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Pennsylvania's New Comprehensive Background Checks

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From another thread:

Complicating this for PA residents (although I think other states are moving in this direction) is that state is requiring background clearances every three years on all volunteers (church, scouts, YMCA, you name it) working with children. BSA's 3rd party service won't pass muster. The adult venturers are considered to be participants, I wonder how much the state would agree to that definition.

 

PA's new background check laws have other twists.

 

It is the prospective employee/volunteer responsibility to obtain and pay for his/her background check not the employer. Depending on whether it is direct youth contact and the volunteer's length of PA residency, this could be 2 or 3 background checks: child abuse, state police, and FBI. Sure the BSA could do it's LexisNexis on top of those checks and maybe a year or two later, the volunteer is cleared. About $50 for all three PA required clearances which must be repeated every 3 years! Unclear about the age of a volunteer? Would a 15yr old CIT need to obtain a background check?

 

When you consider that few people will pay for the privilege to volunteer their time, this may be the end of volunteering.

 

http://www.acacamps.org/sites/default/files/images/keystone/PA_Background_Checks_Act_of_2014.pdf

 

State of Pennsylvania Comprehensive Background Checks

Updated 1/30/2015

 

As of December 31 2014, Pennsylvania Act 153 of 2014 requires that new employees, volunteers, and those with expired clearances who have direct contact and care for children must obtain three clearances which are then valid for 3 years. They would need to be re-attained after 3 years. This law also applies to persons over the age of 14 working paid positions, revealing information if the minor had been convicted as an adult.

 

Beginning July 1, 2015, all persons who are, “responsible for the welfare of a child or having direct contact with children†are to complete the clearances below prior to the commencement of service. Clearances obtained before January 1, 2015 are not valid

.

The required background checks include:

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

 

2. Child Abuse Clearance obtained through the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services certifying the applicant is not named in the statewide database “as the alleged perpetrator in a pending child abuse investigation or as the perpetrator of a founded report or indicated report of child abuse.†($10 fee)

 

3. Federal Criminal History Record Information obtained by submitting a full set of fingerprints to Cogent Systems for submission to the Federal Bureau of Investigation ($27.50 fee)

 

Volunteers are not required to complete the federal criminal history check (#3) if they have lived continuously in Pennsylvania over the previous 10 years and are working an unpaid position. However, they must swear or affirm in writing that they are not barred from volunteering due to a conviction or offense under § 6344 ©

.

Unpaid volunteers committed to less than 30 days can provide clearances from their home state or county. Those volunteering longer than 30 days must obtain clearance through the state of Pennsylvania.

 

The law does not require employers to pay for their employee’s background check fees, and camps may front the costs for the background checks, and then deduct the fees from the employee’s pay if an agreement exists in writing as part of the employment contract

.

All three background checks are initiated online by the employee. As the law stands now, an employee must complete new background checks for each new employer. Employees cannot use existing clearances to begin employment with a new employer, even though the certificates are valid for three years

 

Will this kill or just cripple Scouting in PA?

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A big monkey in with the wrenches for sure, but as with other requirements, after the initial grumbling it will settle down.

 

The bigger question, can the State of PA get all those background checks done in 6 months?

 

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Yes big question. I found no requirement that the state of PA complete the background checks within a certain time or a contingency procedure if they do not. I wouldn't be surprised if suddenly a temporary waiver could be purchased for $$ from PA. Ka-ching.

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Probably Pack. Guess most scouters would be only required to do the first two, as they likely lived there a while. Still, one more cost to absorb which will put a damper on some volunteers, whether in scouts or otherwise. Be interesting to see how they would even police such a thing though; would almost need to be voluntary in many instances. Scouts of course are supposed to have registered leaders, so I guess they would be easier to check on.

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Our COR is a Catholic Church, we have to get fingerprinted and submit them to a state background check, cost $25. There's no requirement that we renew the background check so it's a one time fee rather than every three years. It doesn't seem to really discourage people from volunteering. I doubt this will have any real affect at all on volunteer numbers.

 

 

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Digging a little deeper and thinking about this some more, the real problem is not going to be so much the cost as the number of people required to have the check. As I read it every parent going on an outing will now need to have this level of background checks. It's possible that having to have this certification for so many activities, like chaperoning field trips, that just about every parent will have gone through the process and have the certification as a routine matter.

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Hey, we could make it easier by wearing a central computer ID .... Make it retina accountable.... updated everytime you renew your Drivers License.... Hook it to your Voter Registration, Passport, school registration, retinal scans don't change much, we could do it at Kindergarten first thing, kid would never have to worry about his criminal record (or lack of) ever again,.....just include it in the taxes ... I wonder if the new wrist ID bracelet will fit under the sleeve of my coat.....

 

Shades of Brave New World.....

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On the flip side, most of us need the clearances for other youth programs we're involved with. So it's not like we're not already getting this done. But yeah, it may be more economical for the boys if they just go hiking and camping on their own. 😉

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Sounds like a nightmare. Pretty much impossible for kid-serving agencies to lobby against without looking horrible, maybe once the first round of renewals comes through and a bajillion volunteers do the math the state will be asked to come to its senses.

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What will it cost?

 

(There must be additional or different language. The language quoted above applies to parents. No deliveries -- or at least nursing the baby -- without completed check?)

 

 

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Employers (school districts, scout councils, camps,...) must keep records that their employees and volunteers have successfully cleared said background checks. Failure to do so for those employers is a third degree misdemeanor - a fine or year in jail. This record keeping requires personnel and some filing/database system. Will there be inspections by the state to verify compliance or will compliance be checked after a report?

 

Penn State scandal? These background checks would not have stopped Sandusky at Penn State as he had no record. Another new PA law, the "mandatory reporter" law, with 0 costs may have (well assuming one does not fail to report). Coach Mike McQueary's report on a shower room assault would have gone directly to police not Penn State.

 

I am not arguing against background checks rather their implementation and cost. Why are background checks so much quicker when I board a plane, buy a firearm, and hypothetically get pulled-over by the police?

 

http://www.pennlive.com/midstate/ind...ld_protec.html

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From another thread:

 

 

 

 

http://www.acacamps.org/sites/default/files/images/keystone/PA_Background_Checks_Act_of_2014.pdf

 

State of Pennsylvania Comprehensive Background Checks

Updated 1/30/2015

 

As of December 31 2014, Pennsylvania Act 153 of 2014 requires that new employees, volunteers, and those with expired clearances who have direct contact and care for children must obtain three clearances which are then valid for 3 years. They would need to be re-attained after 3 years. This law also applies to persons over the age of 14 working paid positions, revealing information if the minor had been convicted as an adult.

 

Beginning July 1, 2015, all persons who are, “responsible for the welfare of a child or having direct contact with children†are to complete the clearances below prior to the commencement of service. Clearances obtained before January 1, 2015 are not valid

.

The required background checks include:

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

 

2. Child Abuse Clearance obtained through the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services certifying the applicant is not named in the statewide database “as the alleged perpetrator in a pending child abuse investigation or as the perpetrator of a founded report or indicated report of child abuse.†($10 fee)

 

3. Federal Criminal History Record Information obtained by submitting a full set of fingerprints to Cogent Systems for submission to the Federal Bureau of Investigation ($27.50 fee)

 

Volunteers are not required to complete the federal criminal history check (#3) if they have lived continuously in Pennsylvania over the previous 10 years and are working an unpaid position. However, they must swear or affirm in writing that they are not barred from volunteering due to a conviction or offense under § 6344 ©

.

Unpaid volunteers committed to less than 30 days can provide clearances from their home state or county. Those volunteering longer than 30 days must obtain clearance through the state of Pennsylvania.

 

The law does not require employers to pay for their employee’s background check fees, and camps may front the costs for the background checks, and then deduct the fees from the employee’s pay if an agreement exists in writing as part of the employment contract

.

All three background checks are initiated online by the employee. As the law stands now, an employee must complete new background checks for each new employer. Employees cannot use existing clearances to begin employment with a new employer, even though the certificates are valid for three years

 

Will this kill or just cripple Scouting in PA?

 

Neither. The Catholic Diocese here requires a $50 background check every five years. We still have Catholic parish sponsored Boy Scout Troops, Cub Scout Packs and Venture crews.

 

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~~Unpaid volunteers committed to less than 30 days can provide clearances from their home state or county.

 

So as a non-PA resident, if I want to bring a tour of youth to say Gettysburg, maybe spend the night camping, on my way to say DC, I and all the adults on the trip have to get the same clearances from our home state? What if we're just driving through?

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http://padutchbsa.org/memo-on-pa-act...council-key-3/

 

Memo on PA Act 153 from (Pennsylvania Dutch) Council Key 3

by Mike on Tuesday, February 10, 2015 To: Unit Leaders, Unit Committee Chairs, Chartered Organization Representatives, District Volunteers, and Council Board Members

From: Rupert Taylor, Jim Troebliger Ed Rasmuson

Council President Council Commissioner Scout Executive

Re: PA Act 153 of 2014: Requiring Comprehensive Criminal and Child Abuse Background Checks

 

Dear Scouters,

 

As you may or may not be aware, PA Act 153 of 2014 went into effect January 1, 2015. This law will have a direct impact on paid employees working with children and unpaid volunteers in Pennsylvania, including those involved in Scouting. This law requires that every person responsible for the welfare of youth obtain and keep on file, comprehensive and regularly updated criminal and child abuse background checks. This new PA law is applicable to any person “responsible for the welfare of a child or having direct contact with children.†The Child Protective Services Law defines “direct contact with children†as “the care, supervision, guidance, or control of children or routine interaction with children.â€Â

 

This new law affects every Scout Council in Pennsylvania. The PA Dutch Council has been monitoring this legislation and has been awaiting further guidance from our National Council. Like many of you, we have a very long list of questions and clarifications related to this law that we are seeking answers to. We, and every Council in Pennsylvania, are working on getting these questions answered so that we can provide the best information and directions possible to you. In the meantime, we felt it important to communicate with you what we do know at this point.

 

While many community-based programs like Scouting, schools, youth sports programs, and religious organizations have long required background checks for volunteers, Pennsylvania law now provides very specific directives on the timing and type of checks required. The background checks performed by the Boy Scouts of America, because they are done through a third party service, do not meet the requirements as outlined in this new law.

 

Going forward, PA law now requires that volunteers working with children obtain the following background checks and clearances (these must be completed every three years):

  1. PA State Police Criminal History Record Check ($10 fee)
  2. PA Child Abuse Clearance ($10 fee)
  3. Fingerprint-Based FBI Criminal History Record Check ($27.50 fee)

    1. Certain volunteers (those living in PA consistently for the last ten years) can be exempted from the FBI Criminal History Check

Background checks and clearances will have to be obtained according to the following schedule:

  1. Beginning July 1, 2015, any new volunteer must submit clearances prior to beginning service.
  2. By July 1, 2016, currently registered volunteers previously not required to obtain clearances must submit clearances.

Clearance fees will have to be paid by the volunteer.

As we mentioned earlier, we have a very long list of questions and clarifications. Just a few of these questions include:

  • If a volunteer has to obtain clearances for another organization, can the clearances be transferred to Scouting?
  • Does this extend to unregistered parents who attend meetings, go on outings, or want to go to summer camp with their child?
  • How will this affect Venturers between age 18 and 20?

Again, the purpose of this letter is to inform you of what we know so far. We will provide further communications once we have our questions answered and can provide a clear, concise set of directions as to exactly what a volunteer will need to do and how to do it. Please wait until we are in communication before having the volunteers in your unit obtain any of the checks and clearances discussed above.

 

If you would like to discuss this further, please contact the PA Dutch Council Service Center (717-394-4063) and ask for either Ed, Chris, or Mike.

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