House Makes Revisions to Background Check Law

To further clarify the types of volunteers and employees who are required to obtain background checks to work with children, the House passed House Bill 1276 last week. The legislation is designed to more clearly define who is and who is not subject to the background check requirements and, where possible, make the requirements less onerous for volunteers, nonprofit organizations, employees and employers.

Under the bill, only those volunteers and employees with direct and routine interaction with a child as part of a child care service, a school, or a program, activity or service would need to obtain the clearances. For example, a Sunday school teacher and Scout leader would need the clearances, while a cook at a youth camp, a parent dropping off baked goods at a school or a guest reader/performer would not. The legislation would also permit employers or organizations to accept non-original copies of the required documents on file, rather than the original copies to be maintained by the employer or organization.

The House had previously amended the bill to waive the two $10 fees that volunteers must pay for background checks associated with the child protection laws. The legislation now heads to the state Senate for consideration. More information is available at www.KeepKidsSafe.pa.gov.