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CHILD PROTECTIVE SERVICES LAW (PA ACT 15) AND ITS IMPACT ON VOLUNTEERS IN THE MINSI TRAILS COUNCIL

Download OVERVIEW  | How do i know if I need a clearance

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania passed a new law known as the Child Protective Services Law. The intent of this law is to protect the youth of Pennsylvania. All youth serving organizations within the Commonwealth are covered under this new law. Volunteers, registered and unregistered, in the Minsi Trails Council are affected in two ways; we are mandated child abuse reporters and required to provide background check clearances. Please review this information below and take the required action as it pertains to your role.

Important Update Based On Pennsylvania Act 15

The law, as of July 1, 2015, has made several changes to volunteer compliance and clearances. While there have been changes to school based employees and foster parents, the following is related only to BSA volunteer compliance. Below are a few of the items that have changed with the passing of this new law; as well as interpretations of some BSA specific questions answered by the Department of Human Services. PA Child Welfare FAQ's

MANDATED REPORTER OF CHILD ABUSE

All volunteers, registered and unregistered, over the age of 18 are now mandated reporters of child abuse. The law requires direct reporting from the individual suspecting or witnessing child abuse immediately. After reporting the suspected abuse to the state the individual shall contact the Minsi Trails Council Scout Executive. The Commonwealth has created a portal for reporting purposes: www.compass.state.pa.us/cwis or 800-932-0313.

BACKGROUND CHECK CLEARANCES

Who is required to comply with the new Pennsylvania law?

Frequently Asked Questions

All registered unit, district, and council Scouters regardless of their position responsibilities must have proper clearances.

Lion Partners and Tiger Partners do not need clearances, as they are participants.

All individuals seeking to become NEW volunteers for Scouting in PA must have proper clearances before beginning volunteer work with Scout youth, as well as complete a new Boy Scouts of America Adult Application and online Youth Protection Training. New Volunteer Overview 

All nonregistered adults who may have care, supervision, guidance or control of children, or routine interaction with children must have proper clearances and should be encouraged to become registered Scouters. The following serve as examples of adults in this category (additional examples and exclusions are listed in the "How do I know if I need a clearance"). These examples are not inclusive of all possibilities, but are examples to help you begin to think about the way your unit uses non-registered adults):

  • Clearances are required if a carpool is organized or drivers are recruited by the unit’s leaders. If organized parent to parent the clearances are not needed.

  • At events/camps where Scouts are participating without their parent(s), clearances are required. If parents are required for the Scout to attend, clearances are not required.

  • Parents helping with fundraisers – if the parent will be or could be responsible for a child other than their own son (or daughter) then clearances are required.

  • Clearances are not required for adults who stay occasionally at a meeting to help out, unless their participation becomes a weekly occurrence.

Waiver of Pa Mandated Background Checks?

An adult who has applied for an unpaid position as a volunteer with the Boy Scouts of America, in your position, you are neither responsible for the welfare of a child nor have direct volunteer contact with children and therefore, not required to obtain the PA Mandated Background Checks.

Neither of the following are part of your responsibilities:

  • Acting in lieu of or on behalf of a parent (at no point am I the person in charge of children).

  • Providing care, supervision, guidance or control of children and having regular and repeated contact that is integral to my volunteer responsibilities.  (I do not attend camping trips as a leader or assist at more than 3 meetings or activities with Scouts per year.) 

You affirm that:

  • I do not present myself as a leader or authoritative figure in the Boy Scouts of America.

  • If I wear the Scout uniform, it is only for ceremony and not to represent authority.

  • Understand and have completed the Disclosure Statement Application for Volunteers not subject to the PA Mandated Background Checks.

Should your participation, position or responsibilities change, requiring you to obtain the PA Mandated Background Checks, you realize you must submit those certifications to Minsi Trails Council, Boy Scouts of America, before assuming the new position or responsibilities.

What happens when a Boy Scout turns 18?

Whose responsibility is it to ensure background check clearances are obtained?

It is the responsibility of the unit committee chair and chartered organization representative to ensure that compliance is handled before the volunteer service begins. At the district level it is the responsibility of the district chair and district executive. At the council level it is the responsibility of the council president and the Scout executive. Moreover, a new volunteer will not be registered until the council has evidence of compliance.

Volunteers must secure and provide the following clearances:

How long does it take the Commonwealth to process the clearances?

Some of the clearances come back within a few minutes, however, some may take as long as 4-6 weeks.

Timeline to provide the clearances:

  • Per Pennsylvania law, all new volunteers who begin their volunteer service on or after August 25, 2015 must comply prior to the volunteer participating in any activity where he or she will provide care, supervision, guidance or control of children, or routine interaction with children.

  • Current council and district leadership, commissioners and merit badge counselors will need to be in compliance prior to September 30, 2015.

  • Unit volunteers, except those above, must comply prior to rechartering in December 2015.

How to Submit Clearances:

  • Unit based: You retain the originals, provide a copy to your unit committee chairperson.

  • District based: You retain the originals, provide a copy to your District Executive or District Chairperson.

  • Council based: You retain the originals, provide a copy to the council registrar.

RESOURCES FOR FURTHER INFORMATION

  1. Unit Tracking Sheet

  2. Pennsylvania Website on Child Protection: www.keepkidssafe.pa.gov

  3. Pennsylvania Volunteer FAQ: keepkidssafe.pa.gov/cs/groups/webcontent/documents/document/c_135249.pdf

  4. Pennsylvania Mandated Reporter FAQ: keepkidssafe.pa.gov/cs/groups/webcontent/documents/document/c_137646.pdf

If you need assistance or have questions, please contact:

  • Contact your local District Executive

  • Paul Oswald, Minsi Trails Council,  Director of Support Services, (610) 465-8576

What has CHANGED since the initial law was enacted?

  • August 25, 2015 is now the compliance deadline for new volunteers to secure their clearances and FBI criminal history (if required).

  • There is no cost for volunteer clearances (PSP Criminal History and DHS Child Abuse) after July 25, 2015.

  • The FBI criminal history clearance (for volunteers who have not been residents of Pennsylvania for the past ten years or residents of other states) is required only once upon establishing residency and when first applying for volunteer service.

  • The cost of the FBI criminal history clearance through DHS has been reduced to $25.75 after July 25, 2015.

  • Volunteer clearances (PSP Criminal History and DHS Child Abuse) are valid for 60 months.

  • Volunteer clearances may be applied for, at no cost to the volunteer, every 57 months.

  • Organizations are permitted to accept non-original copies of the required documents from volunteers.

Department of Human Services Interpretations specific to the Boy Scouts of America:

  • At a Minsi Trails Council owned Summer Resident Camp.  This includes; Akelaland, Camp Minsi and Settlers Camp - clearances ARE REQUIRED of parents/guardians who attend camp as volunteers, as they may be acting in lieu of a parent and will have routine interaction and direct contact with youth.

  • Venturers or Explorers – Clearances are NOT required for 18-20 year old Venturers or Explorers, as they are not volunteers but program participants (even if these youth are providing leadership to youth under 18 years of age).

  • Special Needs Scouts – Clearances are NOT required for special needs Scouts (age 18+) as they are program participants.

  • Lion Adult Partners – Clearances are NOT required for Lion Adult Partners as they are participating in the BSA program as parents. Clearances ARE required for Lion Den Leaders.

  • Tiger Adult Partners – Clearances are NOT required for Tiger Adult Partners as they are participating in the BSA program as parents. Clearances ARE required for Tiger Den Leaders.

  • Merit Badge Counselors – Clearances ARE REQUIRED for Merit Badge Counselors.

  • Eagle Boards of Review – Clearances are NOT required for community volunteers serving on Eagle Boards of Review.

  • Drivers to camps or events or unit meetings – if a parent asks another parent (parent to parent) to drive their son to an event or camp or meeting then clearances are NOT required. If however a carpool is organized or drivers are recruited by the unit’s leaders, then clearances ARE REQUIRED.

  • Parents helping with fundraisers (Show and Sell and/or store front sales) – if the parent will be or could be responsible for a child other than their own son (or daughter) then clearances ARE REQUIRED.

  • Parents helping with "Scouting for Food" (door hanger drop off or food pick up) – if the parent will be or could be responsible for a child other than their own son (or daughter) then clearances ARE REQUIRED.

  • Adults who stay occasionally at a meeting to help out – clearances are NOT required unless their participation becomes a weekly occurrence.

  • At meetings or day events where parents are attending with their sons – clearances are NOT required of parents as volunteers.

  • At events where every Scout must participate with their parent(s) – clearances are NOT required of parents as volunteers.

  • At events where Scouts are participating without their parent(s) – clearances ARE REQUIRED of parents as volunteers, as they may be acting in lieu of a parent and will have routine interaction and direct contact with youth.

The best source for updates, forms, and resources related to this newest legislation continues to be:http://keepkidssafe.pa.gov/

 

MINSI TRAILS COUNCIL
BOY SCOUTS OF AMERICA

991 Postal Road
Allentown, PA 18109

Phone: (610) 264-8551
Fax: (610) 465-4500

HOURS OF OPERATION:
9:00am - 5:00pm (Mon. -  Fri.)
Monday, January 16th- Closed for Martin Luther King Jr. Day

MINSI TRAILS SCOUT SHOP

991 Postal Road
Allentown, PA 18109

Phone: (610) 266-7770
Fax: (610) 266-7798

HOURS OF OPERATION:
9:00am - 5:00pm (Mon., Wed., & Fri.)
9:00am - 7:00pm (Tues., & Thurs.)
9:00am - 4:00pm (Sat.)