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Background Checks

UPDATE TO PA CHILD PROTECTION LAWS AFFECTING CLERGY, CHURCH EMPLOYEES, AND VOLUNTEERS.
NOTE: All Liberti Church volunteers who work with children (nursery, Sunday School, Youth Group, etc.) must have these 3 clearances (2 if you have lived in PA for at least 10 years) hand before serving. The PA Keep Kids Safe website is an excellent source for more information.

1. BACKGROUND CHECKS

On October 22, 2014, Governor Corbett signed into law House Bill 435, now known as Act 153. Starting in July 2015, the bill will require church volunteers who come into contact with youth and children to file criminal background checks and child abuse clearances with the congregation. Read the bill here. See number 3 below for links to the required background checks.

2. MANDATED REPORTER UPDATE

Pennsylvania has clarified and expanded its list of who is a mandated reporter in the commonwealth. Mandated reporters in the new law include:
• A clergyman, priest, rabbi, minister, Christian Science practitioner, religious healer or spiritual leader of any regularly established church or other religious organization.
NOTE: Section 6311.1 (b) include the “following protections” (1) “Confidential communications made to a member of the clergy are protected under 42 Pa.C.S. § 5943 (relating to confidential communications to clergymen).
• An individual paid or unpaid, who, on the basis of the individual’s role as an integral part of a regularly scheduled program, activity or service, accepts responsibility for a child. NOTE: A program, activity or service is defined as the following: A public or private educational, athletic or other pursuit in which children participate.

3. REQUIRED BACKGROUND CHECKS:

1. PA State Police Criminal History Record Information. Please CLICK HERE to access the PA State Police website and to download the form for a Pennsylvania State Police background check. TThe $10 fee is now waived for volunteers.

2. PA Child Abuse History. The instructions and form to obtain Pennsylvania Child Abuse History Clearance are available at THIS LINK. Note that the form was changed in April 2012. Older forms are no longer accepted. The $10 fee is now waived for volunteers.

3. Federal Criminal History Background Check. FBI checks will not be required for volunteers if they have been a resident of the Commonwealth for the prior 10 years. CLICK HERE to access the process for obtaining an FBI Criminal History Clearance. The PA DHS has set up this site for easy application. The applicant is responsible for the $25.75 fee. The applicant can register on-line and must register before going in for the fingerprint scans. Then a trip to a local office to do the scan must take place. The rest will go through normal channels until the report comes back to the applicant.

Serious felonies and most types of sex crimes would automatically disqualify volunteers, along with any reports of child abuse or drug law convictions from the previous five years. All clean checks are good for three years, after which they must be renewed.