Child Abuse Definition: "The physical or mental injury, sexual abuse or exploitation, negligent treatment, or maltreatment of a child under the age of 18 by a person who is responsible for the child's welfare under circumstances which indicate that the child's health or welfare is harmed or threatened."

Volunteers’ fees for child protective clearances to be waived beginning July 25, 2015

JUNE 18, 2015–Beginning July 1 all prospective volunteers in Pennsylvania who will have direct contact with minors in churches and other venues must provide, in advance, child abuse clearances from the PA Department of Human Services and criminal background checks from the PA State Police, as required by the Child Protective Services Law. These state checks and clearances, which must be renewed every three years, cost a fee of $10 each, for a total of $20.

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf announced last week that those fees will be waived for volunteers beginning July 25. In addition, both $10 fees will be reduced to $8 for prospective employees who will have direct contact with children.

Volunteers who are or will begin working with children prior to July 1 have until July 1, 2016, to obtain the required state clearances and must have those clearances renewed every three years (or 36 months). Also, volunteers who have not lived in PA continuously for the past 10 years are required to obtain an FBI background check for a fee of $27.50. That fee has not been waived or reduced. The Eastern PA Conference Safe Sanctuaries Committee is researching changes in the new laws and will report to the conference as more information and clarification become available. Learn more