Changes for Volunteers and Background Checks


The state of Pennsylvania says background checks will be required for volunteers who work with young people.

The state’s new law means coaches, Sunday school teachers, tutors and other people who work with youths will need to undergo background checks. The law brings substantial changes to the state’s existing protective service law. The changes include expanding the list of “mandated reporters” required to report child abuse. It also requires volunteers, not just school personnel, to undergo background checks.

Under Pennsylvania law, the “mandated reporters” are currently people with direct or regular contact with youths through a service, program or activity. They are part of regularly scheduled events and accept responsibility for a child during the time of that activity.

The law requires a “mandated reporter” to make a report if necessary, rather than relying on a supervisor or organization to make the report.

Pennsylvania child-abuse clearance checks are required, as are Pennsylvania State Police criminal record checks. FBI criminal background checks may also be required, depending on the situation.

The changes in Pennsylvania simply reflect the importance for thorough background checks. They are certainly important in the employee screening process and we are seeing how important they are outside of that process as well.