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5 Audubon Court
Bloomsburg, PA 17815
Phone (570) 784-2700
Fax (570) 387-4074

General Email

officestaff@
columbiamontourbsa.org

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Pennsylvania Child Protection Legislation

On July 1, 2015, a new Pennsylvania state law took effect in an effort to better protect our state’s youth from abuse in any organization that directly works with and provides services to children. This includes such organizations as the Boys and Girls Clubs of America, YMCA, Red Cross, churches, school districts and most certainly the Boy Scouts of America.

A volunteer under this law is anyone who is responsible for a child acting in place of the parent (supervision, guidance, control, etc.). Clearance requirements for volunteers fall under two categories: "Registered Volunteers" and "Non-Registered Volunteers". Clearances are required for all Registered Volunteers and are also required for some Non-Registered Volunteers.

In all cases the clearances are valid for 60 months (and may be applied for every 57 months, at no cost to volunteers) and copies of all clearances must be kept on file at the unit and the Council Service Center.

REGISTERED VOLUNTEERS - Clearances Required

Clearances are required for ALL registered volunteers. This includes the following volunteers:

  • Unit Leaders
  • Unit Committee Members
  • Chartered Organization Representatives
  • Commissioners
  • District and Council Committee Members & Staff
  • Training and Advancement Staff
  • Program Staff
  • Merit Badge Counselors

Under the law, all registered leaders are required to complete the clearance procedures listed below under "Clearances Required" and submit copies of the completed documents with any new adult volunteer application to the Council Service Center.

NON-REGISTERED VOLUNTEERS - Clearances Required

Clearances are also required for the following non-registered volunteers who provide program assistance to any scouts other than their own children (See "CLARIFICATIONS", below for specific details/further explanations of these categories):

  • Parents
  • Drivers (organized carpools)
  • Summer or Day Camp Staff
  • "Other" non-registered volunteers who provide program assistance to any scouts other than their own children.

Under the law, all non-registered volunteers who qualify under these areas, are also required to complete the clearance procedures listed below under "Clearances Required" and submit copies of the completed documents to the Council Service Center.

CLARIFICATIONS

Listed below are some specific clarifications as to whether or not a Registered / Non-Registered volunteer is required to obtain clearances as stated above:

  • 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 Cub Adult Partners - Clearances are NOT required for Tiger Cub Adult Partners as they are participating in the BSA program as parents. Clearances ARE required for Tiger Cub 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 required.
  • 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 Cub Scout Pack 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, e.g., Haunted Harvest Fest and Cub Skill Weekend. 
  • 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.

WAIVER OF STATE MANDATED BACKGROUND CHECKS

A provision in the law allows those registered individuals who volunteer with the BSA but have no responsibility for the welfare of or direct contact with children (e.g. committee members, board members) to submit a waiver exempting them from obtaining background clearances. In these cases, individuals are required to complete and turn-in to Council a copy of the Waiver of State Mandated Background Checks form (see attachment). Unit verification is required by the primary unit leader (Cubmaster, Scoutmaster, and Advisor) and witness verification may be signed by another unit leader that has knowledge of the volunteer’s duties.   If a waivered individual’s duties or position change, providing for direct contact with children, clearances must be obtained.

PA Child Clearances - CMC Waiver Application Adobe Portable Document Format [435 kB]


WHAT IF I ALREADY COMPLETED CLEARANCES WITH OTHER ORGANIZATIONS?

New clearances to do not have to be completed if you have valid clearances that were done for another organization. Simply make a copy and provide it to council for filing.

WHAT CLEARANCES ARE REQUIRED - WHERE DO I GET THEM?

Three basic clearances are required:

  • PA State Police Criminal History
  • PA Department of Human Services Clearance
  • Disclosure Statement Application for Volunteers (if you HAVE been a PA resident for 10 consecutive years), OR
    FBI Fingerprint Criminal History (only if you HAVE NOT been a PA resident for 10 consecutive years)

Clearances can be completed online with the exception of the fingerprinting which requires on-line registration and a visit to a designated fingerprinting site.

Note: As of July 25, 2015 the PA Legislature has waived all fees for PA child abuse clearances for Volunteer applicants.   Upon marking the volunteer button on the appropriate website, a fee will not be assessed. This does not apply to the FBI Fingerprinting Criminal History because it is a federal clearance. 

PA State Police Criminal History

https://epatch.state.pa.us/Home.jspExternal Link

Note: This clearance takes less than 5 minutes to compete and submit.   Response time is a few minutes if no record exists and a printable record check is made available immediately.   If a record exists, a review could take up to 2-3 weeks and a response will be mailed to the address provided. 

PA Department of Human Services Clearance

http://www.dhs.pa.gov/publications/findaform/childabusehistoryclearanceforms/External Link

Note: This clearance takes approximately 20 minutes to complete and once submitted can take up to 14 days for a response by e-mail (you are also given the option to have the clearance mailed to you). Before you start, you should have the following information readily available to help you complete your application:

  • Addresses where you have previously lived since 1975
  • Names of all individuals with whom you have lived to include parents, guardians, siblings, spouses, etc. since 1975
  • Any previous names you have used or have been known by.

Disclosure Statement Application (for Volunteers who HAVE been a PA resident for 10 consecutive years)

PA Child Clearances Disclosure Statement Application Adobe Portable Document Format [76 kB]

FBI Fingerprint Criminal History ($25.75) (for Volunteers who HAVE NOT been a PA resident for 10 consecutive years)

Pre-registration required and go to 3M Cogent site:

https://www.pa.cogentid.com/index_dpwNew.htmExternal Link

Note: You need to register on-line at the above web address. Once completed contact the nearest law enforcement agency to obtain two cards and complete the fingerprinting. Mail your completed cards and a copy of your receipt to the address provided upon registration or may drop off your cards at an approved 3M cogent site (available on the website).   The registration is valid for 90 days and the response for the clearance can be 4-6 weeks. 

REMEMBER THIS CLEARANCE IS ONLY REQUIRED FOR INDIVIDUALS WHO HAVE NOT LIVED IN PENNSYLVANIA FOR 10 CONTINUOUS YEARS.

FOR MORE INFORMATION

If you would like more information on the legislation or have additional questions please visit:

http://www.keepkidssafe.pa.govExternal Link

or contact the Council Service Center.

RESOURCE DOCUMENTS

PA Child Clearances - CMC Waiver Application Adobe Portable Document Format [435 kB]

PA Child Clearances Disclosure Statement Application Adobe Portable Document Format [76 kB]

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