Pennsylvania laws requiring mandatory background checks require many Scouting volunteers to get two (possibly three) background checks. These clearances must be renewed every five years.
What Clearances Are Needed and What Do They Cost?
- Pennsylvania State Police Response for Criminal Background Check – Free
- Pennsylvania Child Abuse History Clearance – Free
- FBI Fingerprint-Based Record Check – $22.60
Volunteers who have lived in PA for at least the past 10 consecutive years may complete the New Birth of Freedom Council Disclosure Statement Application for Volunteers in lieu of the FBI Fingerprint-Based Record Check. Volunteers who have not lived in PA for at least the past 10 consecutive years are only required to get the FBI Fingerprint-Based Record Check once upon establishing residency in PA.
How Long Does It Take to Obtain Clearances?
Some of the clearances come back within a few minutes but it could take up to four weeks. The online application process depends on several factors but could take an hour or more in total.
How Does a Person Apply for the Clearances?
The Department of Human Services clearances page has all of the state information and links needed.
PA State Police Criminal Background Check (PSP)
The fastest (and easiest) way to obtain your PSP clearance is to go to the Pennsylvania Access To Criminal History (PATCH) website and apply for the criminal record check online with the Pennsylvania State Police. You will need your social security number.
If you prefer not to submit your request online, please print out this form (SP4 164A) and mail it to the address indicated. If you have questions about the Pennsylvania State Police Request for Criminal Record Check form for volunteers, please call: (717) 783-9973 or toll-free at (1-888) 783-7972.
PA Child Abuse History Clearance
The Pennsylvania Child Abuse History Clearance can be submitted and paid for online through the Child Welfare Information Solution (CWIS) self-service portal. Submitting an application online allows individual applicants to receive their results through an automated system that will notify them once their results have been processed. Applicants will be able to view and print their results online. You will need to create an account and then fill out the application. You will also need a list of everywhere you have lived since 1975 and everyone you’ve lived with. Results will be received more quickly if applied for electronically through the self-service portal.
If you prefer not to submit your request online, please print out this form (CY113) and mail it to the address indicated.
For questions related to the Pennsylvania Child Abuse History Clearance, please contact the ChildLine Verification Unit at (717) 783-6211 or toll-free at (1-877) 371-5422.
Fingerprint-Based FBI Criminal History Clearance
Estimated cost – $22.60
The commonwealth contracts with IDEMIA (also referred to as IdentoGo or MorphoTrust) for digital fingerprinting. You can register with IDEMIA and be fingerprinted at an IdentoGo site. The fingerprint-based background check is a multi-step process.
For questions about FBI clearances, contact the ChildLine Verification Unit at (717) 783-6211 or (1-877) 371-5422. For IDEMIA registration, processing, or billing questions, please contact IDEMIA/IdentoGo at (1-844) 321-2101.
For more information and to begin the registration process, go to www.identogo.com and use the code 1KG6ZJ.
This clearance requires you to visit one of the authorized fingerprinting locations. The link above gives a list of locations and the identification a person must bring with them to the fingerprinting site.
If I Already Have Current Clearances, Can I Use Those for Scouting?
Clearances are transferable for volunteers. Clearances are good for five years from the date they were obtained so if you recently completed the background checks for another organization, you can use them for your Scouting position as well.