Tags Posts tagged with "cpsl"


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The Office of Children, Youth and Families (OCYF) has released Policy Clarification #3490-21-05 that includes a “Quick Reference Guide.” This Policy Clarification addresses questions surrounding the completion of Child Protective Services investigations when law enforcement officials request a delay of notification pursuant to §§ 6368 (l) (relating to notice of investigation) and (m) (relating to delay of notification) of the Child Protective Services Law.

Questions regarding this Policy Clarification may be directed to your applicable OCYF Regional Office or to Erik Walters, Human Services Analyst in OCYF’s Bureau of Policy, Programs. and Operations. You can also contact RCPA Children’s Policy Director Jim Sharp.

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On May 1, the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (DHS) released the 2018 Child Protective Services Annual Report. While the report indicated a decrease in the number of report investigations, the slight increase in statewide substantiated reports of child abuse underscores the impact of changes to Pennsylvania’s Child Protective Services Law as outlined in the executive summary below.


  • Statewide substantiated reports of child abuse increased from 1.8 per thousand children in 2017 to 1.9 per thousand children in 2018.
  • Sexual abuse remains the leading category of abuse, followed by physical abuse.
  • Parents continue to be the persons most responsible for abuse of their children.
  • Amendments to the Child Protective Services Law, effective in December 2014, continue to drive increases in substantiated reports of child abuse. These amendments increased the number of mandated reporters of child abuse and added additional persons who could be identified as perpetrators of child abuse.

RCPA and its members continue our active partnership in statewide initiatives in keeping Pennsylvania’s children safe. Contact Jim Sharp, RCPA Children’s Division Director, with questions.

The Department of Human Services (DHS) has announced that effective July 1, 2018, the cost of child abuse clearances will increase from $8 to $13. Child abuse clearance fees for volunteers will continue to be waived one time within a five-year period.

The legislative passage of Act 40 of 2017 included the increase to assist in covering actual costs for processing child abuse clearances, after the previously amended Child Protective Services Law (CPSL) expanded who is required to receive clearances, and instituted a five-year renewal cycle. Beginning in December 2014, individuals who required clearances expanded to include: volunteers, youth camp employees, coaches, youth mentors, Boy Scout and Girl Scout leaders, work study programs, internships, family-living home employees, and community-home employees for individuals with disabilities.

In 2014 and 2015, legislation was passed amending the CPSL. These amendments expanded clearance and background check requirements for individuals working or volunteering with children. In 2016, DHS received 951,414 child abuse clearance applications and identified 2,272 substantiated or alleged perpetrators of child abuse.

For more information on clearance and background check requirements as required by the CPSL, please visit this website.

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On July 1 Governor Wolf signed Act 15 (HB 1276) into law. The bill was drafted to “clarify and make more explicit provisions” about which employees and adult volunteers, who work or volunteer with children, must obtain criminal background check clearances and child abuse clearances. It was intended to clarify the new Child Protective Services Law (CPSL) and to address concerns expressed by numerous volunteer-based organizations. Some of the key changes to the CPSL made by HB 1276 include:

  • Adds definitions of adult family member, direct volunteer contact, education enterprise, family child-care home, immediate vicinity, and matriculated student.
  • Reworks the definition of program, activity, or service to further flesh out definition.
  • Limits the employees, at institutions of higher learning, required to undergo background checks, while retaining required checks for adults who have direct contact with youth who remain enrolled in high school.
  • Clarifies which adults will require background checks and need to be in the “vicinity” of the child during an internship, externship, work-study, co-op, or similar program.
  • Extends to 60 months (vs. 36 months) the time frame by which employees and volunteers must have their background checks updated.
  • Expands the portability of the checks.
  • Exempts volunteers, who are also students, from the background checks under specific conditions (e.g., the student is enrolled in school, the student is volunteering for an event on school grounds, or the event is not for children who are part of a child-care service).
  • Permanently waives the fees associated with volunteers completing state background checks.
  • Includes a presumption of “good faith” for agencies screening employees and volunteers.

A very comprehensive analysis of HB 1276 with an analysis table has been produced by The Center for Children’s Justice and is available on their website.

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Governor Tom Wolf has announced that fees for child abuse clearances and criminal background checks required by the Child Protective Services Law (CPSL) will be waived for volunteers working with children. Beginning July 1, volunteers are required to obtain background checks, including the Child Abuse History Clearance, issued by the Department of Human Services (DHS); and the Criminal History Record Check, issued by the Pennsylvania State Police (PSP).

Additionally, DHS and the PSP will be reducing the cost of both the child abuse and criminal history record checks from $10 to $8 for all other applicants. Individuals seeking employment for work with children, and others required under the law, will still be assessed fees for the clearances, but at a reduced cost of $8 each. FBI clearances are also required for all employees and volunteers who have not been continuous residents of the commonwealth for the last ten years, but because these are administered by the federal government, current costs will continue to apply. These changes will take effect July 25.

More information about clearances required under the CPSL can be found here. Individuals seeking clearances can create an individual account and apply online.