To report suspected child abuse go to www.compass.state.pa.us/cwis
or call 1-800-932-0313.
In 2014 Pennsylvania enacted legislation to strengthen the protection of the Commonwealth’s children with more stringent criminal background check requirements for those who work with children and youth.
Under Pennsylvania law all church employees and volunteers who work with children and youth (age 18 and younger) must have current background checks. Checks must be updated every 60 months.
Congregations must ensure that staff and volunteers have the proper clearances and keep the background checks on file at the church.
Required Background Checks
Information on the required checks can be found on the Department of Human Services website at http://www.dhs.pa.gov/publications/findaform/childabusehistoryclearanceforms/index.htm. Please check here for up-to-date links and forms.
- Report of criminal history from the Pennsylvania State Police: Online application. Cost $8.00 for employees, free for volunteers.
- Child Abuse History Clearance from Department of Human Services: Online application. Cost $8.00 for employees, free for volunteers.
- FBI Fingerprint clearance for employees, and volunteers who have resided in Pennsylvania less than 10 years. Cost $27.50. For more information and to begin the registration process, go to www.pa.cogentid.com//index_dpw.htm.
It is recommended that all congregations should update their Safe Church Policies to reflect the changes in the law.
For Further Information
For further information, check out the following resources:
- Pennsylvania Frequently Asked Questions – Volunteers
- Lutheran Advocacy Ministry in Pennsylvania has more information on their website.
- A summary of the law and presentation put together by the Pennsylvania Council of Churches.
- ELCA Sexual Misconduct Policies and Resources
For more guidance on requirements for volunteers please read this DHS FAQ.
Please visit the Synod webpage at http://ministrylink.org/resources/child-safety/ for up-to-date information about obtaining background checks.