Legislative Update: Clearances for Volunteers
House Bill 1276 was signed into law by Governor Wolf on July 1, 2015. Now known as Act 15 of 2015, the legislation amends the Child Protective Services Law (CPSL) by providing some clarity and some financial relief surrounding clearances (now called certifications).
Since the enactment of the original 23 amendments, much confusion has existed over which adult volunteers need certifications. Agencies that are a child-care service as defined by the CPSL, schools and programs activities or services must ensure that certain volunteers submit certifications. Act 15 requires that those volunteers with “direct volunteer contact” or are responsible for the child’s welfare obtain certifications.
Direct volunteer contact is defined as providing care, supervision, guidance or control of children and having regular and repeated contact with children. Each organization will need to assess the roles and responsibilities of its volunteers in determining who needs to have certifications.
In making that determination, consideration must be given to whether a volunteer is responsible for the welfare of a child and to whether the volunteer is acting in lieu of or on behalf of a parent. If they are acting in lieu of or on behalf of a parent, they will need certifications.
If the volunteer is not acting in lieu or behalf of the parent then consideration must be given to whether the volunteer has direct volunteer contact with children by providing care, supervision, guidance or control of children and have regular and repeated interaction with children. In considering the terms “care, supervision, guidance and control of children,” the common meanings of these terms should be used.
Volunteers are required to obtain the child abuse history certification and the Pennsylvania criminal history certifications. The federal criminal history certification is required if the volunteer has lived in Pennsylvania less than ten years. If the volunteer has lived in Pennsylvania more than ten years, the volunteer must swear and affirm in writing that they are not disqualified from service based upon a conviction of an offense under §6344 of the CPSL. The website keepkidssafe.pa.gov has a sample form that can be used for this purpose.
Additionally, as of July 25, 2015, volunteers can obtain the child abuse history certification and the Pennsylvania criminal history certifications at no cost. Those volunteers who need the federal criminal history certification will need to pay the fee of $25.75. Pennsylvania has no control over the federal fees.
The effective date for volunteer certifications began August 25, 2015. This means that new volunteers as of August 25 will need the certifications. Current volunteers who have outdated certifications or who have never obtained certifications will need to obtain them by July 1, 2016.
For additional information and forms, please visit keepkidssafe.pa.gov
LASD and PDE require volunteer clearances. Clearances must be less than five years old at the time of hire. Original clearances must be presented, although our office will only maintain a copy.
Act 24 Arrest/Conviction Report and Certification Form (Free for Volunteers-Required)
Click here to download paper application.