Volunteer Background Check Information

In October of 2014, the state of Pennsylvania passed Act 153 requiring that all persons (14 and older) with direct contact with children must have state and/or federal clearances every 60 months.

In the sections outlined below we'll explain what is required for all volunteers that work with youth at Pittsburgh District events.

Which volunteers need to have the three background check clearances before they begin their volunteer work?

Volunteers who have direct contact with a minor that involves the care, supervision, guidance or control of a minor AND has routine interaction with a minor must have completed the full set of background check clearances BEFORE they arrive at an event. 

Routine interaction (which is part of the definition of “direct contact”) is “regular and repeated contact that is integral to a person’s volunteer responsibilities”.

Examples of volunteers which meet this requirement include, but are not limited to:

  • Volunteers who will be assisting with Children’s Ministry, Children’s Quizzing, Children’s Camp / Family Camp, and Nursery aids. This includes volunteers chaperoning, or providing transportation to and from events.

 

What Background Checks are required for volunteers who work with Minors?

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, under Act 153, requires volunteers who work with Minors to complete the following:

  1. “Pennsylvania Criminal History Records Check” is a check of criminal history information obtained from the Pennsylvania State Police that is maintained in the Pennsylvania State Police Central Repository.
  2. “Pennsylvania State Child Abuse Clearance Check” is a check that includes a certification from the Department of Human Services as to whether the applicant is named in the statewide database as an alleged perpetrator in a pending, indicated or founded child abuse investigation in Pennsylvania.
  3. A “Federal Criminal History Records/FBI Check” is a check of federal criminal history information obtained by the submission of a full set of fingerprints to the Pennsylvania State Police or its authorized agent. Volunteers who have resided in PA continuously for the last 10 years are not required to complete the Federal Criminal History Records/FBI Check but are required to submit a “Affidavit Regarding Qualification for Volunteer Service“.

 

When must I have these background checks in place?

Volunteers who work with minors on the Pittsburgh District must provide all three clearances to the District Office. This process could take up to a month depending on scheduling and availability.

PDF copies may be emailed to the District Office at: [email protected]

Alternatively, you may mail copies to: 177 North Rd, Butler PA, 16001

 

How do I obtain my PA State Criminal Clearance?
  1. Go to: https://epatch.state.pa.us/Home.jsp
  2. Click on “New Record Check”
  3. Complete the required information
  4. The fee is waived for volunteers

 

What is the process to obtain my PA Child Abuse Clearance?
  1. Go to the new Child Welfare Portal: https://www.compass.state.pa.us/cwis/public/home
  2. Click on “Individual Login”
  3. Create a Keystone ID by completing all of the required information
  4. The system will email the candidate an automatic password
  5. The candidate will go back into the system (https://www.compass.state.pa.us/cwis/public/home) to “LOGIN” using the newly assigned password. The system will then offer the candidate an opportunity to create a new password.
  6. After a new password is completed, log back into the system, click on “Clearances” and follow the directions to obtain the PA Child Abuse Clearance Check.
  7. The fee is waived for volunteers

 

How do I obtain my FBI clearance?

If you have lived in the state of PA continuously for 10 or more years, you do not need to complete the FBI Clearance. Please see below for the “Affidavit Regarding Qualification for Volunteer Service.

If you have NOT lived in PA continuously for 10 or more years, the instructions are below for obtaining your FBI Clearance.

  1. The applicant must register prior to going to the fingerprint site. Walk in service without prior registration will not be provided at any fingerprinting location
  2. Visit a COGENT site to have your fingerprints taken.  For a listing of IdentoGO sites in PA, please visit: https://www.identogo.com/locations 
  3. Review a listing of the required documentation to take to the IdentoGO Site.
  4. Volunteers may call 844-321-2101 for assistance.

 

Who is paying for these background checks?

For volunteers, the state of Pennsylvania has waived the cost of the state criminal check as well as the child abuse check.  The cost of the FBI clearance is $28.75 and the volunteer is responsible for that expense.  As mentioned previously, volunteers who have lived in PA for 10 or more years do not need to complete the FBI clearance.  They must sign the “Affidavit Regarding Qualification for Volunteer Service“.

 

What is the Affidavit Regarding Qualification for Volunteer Service?

Volunteers who have lived in PA continuously for 10 or more years do not need to complete the FBI clearance.  Instead, they must sign the “Affidavit Regarding Qualification for Volunteer Service” and
present it to the Pittsburgh District Office before they begin their volunteer service.

 

How long are these clearances good for?

New clearances must be obtained every 60 months.

 

I recently had these same checks completed for other service. Do I need to obtain new checks for the Pittsburgh District if they were completed within the last 5 years?

No. As long as the clearances were completed within the last 5 years, you do not need to obtain new clearances.  Volunteers are required to sign a “Sworn Statement for Portability of Clearances” and present their three checks to the Pittsburgh District Office.