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 Pennsylvania Child Protective Services Law (CPSL)

Summary of the July 1, 2015 revisions to the CPSL - Read the full memo

On June 30, 2015, both chambers of the Pennsylvania State General Assembly gave final approval to a bill that would make corrective and clarifying amendments to the background check provisions of the Child Protective Services Law (CPSL) that had been adopted late in 2014 and which had generated substantial public criticism as being too onerous, particularly for volunteers who had direct contact with children. Governor Wolf then signed the new bill into law as Act 2015-15 on July 1, 2015, to become effective immediately.

The following statutory changes to the December 2014 CPSL are those most pertinent to our Catholic parishes, schools and other entities within the Diocese of Greensburg.

For all Employees:

  • The law as it stood prior to the enactment of this bill required virtually all employees and volunteers who serve in schools or in children’s programs or activities and who have “direct contact with children” to obtain background clearances. The key term “direct contact with children” was defined to mean: “The care, supervision, guidance or control of children or routine interaction with children.” That standard remains the same with respect to paid employees.

For Volunteers:

  • The newly amended law adds a definition of “direct volunteer contact” and thereby creates a separate standard for the background check mandate as applied to volunteers. This new term is defined as: “The care, supervision, guidance or control of children and (instead of “or”) routine interaction with children.” The change is very subtle and will have to be applied to specific circumstances on a case-by-case basis. In addition, the bill also adds a new definition for “routine interaction with children” which would read: “Regular and repeated contact that is integral to a person’s employment or volunteer responsibilities.” That definition might add at least some clarity to the underlying definitions of “direct contact with children” and “direct volunteer contact.”

Additional revisions to the CPSL will now:

  • Make it easier to use the Affidavit in place of the FBI fingerprint clearances for adult volunteers
  • Make it easier to use the Affidavit in place of the FBI fingerprint clearances for minor employees
  • Eliminate the cost of most clearances for volunteers
  • Extend the time that the recertification process is necessary
  • Extend the time in which the certification process is to be completed
  • Allow the use of existing current clearances in order to obtain employment if all conditions are met, as well as to allow the person to volunteer for multiple organizations

​In 2014, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Legislature enacted sweeping changes to the Child Protective Services Law (CPSL), including, but not limited to, expansion of mandated reporters, expansion of individuals subject to required clearances from the Pennsylvania State Police, Department of Human Services (formerly Department of Public Welfare) and the FBI, expansion of the frequency of the required clearances and imposition of significant criminal penalties for noncompliance.

It is important to note that failure to comply with the CPSL requirements is subject to significant criminal penalties and civil liabilities.

Special Statement

Please Note: Our clearance and training policy for employees and volunteers is to have all employees and volunteers obtain all clearances and complete all trainings.

Clearances, as required by the state of Pennsylvania, are valid for a period of five years, and must be renewed prior to the five-year expiration date in order to be able to continue employment, or to volunteer.

Please click on the categories below to see what clearances you are required to obtain based on your position or title. Click any of the requirements for more information and steps to follow for obtaining that particular clearance. Please also visit the Frequently Asked Questions.

 Catholic Schools

Clearances
expand Position : Coaches (Paid) ‎(1)
expand Position : Coaches (Volunteer, ages 18 and up) ‎(1)
expand Position : Contract Employees ‎(1)
expand Position : CYO Coaches (Volunteer, ages 18 and up) ‎(1)
expand Position : Other Employees (Ages 18 and up) ‎(1)
expand Position : Other Minor Employees (Ages 14-17) ‎(1)
expand Position : Principals ‎(1)
expand Position : Teachers ‎(1)
expand Position : Visitors ‎(1)
expand Position : Volunteers (Ages 14-17) ‎(1)
expand Position : Volunteers (ages 18 and up) ‎(1)

 Diocesan Pastoral Center

Clearances
expand Title : Bishop Connare Center Paid Employees (Ages 18 and up) ‎(1)
expand Title : Bishop Connare Center Paid Minor Employees (Ages 14-17) and Volunteers (Ages 18 and Up) ‎(1)
expand Title : Contract Employees ‎(1)
expand Title : Diocesan Catholic Charities Full or Part-Time Employees (Ages 18 and up) ‎(1)
expand Title : Diocesan Catholic Charities Minor Employees (Ages 14-17) and Volunteers (Ages 18 and Up) ‎(1)
expand Title : Diocesan Pastoral Center Paid Employees (Ages 18 and up) ‎(1)
expand Title : Diocesan Pastoral Center Paid Minor Employees (Ages 14-17) and Volunteers (Ages 18 and Up) ‎(1)

 Priests and Bishops

Clearances
expand Title : Bishop and Active Priests ‎(1)
expand Title : Ministering Priests and Deacons of other Dioceses ‎(1)
expand Title : Permanent Deacons ‎(1)
expand Title : Religious Order Priests ‎(1)
expand Title : Retired Bishops and Priests ‎(1)

 Parish Staff and Volunteers

Clearances
expand Title : Altar Servers (Ages 18 and Up) ‎(1)
expand Title : Cantors (Ages 18 and Up) ‎(1)
expand Title : Choir Members (Ages 18 and Up) ‎(1)
expand Title : Contract Employees ‎(1)
expand Title : CYO Coaches (Volunteer, ages 18 and up) ‎(1)
expand Title : Eucharistic Ministers (Ages 18 and Up) ‎(1)
expand Title : Faith Formation Volunteers (Ages 18 and Up) ‎(1)
expand Title : Lectors (Ages 18 and Up) ‎(1)
expand Title : Ministry to the Homebound (Ages 18 and Up) ‎(1)
expand Title : Money Counters (Ages 18 and Up) ‎(1)
expand Title : Parish and Cemetery Full or Part-Time Employees (Ages 18 and Up) ‎(1)
expand Title : Parish and Cemetery Full or Part-Time Minor Employees (Ages 14-17) ‎(1)
expand Title : Parish Nursing Program (Paid) ‎(1)
expand Title : Parish Nursing Program (Volunteers, Ages 18 and Up) ‎(1)
expand Title : Parish Transportation Volunteers (Ages 18 and Up) ‎(1)
expand Title : Ushers (Ages 18 and Up) ‎(1)
expand Title : Volunteers (Ages 14-17) ‎(1)
expand Title : Volunteers (ages 18 and up) ‎(1)
expand Title : Youth Minister Volunteers (Ages 18 and Up) ‎(1)

 Religious Orders

Clearances
expand Title : Religious Men and Women Working in the Diocese of Greensburg (Paid or Volunteer) ‎(1)

 Seminarians

Clearances
expand Title : Diocesan Seminarians and Permanent Deacon Aspirants ‎(1)
expand Title : Seminarians from Other Dioceses ‎(1)

 Mandated and Permissive Reporting Training Course

In order to be sure that everyone understands the recent changes to the CPSL, the Diocese of Greensburg now requires all paid Pastoral Center, Bishop Connare Center and Parish employees; Cemetery and School staff members; Clergy; and volunteers who have direct contact with children to take the online Mandated and Permissive Reporting Training Course, offered by the University of Pittsburgh, and then print out the certificate of completion.

Website for the online mandated reporter training.

Please Note: Individuals must first go to the registration page and register for the course to get their user name and password. A person can take the course in one sitting or dispersed over time. It takes between 2-3 hours to take the course. The course is completed after the evaluation questions are answered, and the certificate of completion has been printed.

Mandated Reporters are encouraged to file a report online at www.compass.state.pa.us/cwis. Reporters are also permitted to immediately call Childline at 800-932-0313. With this new law, the mandated reporter must personally make the report, and can no longer rely on someone else (for example, a supervisor) to make the report. This is a change to the current policy. In addition, if not filed online, a written report, a CY-47 Form, must be made to the county Children and Youth Agency within 48 hours of the oral report to Childline. After the report is made to Childline, the mandated reporter should inform his or her immediate supervisor within the organization, even if the mandated reporter is a volunteer.

Permissive Reporters (everyone who is not a mandated reporter) are encouraged to immediately call Childline at 800-932-0313 to make the required report. This report can be done online as well. In either case, if the permissive reporter is associated with the Diocese of Greensburg or its entities, and after the permissive reporter makes the report to Childline, the permissive reporter should then inform his or her immediate supervisor within the organization, even if the permissive reporter is a volunteer.

 Pennsylvania Criminal History Record Check

  • The quickest and easiest way to obtain this clearance is to go online. Note: A credit card is required to complete the process.
  • Volunteers Only: As of July 2015, volunteers do not have to pay for these clearances. Download the special volunteer only form here, or visit the Request a Criminal History Record web page and choose the Volunteer Only form under Step 2: Submitting a Request Form.
  • The alternative method for obtaining this clearance is to Complete and Mail:
    • THE PA STATE CRIMINAL HISTORY REQUEST FORM
      • Note: A copy of the form can be obtained from the parish or school office, or by contacting the Human Resources Office. The form can also be download  by going to the above website, and completed by using the following steps:
      1. Fill out Name and Address
      2. Check the INDIVIDUAL / NONCRIMINAL JUSTICE AGENCY block.
      3. Check the EMPLOYMENT / SCREENING block.
      • Enclose an $8.00 Money Order for each application. No cash or personal checks accepted. Parish or School checks are acceptable.
      • Mail form along with the money order or business check to the Pennsylvania State Police Address on the right side of the form. Cash or personal checks are not accepted.
      • IMPORTANT NOTE: When you receive the results, you will need to send a copy of the completed and returned Criminal History Check form along with the completed Child Abuse History Clearance form and check to the Department of Human Services (address will be on the form). DO NOT SEND ORIGINAL FORM, AS IT WILL NOT BE RETURNED TO YOU.

 Child Abuse History Clearance

child abuse picture.JPG

  • The quickest and easiest way to obtain this clearance is to go online.
    • Note: A credit card is required to complete the process.
    • Volunteers only: As a volunteer applicant you are permitted to receive one certification free of charge every 57 months. In order to submit a volunteer application without a payment, you are required to affirm that you have not already received a paper or electronic volunteer certification free of charge within the previous 57 months.
    1. Create Account with Login and Password following instructions provided.
    2. E-mail will be sent with temporary password. Retrieve temporary password from e-mail.
    3. Login using temporary password and create personal password.
    4. Read account conditions and check that you accept the conditions from the website.
    5. Click Create Clearance Application. Note: A paper copy of the form may be obtained from the parish or school office by contacting the Human Resources Office. The form can also be downloaded by going to the above website. Follow instructions below for the alternative method of mailing the form.
    6. Go to Application Purpose
    7. Individual 14 years of age or older who is applying for or holding a paid position as an employee with a program, activity or service, as a person responsible for the child’s welfare or having direct contact with children: Applying as an employee who is responsible for the child’s welfare or having direct contact (providing care, supervision, guidance or control to children or having routine interaction with children) in any of the following in which children participate and which is sponsored by a school or a public or private organization:
      ·         A youth camp or program;
      ·         A recreational camp or program;
      ·         A sports or athletic program;
      ·         A community or social outreach program;
      ·         A enrichment or educational program; and
      ·         A troop, club or similar organization.
    8. Complete application by following instructions from website. You will be asked to submit your e-mail address.
    9. Sign and date form with an electronic signature, which is your first and last name typed in the last block on the application.
    10. A certificate will be available from the website, and you can also choose to receive a paper copy delivered to your home address. It will take approximately two weeks to receive a response by e-mail.
    11. You will periodically receive application updates that will be sent to your e-mail address. Please Note: It appears that you do not have to send a copy of the PA Criminal Background Check in order to receive results for this clearance.
  • The alternative method for obtaining this clearance is to COMPLETE AND MAIL:
    • THE CHILD ABUSE HISTORY CLEARANCE FORM 
      • Note: A copy of the form may be obtained from the parish or school office, or by contacting the Human Resources Office. The form can also be download by going to the web site, and choosing PA Child Abuse History (CY 113). If you choose to download the form, you will need to mail the completed Child Abuse History Clearance Form to the PA Department of Human Services.
    1. Type or print (Clearly and Neatly in Ink) Section I only.
    2. Address must be APPLICANT'S current home address.
    3. All information must be completed in full. (The form asks for all previous names, addresses, and household members since 1975. This information must be provided to the best of your knowledge and belief. If necessary, attach additional pages.)
    4. Application must be SIGNED.
    5. Enclose an $8.00 Money Order for each application. No cash or personal checks accepted. Parish or School checks are acceptable
    6. Do NOT send any postage paid return envelopes.
    7. Application should be placed in a business-sized (or larger) envelope prior to mailing
    8. One block must be checked for Purpose of Clearance. Do not check more than one block.
      1. If seeking to have involvement with a school, check the School Employee block. If performing a service (paid or unpaid) for organizations such as Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Boy Scouts, Little League, or churches, check the Volunteers block. A copy of your criminal Record Check results obtained within the past year must be attached. Do not send the original copy of your FBI results obtained within the past year. THIS BLOCK SHOULD NOT BE CHECKED BY ANYONE VOLUNTEERING IN SCHOOLS. If you do not fit either of those requirements, check the Employment with a significant likelihood of regular contact with children block.

Failure to comply with the above instructions will cause a considerable delay.

The results of your clearance will be mailed within 14 calendar days.

 FBI Fingerprint Clearance

identogo-icon.jpgTo obtain a FBI Fingerprint Based Criminal History Background Check, the applicant must register prior to going to the fingerprinting site. Walk-in service without prior registration will not be provided at any fingerprinting location.

Registration

Registration is completed online following the steps below.  There is no fee to register online.  There is a fee, however, to obtain your actual prints.  This fee is paid in person at the fingerprinting location nearest to the registrant, and it varies depending on the service code used (explained below).

  1. Begin by going to https://www.identogo.com.
  2. Once you arrive at the site, click the blue-colored button in the top right corner of the page that reads "Get Fingerprinted".
  3. Under Select a Fingerprinting Service by State, select Pennsylvania and click the blue Go button.
    NOTE: If choosing a different state, available services and corresponding Service Codes may vary, so the codes listed below may not apply.
  4. On the Pennsylvania page, scroll down under Enrollment Services and click the first option on the left for Digital Fingerprinting.
  5. The next screen is where you will enter one of the following 6-digit Service Codes.  Each code corresponds to the type of registrant you are, and the fee associated with each type is listed next to it as well.

    • For Parishes applying for the FBI Fingerprint Clearance:
      ​Type Service Code​ Fee
      ​Parish Volunteer
      (DHS-Volunteer)
      ​1KG6ZJ $21.35​
      ​Parish Employee
      (DHS–Employee >= 14 Years Contact w/Children)
      ​1KG756 ​$22.60

    • For Schools applying for the FBI Fingerprint Clearance:
      Type Service Code​ Fee
      ​School Volunteer
      (PDE-Volunteer)
      ​1KG6Y3 $21.35​
      ​School Employee
      (PDE-Non-Public Schools)
      ​1KG6TR $22.60​

  6. Once you enter the appropriate service code, click the Go button to continue.
  7. From the next screen you can schedule your appointment, find out what documents you need to bring to the enrollment center, find an enrollment center nearest you, or submit a fingerprint card by mail.

 Employee Affidavit

​Employees can submit copies of their PA clearances (PA Criminal History Record Check, and PA Child Abuse History Clearance) and a copy of the FBI Fingerprint Clearance or copy of the Affidavit for the FBI Fingerprint Clearance from other Pennsylvania organizations (including other dioceses in Pennsylvania) but the copies of the clearances or affidavits must be accompanied with a signed and notarized Employee Affidavit. The copies of the clearances and Affidavits from these organizations must be current as of at least January 1, 2012.

Copies of the clearances and Affidavits between parishes and schools, and the Pastoral Center, within the Diocese of Greensburg only, can be sent freely without an accompanying Employee Affidavit.

Minors ages 14-17, who are employees, are required to obtain the two PA Clearances (PA Criminal History Record Check and the PA Child Abuse History Clearance) but are exempt from the FBI Fingerprint Clearance if they have resided in Pennsylvania for 10 years or more. A parent or guardian must sign an Employee Affidavit and have it notarized.

Minor employees, ages 14-17, can provide copies of the PA clearances, FBI Fingerprint Clearance or a copy of the Affidavit for the FBI Fingerprint Clearance from other Pennsylvania organizations (including other dioceses in Pennsylvania), but the copies of the two PA clearances, FBI Fingerprint Clearance or FBI Fingerprint Clearance Affidavit must be accompanied by another signed and notarized Employee Affidavit by the parent or guardian. The clearances and Affidavits from these organizations must be current as of at least January 1, 2012.

Employees, age 18 and up, who leave and return to work, do not need to have their clearances re-done (unless it is been five years) but will have to submit a signed and notarized Affidavit before they can begin to work.

Minor employees, ages 14-17, will need a signed and notarized Employee Affidavit from their parent or guardian.

Download the Employee Affidavit

 Volunteer Affidavit

Volunteers, ages 18 and up, can submit copies of their PA clearances (PA Criminal History Record Check, and PA Child Abuse History Clearance) and a copy of the FBI Fingerprint Clearance or copy of the Affidavit for the FBI Fingerprint Clearance from other Pennsylvania organizations (including other dioceses in Pennsylvania) but the copies of the clearances or Affidavits must be accompanied with a signed and notarized Volunteer Affidavit. The copies of the clearances and Affidavits from these organizations must be current as of at least January 1, 2012.

Copies of the clearances and Affidavits between parishes and schools, and the Pastoral Center, within the Diocese of Greensburg only, can be sent freely without an accompanying Volunteer Affidavit.

Volunteers, age 18 and up, who leave and return to work do not need to have their clearances re-done (unless it is been five years) but will have to submit a signed and notarized Affidavit before they can begin to work or volunteer.

Minor volunteers, ages 14-17, do not need clearances.

Download the Volunteer Affidavit


 PA Acts 24 & 168 For Schools

Employees of the Catholic Grade Schools and Catholic High Schools of the Diocese of Greensburg will be required to have Act 24 clearances as appropriate. New hires will also be required to complete the Act 168 form.

Please consult with the Office for Catholic Schools for the Diocese of Greensburg at 724-837-0901 x1248, for further clarification and assistance.

 Letter of Good Standing

This applies only to priests and deacons.

A current letter from your Bishop or Religious Superior stating that the individual is a Priest or Deacon in good standing canonically and has all clearances required by any applicable State and Federal Law.

 Frequently Asked Questions

Answer
expand Question : As a mandated reporter, is it my responsibility to report suspected child abuse outside of my place of employment? ‎(1)
expand Question : At what age are CPSL clearances required? ‎(1)
expand Question : Can CPSL clearances be transferred to other employment organizations? ‎(1)
expand Question : Do amusement ride employees need to have clearances? ‎(1)
expand Question : Do caterers need to have clearances? ‎(1)
expand Question : Do festival volunteers need to have clearances? ‎(1)
expand Question : Do greeters need clearances? ‎(1)
expand Question : Do money counter volunteers need clearances? ‎(1)
expand Question : Do office volunteers need to have clearances? ‎(1)
expand Question : Do parents volunteering at a concession stand need clearances? ‎(1)
expand Question : Do VIRTUS training and Mandated Reporter training each have to be reviewed every three years? ‎(1)
expand Question : Does an affidavit need to be renewed every three years? ‎(1)
expand Question : If parents are scheduled to be on recess duty once a month, do they need their clearances?  ‎(1)
expand Question : If parents or grandparents are coming in to the school as Homeroom Parents for a party are clearances required? ‎(1)
expand Question : If parents or grandparents want to attend a school play or breakfast/lunch event with their children, do they need to have their clearances? ‎(1)
expand Question : If parents recieve their clearances and can only volunteer once during the year, to they need new clearances the next year? ‎(1)
expand Question : If parents volunteer only once, for the Fun Day (or similar event), at the end of the year, do they need clearances? ‎(1)
expand Question : If there is a band playing at our festival, do band members need clearances? ‎(1)
expand Question : If we have parishioners cleaning the church on a weekly or monthly basis, would they need clearances? ‎(1)
expand Question : I'm an employee or volunteer in the Diocese of Greensburg and I have clearances from six months ago. Do I need to renew them now? ‎(1)
expand Question : Is there a category of employees or volunteers that do not need to have clearances and trainings? ‎(1)
expand Question : Who can fill out an affidavit in lieu of fingerprints? ‎(1)
expand Question : Why do we have to obtain clearances to volunteer in our schools? ‎(1)
expand Question : Why must I renew all three CPSL clearances every five years? ‎(1)