PA House Bill 435 Background Checks for Employees and Volunteers - October 22nd, 2014

On October 22, 2014, Governor Tom Corbett signed House Bill No. 435 which strengthens the background checks for those volunteering and working with children. The new requirements include a state criminal history search, a child abuse history search and in some cases an FBI criminal history search.

The required background checks for employees, which includes include employees of child-care services, foster parents, prospective adoptive parents, self-employed family day care provider, any individual who is 14 years or older who is responsible for the welfare of a child or who has direct contact with children, any individual seeking to provide child-care services under contract with a child-care facility or program, any individual 18 years of age or older who resides in the home of a foster parent and certain school employees will be effective December 31, 2014. The new requirement for volunteers who are responsible for the welfare of children or having direct contact with children are effective July 1, 2015.

Volunteers do not have to submit the FBI criminal background check if they comply with all of the following

  1. The position is unpaid
  2. The prospective volunteer has been a resident of PA for the past 10 years
  3. The prospective volunteer swears or affirms in writing that they are not disqualified based on certain condition or has not been convicted of any similar offense in this or any other jurisdiction.

The law also requires that if an employee or volunteer is arrested or convicted of an offense that would constitute grounds for denying employment or participation in a program the individual must provide notice to the administrator of the program within 72 hours.

The law requires that applicants for employment or volunteer be denied for the following:

  1. If the employee has been listed in the statewide database, as the perpetrator of a founded report committed within the five-year period immediately preceding verification pursuant to this section.
  2. If the employee has been convicted of the following crimes or equivalent at any time: criminal homicide, aggravated assault, stalking, kidnapping, unlawful restraint, rape, statutory sexual assault, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, sexual assault, aggravated indecent assault, indecent assault, indecent exposure, incest, concealing the death of a child, endangering the welfare of children, dealing in infant children, felony offenses related to prostitution, corruption of minors or sexual abuse of children or attempt, solicitation or conspiracy of any of these offenses
  3. If the employee has a drug related felony within the past 5 years

The full test of the bill can be found here http://www.legis.state.pa.us/CFDOCS/Legis/PN/Public/btCheck.cfm?txtType=PDF&sessYr=2013&sessInd=0&billBody=H&billTyp=B&billNbr=0435&pn=4225