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Child Welfare

Last week, the Office of Long-Term Living (OLTL) issued the following message to clarify criminal history background checks and child abuse history requirements:

In accordance with 55 Pa. Code § 52.19(d), hiring policies shall be in accordance with the PA Department of Aging’s (PDA) Older Adults Protective Services Act policy as posted on the PDA website. The Criminal History Background Checks page of the PDA website contains an OAPSA and Act 28 Summary, which summarizes criminal history background checks. The process is as follows:

All applicants must submit to a PA State Police (PSP) criminal history background check. Applicants can use the online process at Pennsylvania Access to Criminal History (PATCH) or mail the request with a money order or cashier’s check made payable to “Commonwealth of PA” to the State Police for processing. If there is no criminal record, the PSP will forward a letter stating the same. If there is a criminal record, the PSP will forward a copy of the rap sheet to the requester.

If the applicant has not been a PA resident for the two consecutive years before application, they will need to have a PSP criminal history background check completed and an FBI Background Check. All requests for FBI background checks must be made directly through 3MCogent Systems, a 3rd party electronic background check processor contracted by the Department of Aging. The fingerprinting registration process is conducted through Cogent online. The fee for the FBI background check is $23.00. The fingerprints will be forwarded to the FBI for processing by PDA. When the application has been processed by the FBI, the results will be returned to PDA. PDA will send letters to both the facility & applicant. The applicant will receive a copy of the FBI criminal history record information if applicable.
Note: It’s possible that the fee for FBI background checks cited above could change over time.

In addition, agency employees who will be providing services in a home where children reside must also obtain a Child Abuse History Certification from the PA Department of Human Services (DHS). Child Abuse History Certifications are obtained online at the Child Welfare Portal, or through the PA DHS ChildLine and Abuse Registry, P.O. Box 8170, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania 17105-8170, (717) 783-6211 or toll free at (877) 371-5422. More information is available at the PA DHS Child Abuse History Certification website. Prior to provisionally hiring a person for employment as described in 55 Pa. Code Ch. 52.20, the clearances required prior to providing services in homes where children reside must be completed.

Any questions about the information in this listserv message should be sent electronically. You can also contact Fady Sahhar, Director of PD&A Division.

In partnership with the Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (OMHSAS), the Office of Children, Youth and Families (OCYF) is funding trauma training opportunities for all child welfare professionals in PA via Lakeside Global. During the time period of September 30, 2022, through September 30, 2023, PA child welfare professionals serving children in PA are able to take advantage of FREE trainings facilitated by the team at Lakeside Global to become trauma-aware, trauma-sensitive, trauma-informed or healing-centered. This also includes Train the Trainer sessions to support trauma-informed sustainability within a child welfare organization.

Please view the flyer to learn more about how you can take advantage of this professional development. If you have questions relating to any of these trainings, please contact PA Care Partnership electronically. If you have any additional questions, please contact RCPA Policy Director Jim Sharp.