All Coaches and volunteers

PA Volunteer Clearances

UpdatedWednesday February 10, 2016 byJoe Strollo.

Recent changes to Pennsylvania law regarding background checks for volunteers went into effect July 1st of last year. In order to comply with the new law and to ensure the safety and well being of all of our players, Twin Valley Football, Inc. is changing its policy and process on volunteer background checks.

In addition to these changes, on June 10, 2015, PA Governor, Tom Wolf, announced that fees for child abuse clearances and criminal background checks required by the Child Protective Services Law will be waived for volunteers working with children beginning July 25, 2015.

 

These background checks are required for adults and are conducted to determine if a volunteer or employee has been convicted of any serious felonies or sex crimes, or has been identified as a perpetrator in a substantiated case of child abuse. 23 Pa.C.S. § 6344(c)(2). Also, any convictions of a drug offense within the past five years will also disqualify an individual from serving as a volunteer who works with children. 23 Pa.C.S. § 6344(c)(3).

While the vast majority of the new changes took effect on December 31, 2014, the Department of Human Services has issued guidance indicating that starting July 1, 2015, volunteer who have contact with children:

Effective immediately, all volunteers who have direct contact with children must have the following three documents on file with FAYFCA.

 

  1. Report of criminal history from the Pennsylvania Access To Criminal History (PATCH)
  2. Child Abuse History Clearance from the Department of Human Services
  3. The third document requried depends on how long you've lived in the state of Pennsylvania.
    • For those who have continuously lived in the state for 10 years (or longer)
      • A signed affidavit for residents of PA for the past 10 continuous years is available through the link at the bottom of this article. It must be signed and notarized and submitted to FAYFCA to be kept on file. 
    • For those that have NOT been residents in the state of PA for longer than 10 years,
      • a fingerprint based Federal criminal history (FBI) submitted through the Pennsylvania State Police or its authorized agent Background check must be done in person at fingerprinting sites

Current clearances must be less then one year old for anyone who hasn't volunteered in the organization previously.  If you have been approved as a volunteer previously, your clearance must be less than 3 years old to remain 'valid'.   

 

If you have your clearances from the School District or from another sports organization, please provide copies of them to FAYFCA.

If you do not have your Clearances, or they have expired, please complete the process outlined above

Unless TVF, Inc. has all three of these documents on file, we cannot allow volunteers to interact with our players. Knowingly allowing such contact is a class 3 misdemeanor, so we cannot make exceptions even if the clearance has been applied for and is on its way. With the season coming up, volunteer coaches should act now to obtain all three of these clearances to have them back as soon as possible. 

 

The following FAQ should help you with questions you might have about the requirements of the new law. Please let us know if you have any concerns that are not answered by this and we will address them as best we can. 

 

Frequently Asked Questions About the New Requirements

Who needs clearances?

Beginning July 1, 2015, an adult applying for an unpaid position as a volunteer

responsible for the welfare of a child or having direct contact with children.

 

What is the definition of child?

For purposes of clearances, a child is an individual under 18 years of age.

 

How is direct contact with children defined?

Direct contact with children is defined in § 6303 (relating to definitions) as the care,

guidance, supervision or control of children or routine interaction with children. 

 

When are clearances needed?

Beginning July 1, 2015 prospective volunteers must submit clearances prior to the

commencement of service.

 

What is the renewal requirement for clearances?

Beginning July 1, 2015 all volunteers will be required to obtain clearances every 36

months.

Volunteers are required to obtain updated clearances as follows:

  • Within 36 months of the date of the most recent certification;
  • By July 1, 2016 if their clearance is older than 36 months; or
  • By July 1, 2016, if they have not received a clearance because they previously were not required to obtain clearances.

Is the use of a third-party vendor to process my clearances acceptable?

Third-party vendors may be used to process your Child Abuse, PSP and FBI clearances using the steps established above. They are not permitted to conduct background checks or clearances through other databases in lieu of the steps outlined above. 

 

How much do the clearances cost?

  • The Pennsylvania State Police Criminal Record Check costs $10.
  • The Pennsylvania Child Abuse History Clearance costs $10.
    • BOTH clearances listed above will be FREE after July 25, 2016
  • The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Criminal Background Check costs $27.50 through the Department of Human Services.

Do I still need to submit a copy of my PSP or FBI clearance results when

applying for my child abuse clearance?

Beginning December 31, 2014, volunteers are no longer required to submit a copy

of their PSP or FBI clearances with their child abuse application. If the Department

receives copies attached to the child abuse application we will not return those

copies and they will be shredded due to the confidential nature of the information

contained on the clearances. 

 

Are there any other requirements regarding clearances?

If an volunteer is arrested for or convicted of an offense that would constitute

grounds for denying participation in a program, activity or service, or is named as a

perpetrator in a founded or indicated report, the volunteer must provide the

administrator or their designee with written notice not later than 72 hours after the

arrest, conviction or notification that the person has been listed as a perpetrator in

the Statewide database.

A volunteer who willfully fails to disclose information as required above commits a

misdemeanor of the third degree and shall be subject to discipline up to and

including termination or denial of a volunteer position.

 

Is the person responsible for acceptance of volunteers required to keep a

copy of my clearances?

Yes, pursuant to § 6344 (b.1), the employer, administrator, supervisor or other

person responsible for employment decisions or acceptance of the individual to

serve in any capacity requiring clearances, shall maintain a copy of the required 

information and require the individual to produce the original document prior to

employment or acceptance to serve in any such capacity, except provisional

employees for limited periods as described in § 6344.2 (f) and outlined above. An

employer, administrator, supervisor or other person responsible for selection of

volunteers that intentionally fails to require an applicant to submit the required

clearance before the applicant’s hiring commits a misdemeanor of the third degree.

 

Can my clearances be transferred?

Yes, any person who obtained their clearances may serve in a volunteer capacity

for any program, activity or service during the length of time the person’s

certification is current. 

 

As a volunteer, do I obtain my Federal Bureau of Investigation Criminal

History check through the Department of Education or the Department of

Human Services?

The agency under which an applicant should submit their FBI clearance application

is based on the agency or organization for which they intend to volunteer. If the

applicant intends to volunteer in a school or at a school related function, they would

apply for their FBI clearance through the Department of Education. If the applicant

intends to volunteer with children in any other capacity outside of a school setting

or function, such as a group home for children, in a church, as a Little League or

soccer coach, etc, they would apply for their FBI clearance through the Department

of Human Services. 

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If you'd like to dive into the OFFICIAL explanation from the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services you can at the link below: 

 http://www.dhs.state.pa.us/findaform/childabusehistoryclearanceforms/index.htm

10 Year Residency Verification Form.pdf
Arrest or Conviction Form.pdf