As you may be aware, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania recently enacted the Child Protective Services Law. This law increases requirements for background checks on all adults who interact with children during their job and volunteer work in the community.
The Cradle of Liberty Council released a memo, which details the impacts of the new law on the scouting program. The safety and well-being of our scouts is of utmost importance to us, and we will fully comply with all requirements by December 31, 2015.
The obvious impacts are that all registered leaders must complete the background checks and receive clearances. In order to register with BSA for 2016, all clearances must already be in place.
The less obvious impacts are that the law is also applicable to all people over the age of 18 who have contact with the scouts on camping trips, during service projects, and at weekly meetings. This includes non-registered parents as well as venture scouts who are over 18.
The links to the websites where clearances are obtained and to upload to Council are available here. They include:
1. Report of Criminal History from the Pennsylvania State Police (PSP) – No cost and takes just a few minutes to complete.
2. Child Abuse History Clearance from the Department of Human Services – also no cost. This one take a little longer to complete. It requires information on all addresses your have lived at and people that you have lived with since 1975.
3. Fingerprint based FBI criminal history clearance submitted through the Department of Human Services – Cost is $27.50. It takes 5-10 minutes online and 10-15 minutes at the fingerprinting location.
4. Volunteers who have been a resident of Pennsylvania for 10+ years can submit a Disclosure Statement for Volunteers in lieu of the Fingerprint based FBI Clearance, at no cost.
Make .pdfs of the certificates obtained from the sites above. Documents from #1, #2, and #3 or #4 are then uploaded and submitted to Council.
Clearances are valid for 3 yrs. The costs will not be reimbursed by the troop, but may be tax deductible. If you have already obtained clearances for your job, or for other volunteer work (like Sunday School, Little League, etc), those clearances can be used, but they must still be submitted to Council.
Our troop is blessed with an abundance of leaders and involved parents, but this also means that there is a lot of work to do to reach compliance with the new law by the end of the year. Keith Grimes is in charge of coordinating this effort. Please contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 215-441-9231 with any questions.
Bob Waeltz, Scoutmaster
Keith Grimes, Lead Asst Scoutmaster