New Pennsylvania state laws now require the following background checks for everyone who works with children and/or youth (including volunteers):
- A Criminal History Record obtained from the PA state police.
- A Child Abuse Clearance obtained through the PA Department of Human Services
- A Federal Criminal History Record obtained by submission to PA state police or the FBI
All background checks must be completed at the time of first hire, and then every 36 months after.
Each of the individual background checks does require a fee, and may be completed through different online sources.
New mandated reporting laws expand the definition of "mandated reporter." Under new laws, all individuals (paid and unpaid) whose involvement with youth and/or children requires them to accept responsibility of a young person are now mandated reporters. This definition now includes clergy, ministers, and spiritual leaders. All mandated reporters are now required to complete a 3-hour Mandated Reporter Training. This training can be done online, or groups can arrange for an in-person training for a fee.
The diocese is in the process of rewriting its Safe Church policies and creating further documents for parishes to use in their ministries. Until these new resources are distributed, you can find more information (including links to additional reading material and websites where you can perform background checks) on the Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania website.
Click on this link to see immediate diocesan resources on Background Checks and Mandated Reporting.
Be on the lookout for more information about these changes in the coming weeks. Until then, contact us directly with any questions you may have.
Thank you for helping us provide safe environments for children, youth, and families in our diocese!