunteers with older background checks or no existing background checks have until July 1, 2016 to get the checks completed.

Once completed, they are required every 36 months.

Training:
Employees are required to participate in Mandated Reporter training by June 2015. Volunteers are currently not required to undergo Mandated Reporter training, but it is recommended. Online training can be done at www.reportabusepa.pitt.edu, or www.pa-fsa.org/; or at the keepkidssafe.pa.gov website.

Updates: February 20, 2015

Letter from the Office of the Stated Clerk to the Churches of the Presbytery of Philadelphia: StatedClerkLetter_PAChildProtection20FEB2015

Presbytery of Philadelphia -Summary Worksheet of Requirements for New Pennsylvania Child Protection Policy: New PA law

PA Act 153 of 2014 Clarification, January 30, 2015

Last week the state published a new site, keepkidssafe.pa.gov that includes relevant information on all child protection laws in PA including the 23 pieces of legislation recently enacted.  The site includes information on training for mandated reporters, relevant forms, clearances, laws, supporting documentation, and frequently asked questions.  Of particular interest to many of you is that there is a FAQ section on who needs to obtain or renew child abuse history clearances.  This section specifically addresses both employees and volunteers:

January 16, 2015

As we begin a New Year, please click here to read about Pennsylvania State Requirements concerning background checks for Religious Institutions.  Please commit to being a safe space for all who enter your doors this year!

Pennsylvania’s Act 153 of 2014 is a new state law and may significantly impact the way your organization screens employees and volunteers working with youth.

Please click here for information on the new law:   New PA Law Requires Criminal Background Checks

Please click here for a Fact Sheet on Act 153: ACT153_FACT_SHEET