INFORMATION TO HELP YOU NAVIGATE
New PA State Law, House Bill No. 435 - Prevention of Child Abuse
Child Abuse is a very real threat. One in four girls and one in six boys will be sexually abused by someone during their lives; 85-90% of abuse is committed by someone known to the child. In 2014, legislation was signed into law in Pennsylvania to further protect children and youth from
abuse. The new laws expand the categories of people considered “mandated reporters” of child abuse and provide for direct reporting to PA Childline. Other changes involve the requirements for background checks for both paid employees and volunteers working with children.
Background Check Requirements Under the New Law
All paid employees who have contact with children must have all three clearances listed below.
All volunteers who have contact with children and youth and who have lived in Pennsylvania for at
least 10 years need only the first two clearances listed below.
All volunteers who have lived in Pennsylvania for less than 10 years, will need all three clearances
Clergy background checks - fall under the category of “all paid employees”. Please see the “Clergy
background checks” section below. Effective dates for the first three clearances below:
These clearances are now required to be completed every 36 months.
Employees or volunteers whose clearances are more than three years old must obtain new ones by
December 31, 2015.
Volunteers who do not have clearances must obtain them by July 1, 2015. Helpful information regarding processing clearances
The Child-abuse clearances and the Criminal history record check can be processed electronically (typically the fastest method) or by mail. The FBI fingerprinting requires in-person appearance.
1. Pennsylvania Child Abuse History Clearances (CY113) - ($10.00)
(from the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services) Electronically:
Log on to the Child Welfare Information Solution (CWIS) self-service portal
In the “Welcome to the Child Welfare Portal” click on “Create A New Account” and follow the prompts to set up an account which will allow you to
Request the child-abuse clearances. You will need an email address to create an account. A credit card is required for payment. Applicants will receive their results through an automated system and will be able to view and print their results online. The self-service portal also provides the ability for
organizations to create business accounts to prepay for child abuse clearances and have online access to the results.
Mail : Download and print a form by logging on to the PA Department of Human Services website. You can also stop by any County Intermediate Unit or call them for a copy of this form. Payment by mail is by money order only, made out to the Department of Public Welfare.
2.Pennsylvania Criminal Record Checks (SP4-164) - ($10.00)
(from the Pennsylvania State Police (PATCH). Electronically:
Log on to https://epatch.state.pa.us/
Click on “Submit a New Record Check” (mid-page). You will then need to “accept terms” and then complete the on-line form. A credit card is required to
cover the $10 fee. In most instances, you should receive an immediate result if no criminal record exists.
Complete and mail the Pennsylvania State Police Request for Criminal Record Check to the Pennsylvania State Police at the address listed on the right side of the form and include a $10 money order.
3. Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) (approximately $26.50 - $28.50)
(Criminal Background Checks which includes submission of fingerprints)
1.Register with COGENT SYSTEMS at https://www.pa.cogentid.com/index
(print out the registration number) or over the phone by calling 888-439-2486 (write down registration number) Monday
through Friday from 8 to 6 pm.
Bring that registration number to the fingerprint site.
NOTE: Once on the homepage, you will need to choose one of the seven category “boxes” to begin your registration.
Choose the “Department of Public Welfare” for all church volunteer positions.
Churches with educational programs on site (i.e. nursery school, daycare), choose the “Department of Public Welfare
for teacher checks UNLESS the school is regulated by the Department of Education, then choose the Department of Education for checks on teachers.
If you are unsure of which department to choose, you should refer to the “Contact Information” box to make a phone call to find the correct department.
Payment can be made by credit or debit card. You will need to bring confirmation of payment to the fingerprint session. OR you may pay with a money order payable to Cogent Systems at the site.
2.Fingerprint location hours, address, and appointment information is listed on the above website (some locations require an appointment, some do not)
3.You will need to bring one of the following forms of identification with you for your fingerprint session:
-state issued driver’s license
-US active duty retiree or reservist military ID card
-college issued student ID
-resident alien card issued since 1997
-temporary resident identification card
-employment authorization card
4. Provide your employer/volunteer organization with your registration number
More information about the electronic submission of child abuse clearances or Federal Bureau of Investigation Criminal Background Check, can be found at:
(Mandated Reporting, continued) 1. On line training can be obtained from
This two to three hour course, offered through the University of Pittsburgh, can be taken on line (at different sittings) and when
completed, a certificate can be printed. This free program is approved by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Department of Human Services. There are other programs available; however, there is a cost for those programs.
The PA Department of Human Services’
website has complete details, including a Q&A about mandated reporting of suspected child abuse. To report suspected child abuse go to or call 1-800-932-0313.