PA Child Protective Services Law (CPSL)

For youth-serving organizations in Pennsylvania, background clearance requirements have been enacted that need to be completed before volunteers work with youth in Pennsylvania.  This is part of the Child Protective Services Law (CPSL). This is different then the background check conducted by the BSA as part of the registration/application process. Please see the information listed below for information about these background clearances and what is required.

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Clearances Are Not Required for the following situations:

  • Venturers or Explorers – Clearances are NOT required for 18-20 year old Venturers or Explorers, as they are not volunteers but program participants.
  • Scouts with Special Needs – Clearances are NOT required for special needs Scouts (age 18+) as they are not volunteers but program participants.
  • Lion Adult Partners– Clearances are NOT required for Lion Adult Partners as they are participating in the BSA program as parents.
  • Tiger Adult Partners – Clearances are NOT required for Tiger Adult Partners as they are participating in the BSA program as parents.
  • Eagle Boards of Review – Clearances are NOT required for members of the community who participate occasionally on a Eagle Board of Review.
  • Drivers to camps or events (Parent to Parent) – If a parent asks another parent (parent to parent) to drive their Scout to an event or camp then clearances are NOT required.
  • At Cub Scout Pack meetings or day events where parents are attending with their Scouts – clearances are NOT required of parents who are attending & participating with their Scout.
  • Guest Speaker/Skills Instructor – Assuming that a cleared and registered adult leader maintains supervisory responsibility throughout the presentation/skills instruction activity and the individual does not have regular, ongoing contact with Scouts as a volunteer, clearances are NOT required.

Which Clearances Are Required?

All volunteers must obtain the following clearances:

    1. Report of criminal history from the Pennsylvania State Police (PSP). Sample PA State Police Background Check
    2. Child Abuse History Clearance from the Department of Human Services (Child Abuse). Sample DHS Background Check
    3. Fingerprint based federal criminal history (FBI) submitted through IDEMIA/Identogo. Sample FBI Fingerprint Check
      • Signed Disclosure Statement for Volunteers can be submitted in place of FBI fingerprinting if you have been a PA resident for the last 10 years.
      • 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 Pennsylvania for the past 10 years must swear or affirm in writing that they are not disqualified from service based upon a conviction of any offense listed on the application. Disclosure Statement Application for Volunteers

Clearances must be renewed every 60 months. The fingerprint based FBI criminal history check must be renewed every 60 months until establishing the 10 year residency requirement.

      • Important Note – With the exception of the FBI Fingerprint Check, volunteer clearances may be applied for, at no cost to the volunteer, every 57 months.

How Do I Get The Needed Clearances?

  • PSP Criminal History Record Check:
    • Click on the NEW VOLUNTEER RECORD CHECK & follow the prompts.
    • Be sure to record the Control #, the date you completed it & how you entered your name. It will give you an option right away to print your certificate. If not, having the information will allow us to find it, or you to go back & find it on your own, for up to 1 yr.
    • There is no charge for this.
  • Child Abuse History Clearance:
      • If you have lived multiple places, with multiple people (it asks you to go back to 1974, or the year of your birth), it may be beneficial for you to make a list of your prior residences before you go to the site to complete it. Do your best to be as accurate and complete as possible.
    • Once you are finished, it will send you an email anywhere from a few days to 2 weeks telling you that it has been completed and you may access your record by logging back in.
    • Be sure to keep your login and password in a safe place. You WILL use it again.
    • There is no charge for this as a volunteer, however, you will need to wait 57 months to complete it again for free.
    • Click on “Digital Fingerprinting,” box.
    • Enter Service Code 1KG6ZJ.
    • Click on Schedule or Manage Appointment
    • Follow the prompts for completing the required information and printing the registration form to take to the fingerprinting location.
      • After registering online, print your registration paperwork and go to your scheduled appointment.
      • At your appointment, you should receive information (an email) that will allow you to access your results right away (this is a one time download), rather than waiting for them to come back in the mail. That email can not be provided to you again. Please ask for information so you are able to do that, especially if there is a time urgency for you to register. Results should arrive via mail in approximately 2 weeks.
    • IF YOU HAVE LIVED IN PA FOR THE LAST 10+ YEARS, you do not need to make the fingerprinting appointment. You are able to complete this Disclosure Statement Application for Volunteers instead. 

Directions for getting the needed clearances can be found at the PA Dept. of Human Services: Keep Kids Safe

What If I Have Already Obtained Clearances For Another Organization?

Volunteers may carry clearances from one organization to another provided that clearances are not older than 60 months. Clearances obtained for employment purposes may be used for volunteering. Copies of these must be provided to the Five Rivers Council

How Do I Submit My Background Clearances? 

For Adults who are not registered, but submitting an application:

Turn all required documents with your BSA Adult application, signed Disclosure Form and Youth Protection Training certificate.

Currently registered adult volunteers 

The Five Rivers Council uses and online database to collect, and manage all the required documents. When you become a registered member of the Five Rivers Council your documents will be entered into the database. 

You will receive an email when you are getting close to expiring on any of the required documents. These emails will come at 90, 60, and 30 days to the email you have in my.scouting or Scoutbook.

Directions for using the online system can be found here: Click to Download