Pa. Law Requires School Volunteers to Pass Background Checks
Parents and others volunteering at schools in Pennsylvania are required to pass background checks as part of a 2015 amendment to a state law.
The amendment to the Child Protective Services Law went into effect in July 2015 and may require volunteers to pass up to three background checks, according to the time-tribune.com.
Under Act 15 of 2015, volunteers responsible for children’s welfare or who have “direct volunteer contact” with children at a school, meaning the “care, supervision, guidance, or control of children and routine interaction with children” must have background checks. In some cases, those checks also come at a cost for parents. Two clearances — state police criminal history and child abuse history — are free and are required for anyone with “direct volunteer contact.” The FBI criminal history check, required if the volunteer has lived outside of the state within the last 10 years, costs $27. Parents must visit a fingerprinting center to apply for the FBI check.
The law also requires background checks of volunteers for non-school related activities, such as Girl Scouts, Little League and church Sunday school. An additional law requires school employees to renew their clearances every three years.