ACT 4 - REQUIRED CLEARANCES REVISION
On Feb. 16, 2016, Governor Tom Wolf signed Act 4 into law. The law includes important amendments to Section 111 of the School Code concerning background checks that are intended to conform portions of that law with recent changes to the Child Protective Services Law (CPSL).
Section 111 of the School Code requires background checks for all school entity (public and non-public) employees, contractors and student teachers who have direct contact with children. The required background checks are from the Pennsylvania State Police, Department of Human Services (DHS) child abuse, and FBI fingerprint/records check. Act 153 of 2015 amended the Child Protective Services Law (CPSL) to require that these Section 111 checks be renewed every 60 months. Act 4 brings the School Code in alignment with this CPSL requirement or renewal of background checks and also provides that any of the three required background checks may now be used by potential applicants for up to five years. Prior to this change, background checks could not be used by applicants if they were more than one year old.
The 3M Cogent online system currently retains individual federal Criminal History Record Information (CHRI) for one year. PDE will be working to establish a system that will retain the CHRI report for five years. Until that system is in place, school administrators who wish to accept copies of CHRI reports that are no longer retained by 3M Cogent are permitted to accept paper copies of CHRI reports from applicants that are up to five years old. These paper copies should preferably be the unofficial copy of the CHRI provided to the applicant on PDE letterhead. An applicant who has not retained the unofficial copy of their CHRI obtained from 3M Cogent is also permitted to request a copy of their CHRI from their current employer to supply to a prospective employer. Applicants are also required to complete the form required by Section 111(j)(1) of the School Code (the PDE 6004 form) indicating they have not been disqualified from employment.
For additional information, please contact PDE's School Services Office at 717-783-3750 or via email at email@example.com