The Pennsylvania General Assembly once again amended the Child Protective Services Law (Act 153) in July of 2015 through what is known as Act 15 of 2015. Significant changes to the background check requirements have been made, and the highlights to the law are summarized in this document below.
Act 15 defines direct volunteer contact as the care, supervision, guidance, or control of children and routine interaction with children. Routine interaction is defined as regular and repeated contact that is integral to a person’s employment or volunteer responsibilities.
- Effective July 1, 2016 or by adoption of a new School Board policy, volunteers must have clearances in order to be approved to offer their services in the schools.
- All fees associated with background checks have been waived. Although Act 15 does provide a few exemptions within the law, effective August 31, 2015, the Kennett Consolidated School District will be requiring background clearances from all volunteers who are supervising children in an effort to ensure the health, welfare, and safety of all students.
- All Pennsylvania background checks are now valid for a five (5) year period.
- If a volunteer has continuously resided in Pennsylvania for 10 years AND swears in writing that he or she has never been convicted of a disqualifying crime in Pennsylvania or the corresponding offenses under the laws of any other jurisdiction, they only need to secure the Department of Public Welfare Child Abuse Clearance (Act 151) and the Pennsylvania Criminal History Check (Act 34); the Federal Clearance (Act 114) is not needed.
Volunteers may obtain these clearances by applying online at the following websites:
- Act 34 PA State Criminal Record Check
- Act 114 Federal Criminal Background Check (Select Pennsylvania Department of Education)
- Act 151 Child Abuse History (Must create new account to complete online)
Once obtained the clearances must be submitted to the school principal.