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ALERT: Governor Tom Wolfe Announces that Effective July 25, 2015 Fees for Background Checks Required Under the New Child Protective Services Law will be Waived for Volunteers Working with Children in Pennsylvania

June 24, 2015

In the aftermath of the Jerry Sandusky child sexual-abuse case at the Pennsylvania State University, the Child Protective Services Law was passed mandating that as of July 1, 2015 volunteers working with children in Pennsylvania are required to obtain background checks. These background checks include the Child Abuse History Clearance, issued by the Department of Human Services, and the Criminal History Record Check, issued by the Pennsylvania State Police. The obligation to obtain background checks under this new law applies not only to those volunteering in public, private, parochial or charter schools but a variety of other individuals as well.

A comprehensive list of individuals required to obtain background checks is as follows:

• Volunteers working with children; 
• Child care services employees; 
• Foster parents and adult household members; 
• Prospective adoptive parents and adult household members; 
• Individuals 14 years of age and older applying for a paid position as an employee responsible for the welfare of a child or having direct contact with children; 
• Any individual seeking or providing child-care services under contract with a child-care facility or program; 
• School employees governed by public school code and those not governed by the public school code (i.e. colleges and universities). 

Taking into consideration concerns from schools and other organizations pertaining to the cost of complying with the new law, Governor Tom Wolf announced that effective July 25, 2015 fees for child abuse clearances and criminal checks required by the Child Protective Services Law will be waived for volunteers working with children. Additionally, for all other applicants the costs for both the Child Abuse History Clearance and the Criminal Record Check will be reduced from $10 to $8.

In addition to the background checks issued by the Department of Human Services and the Pennsylvania State Police, the Child Protective Services Law also requires all employees and volunteers who have not continually resided in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania for the last ten years to obtain an FBI criminal history check. However, because these clearances are administered by the federal government, their current costs ($27.50 for one of those checks) will continue.

If you have any questions, please contact either Alan F. Wohlstetter at 267-765-9619 or Rachael J. Pritzker at 267-606-4982.

Authored by: Alan F. Wohlstetter, Esquire & Rachael J. Pritzker, Esquire

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