Volunteer Clearances

  • The HeartPrints Center for Early Education, in compliance with state Act 153, now requires volunteers to submit background check clearances to the School prior to volunteering in the School.

    The Pennsylvania House passed Act 153 of 2014 into law on Oct. 22, 2014 and Act 15 of 2015 on July 1, 2015. The new laws are effective for the 2017-2018 School Year and apply to both employees and volunteers who are either responsible for the welfare of a child or who have direct, unsupervised contact with children in the District. Under the new requirements, volunteers must obtain criminal background check clearances and child abuse clearances from the state and federal government.

    Policy No. 916 outlines the requirements for obtaining clearances, which includes a definition of the difference between incidental visitors who may occasionally assist in the classroom under the direct supervision of school faculty, and volunteers in various ongoing activities who may have occasion to have legally-defined direct contact with children, or whose role might make them responsible for the welfare of a child. Volunteers who fit the latter description will be required to obtain clearances under the new state law. Policy No. 916 in its entirety is available here.

    In recognition of the hardship that the new requirements may impose on volunteers – especially those working with schools and other non-profit entities – Gov. Tom Wolf announced that the $20 in fees for a child abuse clearance and state police clearance criminal background check would be waived for volunteers. Additionally, the state Department of Human Services and the Pennsylvania State Police will reduce the cost of both the child abuse and criminal history record checks from $10 to $8 for all other applicants.

    How to Apply for Clearances

    Volunteers who have been a resident of Pennsylvania for 10 consecutive years are not required to obtain a Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) report. Clearances required include:

    • Pennsylvania State Police Clearance – use this link to apply online or this linkto download the free form for printing and mailing.
    • Pennsylvania Child Abuse History Clearance – use this link to apply online or this link to download the form for printing and mailing.
    • FBI Background Check Waiver – this waiver must be signed and provided to the School in lieu of the FBI Background Check.  

    *Applicants who opt to apply for these clearances online must choose the option labeled “Certification Form” that appears in the middle of the screen in order to view and print their clearance certificate. Failure to do so will result in the applicant not obtaining the correct documentation to present to the District.

    Volunteers who have NOT been a resident of Pennsylvania for 10 consecutive yearsmust apply for the following clearances:

    • Pennsylvania State Police Clearance – use this link to apply online or this link to download the free form for printing and mailing.
    • Pennsylvania Child Abuse History Clearance – use this link to apply online or this link to download the form for printing and mailing.
    • FBI Background Check – use this link to begin the application process. Applicants will be required to complete the process by visiting a Cogent fingerprinting facility. Local fingerprint facilities can be found online.

    Providing Clearances to the School

    Volunteers who have obtained their clearances should drop their  original clearance documents in the bin outside of the Heart Prints office. School officials will make copies of the original clearances and then return the original copies to the volunteer.

    Questions about the new policy or about how to obtain clearances may be directed to  the Heart Prints Office: Email: heartprintsed@gmail.com

    Phone: (724) 741-1008