Carolyn’s Online Magazine
PA CHILD ABUSE & POLICE CLEARANCES
FEES FOR VOLUNTEERS TO BE WAIVED
STARTING JULY 25, 2015
During April, National Child Abuse Prevention month, I posted an article discussing the issue of persons assuming organizations are safe if those involved in the care of the children pass child and police abuse clearances. The article warned parents that an individual who is a child molester can pass their clearances if they have not been caught, tried, and convicted. (Do Child Abuse Clearances Mean Children Are Safe?)
The second article responded to a letter to the editor published in the Tribune-Review newspaper, which made the same point: the only persons who fail to pass the clearances are those who are convicted of the crime. (Why Are Child Abuse Clearances Misleading?)
Although I have yet to write about the financial hardship volunteers experience when required to fill in child abuse and police clearances, it’s been on my mind. One church in Ligonier stated clearances were on file for 188 persons. I assume many of these are volunteers. The financial hardship might burdon the volunteer, or the organization.
While I procrastinated on writing on this issue Senator Michele Brooks was doing something. On June 10th Gov. Wolf announced the waiver of the $10.00 fee for each of the two mandated background checks—child abuse and police—for volunteers, and a $2.00 fee reduction for all other mandated clearances. The waiver will begin on July 25.
- Senator Brooks, in her role as Chair of the Senate Aging & Youth Committee, was part of a bicameral, bipartisan group of legislators that worked with the Administration to address concerns about the $10 fees charged for the Department of Human Services child abuse clearance and the Pennsylvania State Police background checks required for volunteers.
- “The fees were placing a serious financial burden on the volunteer organizations that provide special services and programs for many segments of our communities. The implementation of these background checks went far beyond what was intended. We are continuing to work on this issue to address other concerns to overly board interpretations,” Senator Brooks said. “This was an issue that brought members of all four caucuses together to work cooperatively to find a way to ease that burden on volunteers. I am extremely pleased that Governor Wolf has taken the proper steps to help our organizations.”
I want to express my appreciation to Sen. Brooks for her efforts in dealing with this issue.