PA Child Protective Services Law

Child Protective Services Law and its Impact on Volunteers in the Cradle of Liberty Council

Download this memo in PDF | BSA Volunteer FAQ [documents updated 7/22/15]

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania passed a new law known as the Child Protective Services Law. The intent of this law is to protect the youth of Pennsylvania. All youth serving organizations within the Commonwealth are covered under this new law. Volunteers, registered and unregistered, in the Cradle of Liberty Council are affected in two ways; we are mandated child abuse reporters and required to provide background check clearances. Please review this information and take the required action.

7/14/15 Important Update Based On Pennsylvania Act 15

The new law, as of July 1, 2015, has made several changes to volunteer compliance and clearances. While there have been changes to school based employees and foster parents, the following is related only to BSA volunteer compliance. Below are a few of the items that have changed with the passing of this new law; as well as interpretations of some BSA specific questions answered by the Department of Human Services.

MANDATED REPORTER OF CHILD ABUSE

All volunteers, registered and unregistered, over the age of 18 are now mandated reporters of child abuse. The law requires direct reporting from the individual suspecting or witnessing child abuse immediately. After reporting the suspected abuse to the state the individual shall contact the Scout executive. The Commonwealth has created a portal for reporting purposes: www.compass.state.pa.us/cwis or 800-932-0313.

BACKGROUND CHECK CLEARANCES

All volunteers, registered and unregistered, in the Cradle of Liberty Council are required to submit background check clearances and renew these clearances every 60 months.

Who is required to comply with the new Pennsylvania law?

All registered unit, district, and council Scouters regardless of their position responsibilities must have proper clearances; Tiger Partners do not need clearances.

 

All non‐registered adults who may have care, supervision, guidance or control of children, or routine interaction with children must have proper clearances and should be encouraged to become registered Scouters. The following serve as examples of adults in this category (additional examples and exclusions are listed in the BSA Volunteer FAQ. These examples are not inclusive of all possibilities, but are examples to help you begin to think about the way your unit uses non‐registered adults):

 

  • Clearances are required if a carpool is organized or drivers are recruited by the unit’s leaders. If organized parent to parent the clearances are not needed.
  • At events/camps where Scouts are participating without their parent(s), clearances are required. If parents are required for the Scout to attend, clearances are not required.
  • Parents helping with fundraisers – if the parent will be or could be responsible for a child other than their own son (or daughter) then clearances are required.
  • Clearances are not required for adults who stay occasionally at a meeting to help out, unless their participation becomes a weekly occurrence.

Whose responsibility is it to ensure background check clearances are obtained?

It is the responsibility of the unit committee chair and chartered organization representative to ensure that compliance is handled before the volunteer service begins. At the district level it is the responsibility of the district chair and district executive. At the council level it is the responsibility of the council president and the Scout executive. Moreover, a new volunteer will not be registered until the council has evidence of compliance.

Volunteers must provide the following clearances:

How long does it take the Commonwealth to process the clearances?

Some of the clearances come back within a few minutes, however, some may take as long as 4-6 weeks.

Timeline to provide the clearances

  • Per Pennsylvania law, all new volunteers who begin their volunteer service on or after August 25, 2015 must comply prior to the volunteer participating in any activity where he or she will provide care, supervision, guidance or control of children, or routine interaction with children.
  • Current council and district leadership, commissioners and merit badge counselors will need to be in compliance prior to September 30, 2015.
  • Unit volunteers, except those above, must comply prior to rechartering in December 2015.

How to Submit Clearances to the cradle of Liberty Council

Volunteers must upload copies of their required documents to the Background Check System. In order to ensure that your files are properly received and recorded, please secure all your documentation before visiting this link and upload all of your files at the same time. Clearances obtained for other volunteer or employment organizations may be submitted if they are current and meet the guidelines.

 

Upload your clearances here: http://ow.ly/MBGOE

 

It is recommended you install a .pdf converter to allow you to print the reports and upload them to the Background Check System. Free .pdf converters are available from CutePDF and PrimoPDF.

RESOURCES FOR FURTHER INFORMATION

  1. Pennsylvania Website on Child Protection: www.keepkidssafe.pa.gov
  2. Pennsylvania Volunteer FAQ: keepkidssafe.pa.gov/cs/groups/webcontent/documents/document/c_135249.pdf
  3. Pennsylvania Mandated Reporter FAQ: keepkidssafe.pa.gov/cs/groups/webcontent/documents/document/c_137646.pdf
  4. BSA Volunteer FAQ

 

We understand there may be a number of challenges in the first year of complying with this new law. Together, we can achieve a smooth transition. We appreciate your diligence in completing these checks in a timely fashion. If you need assistance or have questions, please contact:

 

What has CHANGED?

  • August 25, 2015 is now the compliance deadline for new volunteers to secure their clearances and FBI criminal history (if required).
  • There is no cost for volunteer clearances (PSP Criminal History and DHS Child Abuse) after July 25, 2015.
  • The FBI criminal history clearance (for volunteers who have not been residents of Pennsylvania for the past ten years or residents of other states) is required only once upon establishing residency and when first applying for volunteer service.
  • The cost of the FBI criminal history clearance through DHS has been reduced to $25.75 after July 25, 2015.
  • Volunteer clearances (PSP Criminal History and DHS Child Abuse) are valid for 60 months.
  • Volunteer clearances may be applied for, at no cost to the volunteer, every 57 months.
  • Organizations are permitted to accept non-original copies of the required documents from volunteers.

Department of Human Services Interpretations specific to the Boy Scouts of America:

  • 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).
  • Special Needs Scouts – Clearances are NOT required for special needs Scouts (age 18+) as they are program participants.
  • Tiger Adult Partners – Clearances are NOT required for Tiger Adult Partners as they are participating in the BSA program as parents. Clearances ARE required for Tiger Den Leaders.
  • Merit Badge Counselors – Clearances ARE REQUIRED for Merit Badge Counselors (with or without parents present).
  • Eagle Boards of Review – Clearances are NOT required for community volunteers serving on Eagle Boards of Review.
  • Drivers to camps or events – if a parent asks another parent (parent to parent) to drive their son to an event or camp then clearances are NOT required. If however a carpool is organized or drivers are recruited by the unit’s leaders, then clearances ARE REQURED.
  • Parents helping with fundraisers (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.
  • Adults who stay occasionally at a meeting to help out – clearances are NOT required unless their participation becomes a weekly occurrence.
  • At 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.
  • 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.

The best source for updates, forms, and resources related to this newest legislation continues to be:http://keepkidssafe.pa.gov/

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