Background Check Requirements for Volunteers who Work with Minors
Which volunteers need to have the three background check clearances before they begin their volunteer work at the College?
Volunteers who have direct contact with a Minor that involves the care, supervision, guidance or control of a Minor AND has routine interaction with a Minor must have completed the full set of background check clearances BEFORE they arrive on campus.
Routine interaction (which is part of the definition of “direct contact”) is “regular and repeated contact that is integral to a person’s volunteer responsibilities”.
Examples of volunteers which meet this requirement include, but are not limited to:
- Volunteers who will be assisting at a College-run or College-sponsored program that involves Minors which last two or more days. This includes chaperones who accompany the camp from the participating organization.
What Background Checks are required for volunteers who work with Minors?
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, under Act 153, requires volunteers who work with Minors to complete the following:
- Pennsylvania Criminal History Records Check" is a check of criminal history information obtained from the Pennsylvania State Police that is maintained in the Pennsylvania State Police Central Repository.
- “Pennsylvania State Child Abuse Clearance Check” is a check that includes a certification from the Department of Human Services as to whether the applicant is named in the statewide database as an alleged perpetrator in a pending, indicated or founded child abuse investigation in Pennsylvania.
- A “Federal Criminal History Records/FBI Check” is a check of federal criminal history information obtained by the submission of a full set of fingerprints to the Pennsylvania State Police or its authorized agent. Volunteers who have resided in PA continuously for the last 10 years are not required to complete the Federal Criminal History Records/FBI Check. These volunteers must submit a "Affidavit Regarding Qualification for Volunteer Service".
When must I have these background checks in place?
Volunteers who work with Minors on our campus must present the three above clearances to the Human Resources Office or the Conference Services Manager, in the case of volunteers for a summer camp or conference, BEFORE they begin serving in their volunteer capacity.
How do I obtain my PA State Criminal Clearance?
- Go to: https://epatch.state.pa.us/Home.jsp
- Click on “New Record Check”
- Complete the required information
- The fee is waived for volunteers
What is the process to obtain my PA Child Abuse Clearance?
- Go to the new Child Welfare Portal: https://www.compass.state.pa.us/cwis/public/home
- Click on “Individual Login”
- Create a Keystone ID by completing all of the required information
- The system will email the candidate an automatic password
- The candidate will go back into the system (https://www.compass.state.pa.us/cwis/public/home) to “LOGIN” using the newly assigned password. The system will then offer the candidate an opportunity to create a new password.
- After a new password is completed, log back into the system, click on “Clearances” and follow the directions to obtain the PA Child Abuse Clearance Check.
- The fee is waived for volunteers
How do I obtain my FBI clearance?
If you have lived in the state of PA continuously for 10 or more years, you do not need to complete the FBI Clearance. Please see below for the “Affidavit Regarding Qualification for Volunteer Service.”
If you have NOT lived in PA continuously for 10 or more years, the instructions are below for obtaining your FBI Clearance.
- The following states have COGENT Sites which are able to assist with the fingerprinting process: Alabama, Arkansas, California, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania. If you live in one of these states, or close by, we recommend taking advantage of their services.
1. The applicant must register prior to going to the fingerprint site. Walk in service without prior registration will not be provided at any fingerprinting location
2. Go to the COGENT Website to Register:
- If you wish to visit a site in Pennsylvania go to: http://www.dhs.pa.gov/citizens/clearancesbackgroundchecks/index.htm
- Click on “Register Online” and follow the instructions. You must register through the Department of Human Services.
- Complete the registration process. You will receive a form that must be taken with you to the fingerprinting site.
3. Visit a COGENT site to have your fingerprints taken. For a listing of IdentoGO sites in PA, please visit: https://www.identogo.com/locations
4. Review a listing of the required documentation to take to the IdentoGO Site.
5. Volunteers may call 844-321-2101 for assistance.
6. The cost of this check is $28.75.
Who is paying for these background checks?
For volunteers, the state of Pennsylvania has waived the cost of the state criminal check as well as the child abuse check. The cost of the FBI clearance is $28.75 and the volunteer is responsible for that expense. As mentioned previously, volunteers who have lived in PA for 10 or more years do not need to complete the FBI clearance. They must sign the "Affidavit Regarding Qualification for Volunteer Service".
What is the Affidavit Regarding Qualification for Volunteer Service?
Volunteers who have lived in PA continuously for 10 or more years do not need to complete the FBI clearance. Instead, they must sign the "Affidavit Regarding Qualification for Volunteer Service" and
present it to Gettysburg College before they begin their volunteer service.
How long are these clearances good for?
New clearances must be obtained every 60 months.
I recently had these same checks completed for other service. Do I need to obtain new checks for Gettysburg College if they were completed within the last 5 years?
No. As long as the clearances were completed within the last 5 years, you do not need to obtain new clearances. Volunteers are required to sign a “Sworn Statement for Portability of Clearances” and present their three checks to the appropriate College Official.