PA Law Increases Background Check Requirements for Volunteers and School Employees

(Last Updated On: June 19, 2018)

PA Act 153

PA Act 153

Pennsylvania has taken a huge step in keeping children in the Commonwealth safe by passing PA Act 153. The legislation helps to ensure that any adults who come in regular contact with children, either paid employees or unpaid volunteers, complete a comprehensive and regularly updated criminal and child abuse background check.

If you are an organization in Pennsylvania who has employees or volunteers who have regular contact with children under the age of 18, PA Act 153 will apply to you.

What clearances do my employees or volunteers need?

1. Criminal History Record Information obtained from the PA State Police (PATCH)
2. Child Abuse Clearance obtained through the Department of Public Welfare
3. FBI Fingerprint screening (exception for volunteers who have lived in PA consistently for ten years)

What are they looking for?

An individual will be banned from working or volunteering with children under any of the following circumstances:

1. The person is named in the statewide database maintained by the Department of Human Services as the perpetrator of a founded child abuse report committed within the five-year period immediately preceding verification.

2. The applicant has been convicted of “one or more of the following offenses under Title 18 or an equivalent crime under Federal law or the law of another state.”

  • Chapter 25 (relating to criminal homicide)
  • Section 2702 (relating to aggravated assault)
  • Section 2709.1 (relating to stalking)
  • Section 2901 (relating to kidnapping)
  • Section 2902 (relating to unlawful restraint)
  • Section 3121 (relating to rape)
  • Section 3122.1 (relating to statutory sexual assault)
  • Section 3123 (relating to involuntary deviate sexual intercourse)
  • Section 3124.1 (relating to sexual assault)
  • Section 3125 (relating to aggravated indecent assault)
  • Section 3126 (relating to indecent assault)
  • Section 3127 (relating to indecent exposure)
  • Section 4302 (relating to incest)
  • Section 4303 (relating to concealing the death of a child)
  • Section 4304 (relating to endangering the welfare of children)
  • Section 4305 (relating to dealing in infant children)
  • A felony offense under section 5902(b) (relating to prostitution and related offenses)
  • Section 5903(c) or (d)( relating to obscene and other sexual materials and performances)
  • Section 6301 (relating to corruption of minors)
  • Section 6312 (relating to sexual abuse of children)
  • The attempt, solicitation or conspiracy to commit any of the offenses set forth in this paragraph

3. The applicant has been convicted of a felony offense under the act of April 14, 1972, known as the Controlled Substance, Drug, Device and Cosmetic Act, committed within the five-year period immediately preceding verification.

What if my employees or volunteers already have clearances?

Employees or volunteers will need new clearances if the clearances previously obtained are older than December 31, 2011. If an employee or volunteer has had clearances after December 31, 2011, he/she will need his/her clearances renewed three years from the issue date.

How often do clearances need to be renewed?

Please renew clearances every 36 months. Justifacts is here to assist your company with this step.

When does this begin?

This legislation took effect on employees working with children beginning December 31, 2014. Prospective volunteers require a background check beginning July 1, 2015.

How can Justifacts help?

Justifacts is available to help your organization manage all aspects becoming or remaining compliant with PA Act 153. We offer many solutions, including:

  • Act 153 package, which contains your employee or volunteer’s PATCH report, Child Abuse Clearance and FBI Fingerprint check in one easy-to-read background check report
  • User-friendly instruction guide to help navigate the PA Child Abuse Portal for your employees and volunteers
  • FBI fingerprint scheduling and onsite fingerprinting services
  • Ongoing compliance with reminders to schedule your employee or volunteer’s clearances as needed every 36 months

For many organizations, this is a new requirement, and the process may feel a little daunting. Rest assured that Justifacts has the knowledge and experience to help your organization become compliant by December 31, 2015. The safety of our children is certainly worth the time and effort we put into making this program successful.


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