On December 31, 2014, several changes to Pennsylvania’s child protection standards went into effect. Brotherhood Mutual is providing the following information about these standards—we recommend consulting a locally licensed attorney or appropriate state agencies for more specific information.
Generally, Pennsylvania requires three types of background checks for those who work directly with minors as part of their employment/volunteer duties:
Beginning July 25, 2015, the fees associated with checks #1 and 2 have been waived for volunteer applicants.
All background checks must be updated every 60 months. To learn more about the details of what’s required of different types of volunteers and employees, see the following fact sheets from the Department of Human Services:
You can initiate these background checks on a self-serve basis via the Web links listed above. If your ministry is looking to ease the administrative burden involved with a background screening program, private background screening firms may be able to help. To the best of our knowledge, screening firms can perform only two of the three required background checks on behalf of a ministry. Your ministry or the employee/volunteer must initiate the federal criminal history record check.
Even if a volunteer applicant is not required to complete the state-mandated federal check, consider obtaining a national criminal history check through a background screening provider. Be sure to work with a reputable background screening company.
Although only employees and volunteers who have direct contact with children are required by Pennsylvania law to undergo background checks, we strongly suggest all prospective employees undergo a background check, regardless of the position they are applying for. Employees generally have greater access to the physical locations where children, youth and vulnerable adults will be present. Employees also enjoy a higher degree of trust from volunteers and others within the various ministries of the ministry. Thus, it is important to minimize the possibility that any employee of the ministry poses a threat or risk of harm to children, youth or vulnerable adults.
For additional information about background screening, visit Brotherhood Mutual’s background screening resources.
When a background check reveals that an applicant has a history of certain criminal conduct, it’s critical to understand which types of conduct disqualify a person from working with minors. A number of the disqualifying offenses are listed on page 3 of this Children’s Justice & Advocacy Report. Consult with a locally licensed attorney to verify the accuracy of this list and to learn whether there have been any recent changes to the list.
It is important that every employee and volunteer know these disqualifying offenses. If a current employee or volunteer is arrested for, or convicted of, any of these disqualifying offenses, he or she must submit a written report to the ministry’s designated contact no later than 72 hours after the arrest, conviction, or notification that he or she has been listed as a perpetrator in the statewide database. An employee or volunteer that fails to self-report within 72 hours commits a misdemeanor.
Among others, people in the following positions are defined as mandated reporters:
See the “Frequently Asked Questions” section on KeepKidsSafe.PA.gov for a list of some positions that are considered mandated reporters, as well as an overview of how to make a report.
To make a report, mandated reporters must take the following steps:
For more information about Pennsylvania’s mandated reporting requirements, see this resource from the Department of Human Services.
Some mandated reporters are required by law to undergo training on how to recognize and report abuse. Even when this training is not legally required, it's critical that you train your ministry personnel to follow proper procedures. For more information about training, see KeepKidsSafe.PA.gov/training.
Contact a locally licensed attorney or appropriate state agencies for more specific information about these standards.
Thank you for your interest in Brotherhood Mutual. We appreciate the opportunity to provide your church or other ministry with an insurance quote and will reply to your request as soon as possible.
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