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 religious education program and youth program volunteers.
Pennsylvania volunteers 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. We have learned that since the state has begun making the clearances available to volunteers for free, and through a more streamlined process, it can be more efficient for meeting volunteers to use that process directly and provide results to the meeting.
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 can provide support and consultation, whether or not you are conducting the clearances through PYM.
The online service (Protect My Ministry) charges a fee, which we ask meetings to cover (at cost). PYM staff will help facilitate the background checks through the online service 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. 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.
Process for Monthly & Quarterly Meeting Volunteers
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.
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.
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. Meeting volunteers should click on “PA Department of Human Services” for the proper clearance. Information and Registration is here: https://www.identogo.com/
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.
- The clearances should kept in secure files in the Meeting office for 20 years
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. Meetings are encouraged to consult with the requirements of their insurance company.
We now recommend that PA Meetings obtain clearances directly through the PA Child Welfare Portal. However, 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 to 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
Each of your listed volunteers will receive an email with a link to an online service (Protect My Ministry) where they will be asked to fill out a consent form, provide references and some basic information. 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.
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 online records. The local Meeting is responsible for keeping track of those who require background checks and updates.
- The meeting contact person should maintain communication with PYM to insure background checks are complete.
- Not all clearances can be sent directly to an organization. Friends may need to forward their clearances to the Youth Religious Life Coordinator.
- This process needs to be completed every 5 years.
- The response from the investigation will be kept in secure files in the Yearly Meeting office for 20 years
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. If your meeting cannot pay for the clearances, please contact the Youth Religious Life Coordinator at 215-241-7171 or firstname.lastname@example.org
PYM Youth Programs Volunteers
This process applies to Friends serving with PYM Programs such as Young Friends, Middle School Friends, Children’s Sessions, or other yearly meeting wide programs. 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.
- Contact the Youth Religious Life Coordinator 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.
- PYM staff 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 5 years.
If you have questions or need help contact:
Melinda Wenner Bradley
Youth Religious Life Coordinator
email@example.com or 215-241-7171