In October 2014, Governor Corbett signed PA Act 153 of 2014 into law. This legislation is designed to increase the safety of children by requiring specific background checks and child abuse clearances for all volunteers and employees who are responsible for children. This law impacts all organizations who serve youth and also includes strengthened mandatory reporting requirements for adult volunteers and employees. Act 153 was amended effective July 1, 2015 by the passing of PA Act 15 of 2015.
While the BSA has and will continue to conduct its own background checks, those checks are conducted through a third party provider and do not meet the specific provisions of the law. As a result, all volunteers will need to obtain additional background checks following the information outlined below.
It is the local council’s responsibility to ensure that all volunteers and employees partaking in and or administering their programs meet these requirements.
PA Dutch Council PA Act 15 Compliance Policy
What is the criteria for clearances?
Adults who are currently unpaid volunteers, or are applying to be unpaid volunteers with the following responsibilities:
- Acting in lieu of, or on behalf of a parent by providing care, supervision, guidance, or control of children, or…
- Having regular, ongoing contact with children that is integral to their volunteer responsibilities.
Special Notes: The PA Department of Human Services have provided the following interpretations specific to the Boy Scouts of America:
Clearances Are Required for the following situations:
- All registered Adult Scouters – Clearances ARE required of all Adult Scouters regardless of their position responsibilities. Clearances must be presented at the time of application for any position requiring a new BSA Adult Volunteer Application.
- Tiger Cub Den Leaders – Clearances ARE required for Tiger Cub Den Leaders.
- Merit Badge Counselors – Clearances ARE REQUIRED for Merit Badge Counselors (with or without parents present).
- Drivers to camps or events (Unit Organized) – If a carpool is organized or drivers are recruited by the unit’s leaders, then clearances ARE REQUIRED.
- Parents helping with fundraisers (Popcorn Show and Sell and/or store front sales) – if the parent will be or could be responsible for a child other than their own son (or daughter) then clearances ARE REQUIRED.
- At events where Scouts are participating without their parent(s) – clearances ARE REQUIRED of parents as volunteers, as they may be acting in lieu of a parent and will have routine interaction and direct contact with youth.
- Council Employees – All Pennsylvania Dutch Council employees, regardless of the job responsibilities or length of employment, must have proper clearances. This includes all camp staff positions.
- Third Party Contractors – Any third party contractor, such as a contracted program provider, cleaning service, or food service provider, who may have care, supervision, guidance, or control of children, or routine interaction with children must have proper clearances.
- Adult Summer Camp Attendees – Clearances are required for all adult summer camp attendees regardless of BSA registration status. Even if an adult is “just attending with their child” they will be interacting with other youth camp attendees and with youth camp staff members will at camp.
Clearances Are Not Required for the following situations:
- Venturers or Explorers – Clearances are NOT required for 18-20 year old Venturers or Explorers, as they are not volunteers but program participants (even if these youth are providing leadership to youth under 18 years of age).
- Scouts with Special Needs – Clearances are NOT required for special needs Scouts (age 18+) as they are program participants.
- Tiger Cub Adult Partners – Clearances are NOT required for Tiger Cub Adult Partners as they are participating in the BSA program as parents.
- Eagle Boards of Review – Clearances are NOT required for community volunteers serving on Eagle Boards of Review.
- Drivers to camps or events (Parent to Parent) – If a parent asks another parent (parent to parent) to drive their son to an event or camp then clearances are NOT required.
- Adults who stay occasionally at a meeting to help out – clearances are NOT required unless their participation becomes a weekly occurrence.
- At Cub Scout Pack meetings or day events where parents are attending with their sons – clearances are NOT required of parents as volunteers.
- At events where every Scout must participate with their parent(s) – clearances are NOT required of parents as volunteers.
- Guest Speaker/Skills Instructor – Assuming that a cleared and registered adult leader maintains supervisory responsibility throughout the presentation/skills instruction activity and the individual does not have regular, ongoing contact with children, clearances are NOT required.
Which Clearances Are Required?
All volunteers must obtain the following clearances:
- Report of criminal history from the Pennsylvania State Police (PSP).
- Child Abuse History Clearance from the Department of Human Services (Child Abuse).
- Fingerprint based federal criminal history (FBI) submitted through the Pennsylvania State Police or its authorized agent.
- Not required if:
- The position the volunteer is applying for is unpaid; and
- The volunteer has been a Pennsylvania resident continuously for the past 10 years.
Volunteers who are not required to obtain the FBI Clearance because they are applying for an unpaid position and have been a continuous resident of Pennsylvania for the past 10 years must swear or affirm in writing that they are not disqualified from service based upon a conviction of an offense.
When Are Clearances Required?
Volunteers are required to obtain clearances as follows:
- Starting August 25, 2015 all NEW volunteers must obtain clearances prior to beginning service.
- By July 1, 2016, any volunteer registered prior to July 1, 2015 must obtain clearances.
- Volunteers registered prior to July 1, 2015 applying for any position that requires a new BSA Adult Volunteer Application must submit clearances at the time of application.
- Clearances must be renewed every 60 months. The finger print based FBI criminal history check, if required, only needs to be completed once upon establishing residency and when first applying for volunteer service.
- Important Note – • Volunteer clearances may be applied for, at no cost to the volunteer, every 57 months.
How Do I Get The Needed Clearances?
Clearances must be paid for by the volunteer. When finished, an original copy of the provided certificate must be submitted. See the submission instructions below.
- PA State Police criminal history ($0.00 for Volunteers, $8.00 for employees)
- PA Department of Human Services clearance ($0.00 for Volunteers, $8.00 for employees)
- Finger print FBI criminal history – (volunteers not living in Pennsylvania for the entire 10 prior years) ($25.75)
- Step 1: Pre-registration is required online athttps://www.pa.cogentid.com/index_dpwNew.htm
- Step 2: After registering online, visit a registered 3M Cogent Fingerprint site. Call ahead to double check times and availability.
- 3M Cogent Fingerprint sites in Lancaster and Lebanon Counties, PA include:
- The UPS Store #3413 – Columbia Ave, Lancaster
- Weekdays – 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
- Saturdays – 9:00 AM – 3:00 PM
- The UPS Store #3230 – Ephrata
- Weekdays – 8:30 AM – 6:00 PM
- Saturdays – 8:30 AM – 1:30 PM
- DB Fisher Tours- Lebanon
- IU 13 Burle Center – New Holland Pike., Lancaster
- Tuesday – 8:30AM – 4:00PM and 6:00PM – 8:00PM
Wednesday – 8:30AM – 4:00PM and 6:00PM – 8:00PM
Thursday – 8:30AM – 4:00PM
- IU 13 One Cumberland St., Lebanon
- Tuesday – 4:00PM- 6:00PM
Thursday – 4:00PM- 6:00PM
Friday – 10:00AM – 4:00PM
What If I Am Exempt From the FBI Fingerprint Check?
All Employees must complete the FBI Fingerprint based background check. Volunteers may be exempt if the position the volunteer is applying for is unpaid; and the volunteer has been a Pennsylvania resident continuously for the past 10 years. The finger print based FBI criminal history check, if required, only needs to be completed once upon establishing residency and when first applying for volunteer service.
Volunteers who are not required to obtain the FBI Clearance because they are applying for an unpaid position and have been a continuous resident of Pennsylvania for the past 10 years must swear or affirm in writing that they are not disqualified from service based upon a conviction of an offense. To do this, complete and submit the following form: DISCLOSURE STATEMENT for VOLUNTEERS
What If I Have Already Obtained Clearances For Another Organization?
Employees must obtain new clearances even if they have obtained them for another employer or volunteer organization. Volunteers may carry clearances from one organization to another provided that clearances are no older than 60 months. Clearances obtained for employment purposes may be used for volunteering.
What If I Do Not Live in Pennsylvania?
Employees working for the PA Dutch Council no matter where they live must complete the three required checks. Volunteers that live outside of the state that volunteer for the PA Dutch Council must complete the required checks. Out of State volunteers who volunteer for another Scout Council are allowed to work with youth in PA provided 1) the time period involved is no longer than 30 days in one calendar year, and 2) they meet the volunteer background check requirements of their state of residence. Volunteers in this category should submit a Non-Resident Disclosure Statement.
How Do I Submit My Background Clearances?
To submit completed background clearances follow these steps:
- The volunteer must present clearance reports to their Unit Youth Protection Chair or other individual appointed by the Unit Committee.
- The Unit Youth Protection Chair/Other Unit Designee collects all clearance reports. Once collected, complete this form and attach copies of reports: Background Check Submission Form
- The Unit Youth Protection Chair/Other Unit Designee then submits the packet of copies to the PA Dutch Council Service Center. The Council must keep a copy of all clearances on file. Note: The Unit’s Chartered Organization may also want copies.
Mandated Reporter Updates
Along with the changes for background checks, laws related to who is a Mandated Reporter have been updated. All Scout volunteers at all times are mandated reporters. For further information related to Mandated Reporters see below:
MANDATED REPORTERS FAQ
PA Mandatory Reporters Brochure
For additional questions please contact Field Director Chris Styers at 717-553-4201 firstname.lastname@example.org OR Scout Executive Matthew Adams at 717-553-4211 email@example.com