Child Safety Background Checks

We recommend you read the information below before beginning. Pennsylvania meetings may also want to visit the PA Keep Kids Safe website for information on laws that affect your first-day school and youth program volunteers.

Pennsylvania volunteers/meetings can now get the state criminal and child abuse checks for free. To order background checks directly through the state, free of charge, visit the state website. 

PYM Meetings in New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland, and PA Meetings who have been using the online system through PYM may use this form to order background checks through PYM. 

PYM staff are happy to provide support and consultation, whether or not you are conducting the clearances through PYM. Contact communityengaement@pym.org, 215 241-7238

Some Pennsylvania Meetings have conducted background checks through PYM with staff support using an online system. We will continue serving meetings who already are using this system upon their request, but we no longer recommend it as the best option since the state has begun making the clearances available to volunteers for free, and through a more streamlined process. If your meeting chooses to continue using the online service note that the service charges a fee, which we ask meetings to cover (at cost). PYM staff will facilitate the background checks and keep secure records; meetings are responsible for making sure the steps are completed by volunteers.

Friends who work with children and youth are generally asked to complete references and background checks that are in compliance with state laws.  The Yearly Meeting processes all of these forms for Friends who are working in the Yearly Meeting Youth Programs.  Additionally, PYM will support meetings by providing consultation. For meetings who have conducted background checks using the online system through PYM, we will continue to support this process if you choose and we will continue to maintain all records.  (Meetings are asked to cover the cost of the fee that we pay the background checking service.) Friends may also wish to consult PYM’s Child Abuse Prevention Guidebook to learn about developing policies and procedures that will help support a safe environment in your meeting.

PYM is a resource to monthly and quarterly meetings who need to complete background checks for Friends who are volunteering with the children in the meeting.  Please review the process below.

Process for PA Meetings through State Website

PA law requires that adults applying for or holding an unpaid position as a volunteer with a program, activity or service responsible for the child’s welfare or having direct volunteer contact with children obtain child abuse clearances. For more information about the laws, visit Keep Kids Safe: http://www.keepkidssafe.pa.gov/resources/clearances/index.htm

 Volunteers who have lived in PA for the past ten years consecutively need to complete the PA state required Child Abuse History Clearance which includes the child abuse and Criminal Background checks.

Meetings can set up an organizational account to manage PA Child Abuse History Clearances online for their employees and volunteers.

To set up or log in to an individual or organizational account visit the PA Child Welfare Portal page: https://www.compass.state.pa.us/cwis/public/home (It’s a good idea to record the username and password you set up, because some folks have found it difficult to retrieve when forgotten.)

  • Clearances for volunteers are free and state law requires them every 5 years.
  • Applicants will be notified once their results have been processed, and can view and print their results online.
  • Meetings who create organizational accounts have online access to the clearances.
  • The Meeting is responsible for keeping track of those who require background checks and updates.
  • PYM staff are available for information and consultation.
  • The clearances should kept in secure files in the Meeting office for 20 years

Volunteers from out of state or who have not lived in PA for the past ten years consecutively must also complete a separate process of obtaining an FBI fingerprinting check. There is a fee of about $25. Meeting volunteers should click on “PA Department of Human Services” for the proper clearance. Information and Registration is here: http://www.pa.cogentid.com/index.htm

Friends who have clearances from their place of employment or other volunteer roles may show the original documents to the responsible person in the meeting, and provide copies for records. The clearances will be acceptable only if they comply with law and meeting policy.

For questions contact the Community Engagement Coordinator at 215-241-7238 or volunteers@pym.org

Process for Meetings through PYM

We now recommend that PA Meetings obtain clearances directly through the PA Child Welfare Portal. Meetings who have already been conducting checks through PYM and want to continue, as well as NJ, DE and MD meetings can order and pay for background requests in bulk online. Fill out this form and provide the following basic information:

  • Meeting contact person name and e-mail
  • The name of your meeting
  • Full names, e-mail addresses of those in your meeting who need background checks
  • Payment can be made by e-check or credit card

The Community Engagement Coordinator will e-mail each of your volunteers a link to an online service where they will be asked to fill out a consent form, provide references and some basic information. This allows us to begin to process the clearances.

PYM conducts clearances that at a minimum are in compliance with state law for the various states in which our meetings are located. We also consider best practices in providing a safe environment for the children and youth of our community, so in some cases our background checks go beyond the minimum requirements. Meetings are encouraged to consult with the requirements of their insurance company.

Please note the complete process will involve two to four steps, depending on the individual’s role (volunteer or paid), the state where your meeting is located, and for PA meetings, whether the individual has lived in Pennsylvania 10 or more years. Please ask those requiring background checks to keep an eye on their e-mail during this time (and check spam folders) as there will be instructions and links sent for each part of the process.

The Yearly Meeting will process the clearances and keep records. The Meeting is responsible for keeping track of those who require background checks and updates. PYM staff are available for information and consultation.

  • The meeting contact person should maintain communication to insure background checks are complete.
  • Not all clearances can be sent directly to an organization. Friends being cleared may need to forward their clearances to the Community Engagement Coordinator. This will be indicated in e-mailed instructions.
  • This process needs to be completed every 3 years.
  • The response from the investigation will be kept in secure files in the Yearly Meeting office for 20 years

Friends volunteering with their monthly meeting AND the Yearly Meeting only need to complete this process a single time if the Yearly Meeting processes the clearance.

Friends who have clearances from their place of employment may show the original documents to the person responsible in the meeting, and provide copies for records. The clearances will be acceptable only if they comply with law and PYM policy.

If your meeting cannot pay for the clearances, please contact the Community Engagement Coordinator.

For questions contact the Community Engagement Coordinator at 215-241-7238 or volunteers@pym.org

Contact

If you have questions or need help contact:

Tricia Coscia
Community Engagement Coordinator
volunteers@pym.org
215 241-7238

Cost

PYM uses approved services to conduct the recommended national and required state background checks. We will provide the coordination, communication and record keeping and ask that meetings pay the fees associated with the clearances. The cost (paid to our service) is $12 per person for PA and $14.95 for Delaware, NJ and Maryland Meetings, to process the checks and for ongoing record keeping. We ask meetings to cover that fee.

PA meetings can also obtain the required state backgound checks for volunteers directly through the state for free and maintain your own records.  PA volunteers who have not lived in PA for 10 years, and paid staff in PA, will have an additional cost of about $27 for an FBI fingerprinting clearance.The cost for New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland volunteers is $14.95/person.

Please contact the Community Engagement coordinator if your meeting cannot pay.

This process applies to Friends serving with PYM Programs such as Young Friends, Junior Interim Meeting, Middle School Friends or other yearly meeting wide programs. Please see the process for Monthly and Quarterly Meeting Volunteers if you are clearing volunteers for your meeting.

Process

  • Contact the Community Engagement Coordinator volunteers@pym.org and provide the following basic information:Your full name, e-mail address and the name of the PYM program where you plan to volunteer or work.
  • The Community Engagement Coordinator will e-mail you a link to an online service where you will be asked to fill out a consent form, provide references and some basic information. This allows us to begin to process your clearances.  Please note the complete process will involve two to four steps, depending on your role (volunteer or paid), and whether you have lived in Pennsylvania 10 or more years. Please keep an eye on your e-mail during this time (and check your spam folder) as there will be instructions and links sent for each part of the process.
  • The Yearly Meeting will process the clearances, pay the processing fees and contact references for those working with children and youth in PYM Programs.
  • The records will be kept in secure files in the Yearly Meeting office for 20 years
  • This process needs to be completed every 3 years.

For questions contact the Community Engagement Coordinator at 215-241-7238 or volunteers@pym.org

Contact

If you have questions or need help contact:

Tricia Coscia
Community Engagement Coordinator
volunteers@pym.org
215 241-7238