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State Laws on Background Checks - Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania

23 Pa C.S.A.§6344, §6344.2 and §6344.4 (See also 23 Pa. C.S.A. §6303 for definitions).

Section 6344.2 applies to an adult applying for or holding an unpaid position as a volunteer with a “program, activity or service”, as a person responsible for the welfare of a child or having direct volunteer contact with children. “Program, activity or service” is defined in part as a sports or athletic program in which children participate and which is sponsored by a school or a public or private organization.

Employers or other persons responsible for the selection of volunteers shall require an applicant to submit to all requirements set forth in section 6344(b). Employers or other persons that intentionally fail to require the foregoing before approving the applicant commit a misdemeanor of the third degree.

The volunteer must submit:

(1) A report of criminal history record information from the Pennsylvania State Police or a statement from the Pennsylvania State Police that the State Police central repository contains no such information relating to that person; and

(2) A certification from the department as to whether the applicant is named in the Statewide database as the alleged perpetrator in a pending child abuse investigation or as the perpetrator of a founded report or an indicated report; and

(3) A full set of fingerprints to the Pennsylvania State Police for the purpose of a record check, and the Pennsylvania State Police or its authorized agent shall submit the fingerprints to the Federal Bureau of Investigation for the purpose of verifying the identity of the applicant and obtaining a current record of any criminal arrests and convictions.

However, if the volunteer: (A) is unpaid; (B) has been a resident of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania during the entirety of the previous ten-year period or, if not a resident of the Commonwealth during the entirety of the previous ten-year period, has received certification under section 6344(b)(3) at any time since establishing residency in this Commonwealth and provides a copy of the certification to the person responsible for the selection of volunteers; and (C) swears or affirms in writing that they are not disqualified pursuant to section 6344(c) or has not been convicted of an offense similar in nature to those crimes listed in section 6344(c) under the laws or former laws of the United States or one of its territories or possessions, another state, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico or a foreign nation, or under a former law of this Commonwealth then the volunteer must only submit in accordance with (1) and (2) above.

Volunteers are required to obtain the certifications required above every sixty (60) months from the date of the person’s most recent certification or, if the current certification is older than sixty (60) months before July 1, 2016. A person identified under section 6344.2 without a certification or who was previously not required to have a certification shall be required to obtain the certifications required by this chapter by July 1, 2016. For renewals of certification required under this chapter, the date for required renewal shall be from the date of the oldest certification under section 6344(b).

For the purposes of criminal liability under this section, an employer, administrator, supervisor or other persons responsible for the selection of volunteers are presumed to have acted in good faith when identifying individuals required to submit certifications and maintain records as required by this section.

§6344, §6344.2 and §6344.4of the Pennsylvania Statutes can be viewed online at:

http://www.legis.state.pa.us/CFDOCS/LEGIS/LI/consCheck.cfm?txtType=HTM&ttl=23&div=00.&chpt=063.&sctn=044.&subSctn=000.&CFID=215825865&CFTOKEN=37767968

http://www.legis.state.pa.us/CFDOCS/LEGIS/LI/consCheck.cfm?txtType=HTM&ttl=23&div=00.&chpt=063.&sctn=044.&subSctn=002.&CFID=215825865&CFTOKEN=37767968

http://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/legis/LI/consCheck.cfm?txtType=HTM&ttl=23&div=0&chpt=63&sctn=44&subsctn=4