Volunteers soon to be exempt from background check fees

Soon volunteers will be able to undergo background checks free of charge while paid employees will enjoy reduced fees, thanks to the new Child Protective Services law recently passed by the state’s Department of Human Services (DHS).

Expanding and enhancing background clearance requirements for citizens working with children, Act 153 of 2014 will make it easier to attract volunteers for positions requiring fingerprints and background checks, Gov. Wolf announced in Harrisburg last week.

Beginning July 1, 2015, volunteers are required to obtain background checks, including the Child Abuse History Clearance, issued by the DHS, and the Criminal History Record Check, issued by the PSP. Fees for child abuse clearances and criminal background checks required by the Child Protective Services Law will be waived for volunteers working with children.

Additionally, the Department of Human Services and the Pennsylvania State Police (PSP) will reduce the cost of both record checks from $10 to $8 for all other applicants effective July 25, 2015.

HAP reports that Pennsylvania hospitals and health systems are pleased with the regulation. Various groups had raised concerns regarding the cost of these checks; HAP had previously advocated against volunteers being forced to pay for them.

Individuals obligated to obtain clearances include childcare personnel; foster parents and prospective adoptive parents, including adult household members; as well as both public and private school staff.

HAP will publicize the DHS’s forthcoming list of FAQ when it becomes available. More information about clearances required can be found at www.keepkidssafe.pa.gov.

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Pennsylvania State Police

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