Over the past couple of years, Pennsylvania has been leading the charge to protect children. It started in 2014 when state legislators passed a comprehensive package of proposals to overhaul its child protection policies. The new law set out a bunch of new parameters surrounding the requirements for, and use and scope of background checks for people who work with one of the most vulnerable populations – our children. The law was directly related to the horrific case of Jerry Sandusky and it dragged Pennsylvania’s lack of oversight for people who work with or near children into the spotlight.
Some of the key components to the new law include:
- Volunteers who work with children are now ‘mandated reporters’ and they are required to report suspected child abuse to a state hotline. Professionals like teachers and counselors have long been considered ‘mandated reporters.’
- Every paid employee who interacts with children must have three background checks – a Pennsylvania child-abuse history report, a state criminal records check, and an FBI fingerprint record check – and update them every three years.
- Volunteers must pass the same two state clearances. If they haven’t lived in Pennsylvania for the past 10 years, they will also need to pass the FBI fingerprint check and renew them every three years.
One of the major complications of the new law, however, is that as of July 1, volunteers will have to pay for two clearances associated with their background checks. Although the fees are estimated to be about $20, lots of organizations and volunteers are voicing concerns that the fees are burdensome and will deter volunteerism.
Well, not anymore. The governor of Pennsylvania has announced that all fees for volunteers will be waived beginning July 25. Employees will stay have to pay a nominal, reduced fee for the clearances but will be required to pay the full amount for an FBI fingerprint check.
Non-profit organizations like youth sports groups who rely heavily on volunteers to provide services are obviously pleased with the governor’s decision. There is no doubt that the cost of background checks is one the major factors employers and civic groups like youth sports organizations must consider in implementing a screening policy. When their choices are dictated or limited by law, that can definitely feel aggravating.
Protect Youth Sports understands your frustrations and the limits of youth sports budgets. That’s why we’ve developed bundle options to fit your needs with our VERITY solution. Click here to learn more about our bundle pricing. Protect Youth Sports is one of the only coach background check companies that will do a free “re-verification” of records from the National Criminal Database for a volunteer as well as a “true” 50 state search on sexual offenders. We also offer a variety of outstanding perks that come with our nationally-accredited services:
? Free Instructional Video Series– background checks and streamlining the screening process
? No Signup Fees – when you are a qualified youth sports organization
? Package Discounts – up to 20% off on already discounted services
? Paperless Solution– volunteers complete their background check forms online
? Accurate Records – re-verified FCRA compliant national criminal database records
? Automatic coach scoring – pass/fail scoring of background reports based on industry guidelines
We hope that more states follow Pennsylvania’s lead in doing more to protect our children from predators. Protect Youth Sports will be there to help youth sports organizations take the much-needed step in administering background checks of its staff and volunteers. Contact us today or leave us a comment below with any questions!