Pennsylvania Required Clearances


Get a Clearance

The Child Protective Services Law (CPSL) requires certain individuals to obtain clearances to be employed, be a resource parent (foster or adoptive), or be a volunteer with children. The purpose of requiring clearances is to provide employers and those selecting volunteers with information to use as a part of a larger decision-making process when determining whether to hire someone as an employee or select them as a volunteer.

Clearances are required for an employee or unpaid volunteer at a minimum of every 60 months from the date of the oldest clearance. Clearances may be required more frequently based on licensure or employer requirements.

Agencies and organizations must ensure that clearances are obtained following the Child Protective Services Law. The required clearances may include:

Volunteer Compliance

Compliance with the requirements of Act #153 is a legal requirement of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. All agencies and institutions that deal with youth in the Commonwealth are required to comply with these requirements.

It is important to recognize the Youth Protection standards of the Boy Scouts of America have not changed in light of this Pennsylvania legislation. The volunteer background checks that are part of the Adult Volunteer Application process, training requirements, policies, and procedures will continue. For Scouting volunteers throughout the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the clearances and requirements of PA Act #153, the mandatory reporting requirements, and changes to the definitions of abuse are in addition to the safeguards that have been in place by the Boy Scouts of America for many years. For more information on this legislation, go to the Keep Kids Safe website (

Volunteer compliance

Who needs clearances? Any adult volunteer (18 years of age or older) applying for an unpaid position as a volunteer responsible for the welfare of a child (acting instead of or on behalf of the parent) or having direct contact (providing care, supervision, guidance, or control of children) or routine interaction (regular, repeated, or on-going contact) with children will need the three required clearances. This does not apply to registered Venturers and Explorers 18 to 20 years of age. Registered unit volunteers are required to get the three clearances. Unregistered volunteers who provide rides and services to youth more than once or twice a month must also get the three clearances. Remember the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania does not differentiate between registered and unregistered volunteers. Volunteer clearances, provided they have not expired, are transferable to other volunteer positions or organizations.

The following are the three required clearances:

  1. Report of criminal history from the Pennsylvania State Police (PSP); 
    Note: Upon completion, to print your certificate, click on your control number, then “certification form,” then print.
  2. Child Abuse History Clearance from the Department of Human Services (Child Abuse) 
  3. a)  For volunteers who have NOT been a Pennsylvania resident continuously for the past ten years, a fingerprint-based federal criminal history submitted through the Pennsylvania State Police or its authorized agent (FBI) is required.


    b)For volunteers who have been Pennsylvania residents continuously for the past ten years, they must swear or affirm in writing that they are not disqualified from service based on a previous conviction or offense. These volunteers must complete a “Disclosure Statement Application for Volunteers”. 

What do you do after clearances have been obtained?

  1. Make two copies of each clearance (there are a total of three).
  2. Submit one copy of each clearance to the Council Service and Training Center.
  3. Submit one copy of each clearance to your unit.
  4. Keep the original clearances for your records.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Stephanie Short at or 540.662.2551.

Pennsylvania Clearance Process

Step 1: Pennsylvania State Police Criminal History Check – No Cost

  1. Go to https://epatch.pgov/home
  2. Click on “New Volunteer Record Check”
  3. Review the "Terms and Conditions for the use of PATCH". Check the box under the Volunteer Acknowledgement Section. Click "Accept".
  4. Fill in all information required.
  5. Once your request has finished processing, do one of the following:
    • If the message received is “NO RECORD FOUND”, print the Record Check Request Results page showing your Control # and “No Record.”
    • If a criminal record IS found, submit the report detailing the criminal record found (which will be mailed to you) to the BSA Scout Executive.
  6. If you have questions, please call: Toll Free at 1-888-783-7972 or 717-783-9973.

Step 2: PA Department of Human Services Child Abuse History Clearance – No Cost

  1. Go to https://www.compass.state.pus/cwis/public/home
  2. Select “Create Individual Account” to begin the process.
  3. Once on the application page, select “Volunteer” as the Application Purpose.
  4. For questions relating to the PA Child Abuse History Clearance, contact the ChildLine Verification Unit at 1-877-343-0494, or (717) 783-6211.

Step 3: Fingerprint-Based FBI Criminal Background Check – Fee Applies

  1. Required for all employees and volunteers who have lived outside PA in the last 10 years.
    • Exception: Volunteers who are not required to obtain the FBI Clearance because they are applying for an unpaid position and have been a continuous resident of PA for the past 10 years must swear or affirm in writing that they are not disqualified from service based on a conviction of an offense under §6344. There is a disclosure form you must sign (see attached).
  2. Applicants who do not qualify to submit just the waiver must complete a multi-step process involving first registering and paying online for an FBI Criminal Background Check, and then going to an authorized location for fingerprinting.
    • i. Go to
    • ii. Enter Service Code 1KG6ZJ [1KG6ZJ - Pennsylvania DHS-Volunteer]
    • iii. “Select the State” = Pennsylvania
    • iv. “Choose your agency” = DHS-OCYF
    • v. “Reason for Fingerprinting” = DHS-Volunteer
    • vi. Follow all instructions necessary to complete the application and fingerprinting process.
  3. Once you receive your clearance, please turn it in to the Shenandoah Area Council registrar.

Once you have completed and received your clearances, you must send all three of the state-required copies to the Shenandoah Area Council registrar.