Certifications
The information below is related to Background Checks/Certifications for:
  • Pennsylvania Child Abuse History Clearances (CY113) *updated information
  • Pennsylvania Criminal Record Checks for Employment (SP4-164)
  • Pennsylvania Criminal Record Checks for Volunteers (SP4-164A)
  • Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) Criminal Background Checks

PENNSYLVANIA CHILD ABUSE HISTORY CLEARANCE INSTRUCTIONS

Requirements for clearances:

  • Clearances that have been obtained in Pennsylvania within the past 60 months are acceptable and considered current. 
  • Clearances obtained for employment purposes are acceptable for volunteer purposes.
  • Clearances obtained for volunteer purposes are not acceptable for employment purposes.
  • New/potential employees must:
    • Submit current clearances before starting employment or show proof of applying for clearances and sign a disclosure statement before starting employment on a provisional basis.
  • Employees presenting clearances within the past 60 months need to affirm that nothing has changed since obtaining the clearances. (The disclosure statement for provisional employment is used for this purpose.)
  • The provisional hiring period is 90 days.
  • Employees are required to report changes in clearances status within 72 hours.
  • Updated clearances must be obtained as follows:
    • If the clearances were obtained prior to Dec. 31, 2014 and are less than 60 months old: by 60 months from the date of the oldest clearance. 
      • Example: For a child abuse clearance obtained Jan. 1, 2014, Pennsylvania State Police clearance obtained Feb. 1, 2014 and FBI fingerprint clearance obtained March 1, 2014, updated clearances for all three must be obtained by Jan.1, 2019.
    • Clearances must be renewed every 60 months.
    • Clearances for employment purposes are $8. Background check fees for volunteers are waived one time within a 5-year period. Refunds are not provided for applicants who submit over-payments with their background check paper applications.
  • A Child Abuse Clearance can be obtained through the Child Welfare Portal.

For more information, visit Keep Kids Safe

*On July 1, 2018, the fee for PA child abuse history clearances will be increasing from $8 to $13. PA child abuse clearance fees for volunteers will continue to be waived one time within a 5-year period. Amendments to the Child Protective Services Law in 2014 and 2015 expanded who is required to receive child abuse clearances and that clearances must be renewed every five years, resulting in the number of PA child abuse history clearance applications increasing exponentially. The passage of Act 40 of 2017 included a maximum fee increase to $13 for PA child abuse history clearances to assist in covering actual costs for processing these clearances.

ELECTRONIC SUBMISSION - Online Child Abuse History Clearance

Creating an account and submitting your clearance application online will give you immediate access to your results or the status of your results if your results cannot be processed immediately.

Organizations who want to set up business accounts must first register for a Business Partner User account using the “Organization Account Access” link on the Child Welfare Portal. Organization accounts will allow businesses and organizations to purchase child abuse history clearance payment codes and distribute those codes to applicants. When an applicant uses a code given to them by an organization, the organization will have access to the applicant’s child abuse history clearance results once those results are processed.

PAPER SUBMISSION

Paper submissions of the Pennsylvania Child Abuse History Clearance application will still be accepted for anyone who may not have access to the internet. Submit paper applications to:

ChildLine and Abuse Registry
Pennsylvania Department of Human Services
PO Box 8170
Harrisburg, PA 17105-8170

  1. The instructions for how to complete the Pennsylvania Child Abuse History Clearance application are now included on the last page of the application and can be printed for easy reference when completing the application. Failure to comply with the instructions that are attached to the application will cause considerable delay in processing the results.
     
  2. Applicants can now type their information directly onto the application or the information can be hand written onto the application.
     
  3. If the information is typed directly onto the application, the information will NOT be able to be saved on a computer unless the computer has a licensed version of the acrobat adobe software. Therefore, please be sure to print the completed application before closing the document so that the information typed on the application is not lost.
     
  4. If you have trouble accessing the application you may need to download the latest version of Adobe Reader, which is available free on the internet.

NOTE: ALL information that has been entered directly onto the application will be lost if you close the application prior to printing it (if your computer does not have a licensed version of the Acrobat Adobe software).

Once the application is received in the ChildLine and Abuse Registry’s Verification Unit, the results of the Pennsylvania Child Abuse History Clearance will be mailed to the applicant’s address that was noted on the application within 14 days from the date that the application is received in the ChildLine Verification Unit.

An applicant can request that a Pennsylvania Child Abuse History Certification result be mailed to an organization by completing a Consent Release of Information Authorization Form. Both the applicant and organization must sign the form and the form must be attached to a paper Child Abuse History Certification application submitted via mail in order for the results to be released to the organization. Older versions of the Consent Release Form without a signature line for the organization will not be accepted and the certification result will be returned directly to the applicant, not the organization.

NOTE: Results cannot be sent to someone other than the applicant if applying for a Child Abuse History Certification electronically via the online link above. If an organization pays the application fee, they will have the ability to access an applicant’s results online if they set up a business account and provide the pre-paid code to the applicant.

CY 999 -Consent/Release of Information Authorization Form

For questions related to the Pennsylvania Child Abuse History Clearance, please contact the ChildLine Verification Unit at 717-783-6211 or toll free at 1-877-371-5422.

 

PENNSYLVANIA STATE POLICE CRIMINAL RECORD CHECK INSTRUCTIONS

There are two methods of requesting a Criminal Record.

  1. Online Request
     The Pennsylvania State Police have established a web-based computer application called “Pennsylvania Access To Criminal History,” (PATCH). 
     
  2. Submitting a Request Form
    Download the Criminal History Request Form - SP4-164 (Updated 12/2017)
    Download the Criminal History Request Form: Volunteer Only- SP4-164A (Updated 12/2017)
    Download the Individual Access and Review Request Form - SP4-170 (Updated 12/2017)

Applicants can also go to the Pennsylvania Access To Criminal History website and apply for their criminal record check online with the Pennsylvania State Police.

If you have questions about the Pennsylvania State Police Request for Criminal Record Checks form for employment (SP4 164) or to volunteer (SP4-164A), please call: (717) 783-9973 or toll free 1-888-783-7972.

 

FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION (FBI) CRIMINAL BACKGROUND CHECK INSTRUCTIONS

*IMPORTANT INFORMATION: The Commonwealth has transitioned to a new FBI Criminal Background Checks vendor, IDEMIA (also referred to as IdentoGo and MorphoTrust).

General Information
The Pennsylvania Department of Human Services utilizes IDEMIA to process fingerprint-based FBI criminal background checks. The fingerprint-based background check is a multi-step process. For general questions about FBI clearances, please contact the FBI Background Check Unit at 717-783-6211 or 1-877-371-5422. For IDEMIA registration, processing, or billing questions, please contact IDEMIA/IdentoGo at 1-844-321-2101.

Department of Education
The Pennsylvania Department of Education also utilizes IDEMIA to process fingerprint based FBI criminal background checks for prospective employees of public and private schools. Under Act 114 of 2006, ALL prospective school employees, school contractors and student teachers are to use the Pennsylvania Department of Education system. This includes but is not limited to: Teachers, School Administrators, Substitute Teachers, Teaching Assistants, PIAA Sports Officials, School Bus Drivers, and Student Teachers. For more information regarding Act 114, and background check requirements for public schools, private schools and student teachers go to the Pennsylvania Department of Education website or email the Pennsylvania Department of Education.
 

Fingerprinting Process
•  Appointments to be fingerprinted are not required, but pre‐registration is required either online or by phone. To register online, please go to www.Identogo.com; by telephone please call 1-844-321-2101 and listen to the options menu.
•  When you or your employee or volunteer register, the employer will have to provide a service code. Please refer to the Service Code table below. The employer shall review the service codes below to determine which code best suites the volunteer or employee. Once determined, provide this code to the volunteer or employee so they may register. Please note the “DHS volunteer” service code would include all volunteer services. It is titled “DHS” because it is a DHS, Child Protective Services Law requirement.
•  Once registered, you may walk‐in during a location’s posted hours of operation, but scheduling an appointment may lead to lesser/no wait times. In order to pre-register for a FBI background check and/or find a fingerprinting location, applicants should access the IDEMIA website. It is strongly encouraged that the employee or volunteer contact the site prior to going there as the information on the IDEMIA website may differ from actual hours of operation.
 

Below are the service codes available for applicants applying under the DHS: 

Service Code
Applicant TypeDescriptionDepartment
1KG6ZJDHS VolunteerAn individual applying for or holding an unpaid position as a volunteer with a child-care service, a school or a program, activity or service, as a person responsible for the child's welfare or having direct volunteer contact with children.Department of Human Services
1KG71BFoster ParentAn individual responsible for providing foster family care to children placed by a Family Foster Care Agency.Department of Human Services
1KG72VProspective Adoptive ParentAn individual who is engaged in the process of becoming an adoptive parent by establishing a legal relationship of parent and child when not related by birth.Department of Human Services
1KG738Child Care Services/Program Employee or ContractorAny employee or contractor of a child care service or program, including but not limited to a child care center or home, residential facility or center, behavioral health service, substance use service, early intervention service, or child care service offered by a school.Department of Human Services
1KG74SFamily Child Care Home ProviderA residence where child care is provided at any time to no less than four children and no more than six children who are not relatives of the caregiver.Department of Human Services
1KG756Employee >=14 Years Contact w/ ChildrenAn employee age 14 or older who would not fall under the child care services/program employee or contractor definition, and who has care, supervision, guidance or control of children or routine interaction with children.Department of Human Services
1KG76QIndividual >=18 Years in Foster HomeAn individual 18 years of age or older who resides in the home of a foster parent for at least 30 days in a calendar yearDepartment of Human Services
1KG774Individual >=18 Years in Prospective Adoptive HomeAn individual 18 years of age or older who resides in the home of a prospective adoptive parent for at least 30 days in a calendar year.Department of Human Services
1KG78KIndividual >=18 Years in Licensed Child Care HomeAn individual age 18 years of age or older who resides in the home of a licensed child care home for at least 30 days in a calendar year, in which child care is provided at any one time to four, five or six children unrelated to the operator.Department of Human Services
1KG8TGIndividual >=18 Years in Family Living, Community, or Host HomeAn individual age 18 years of age or older who resides for at least 30 days in a calendar year in the following homes:
   • Family living: the private home of an individual or family in which residential care is provided to one or two individuals with an intellectual disability.
  • Community home for individuals with an intellectual disability.
  • Host home for children with intellectual disabilities receiving supervised independent living services.
Department of Human Services

Payment Process
Employees or volunteers are required to pay for fingerprinting at the time of service. If an employer is paying, an authorization code must be provided; otherwise the employee or volunteer will be required to pay out of pocket. If an employer wishes to set up a payment agreement with IDEMIA/IdentoGo/Morphotrust, please scroll down to the end of the page titled, “IDEMIA Payment Option” for more information. 

If you are an organization or agency accessing this site to inquire about remaining or becoming a Commonwealth affiliate fingerprinting site, or questions surrounding equipment, please note the following important information:
If you would like your location to remain a Commonwealth affiliated fingerprinting site or become a fingerprint site please visit www.identogo.com/partners
•  At the bottom of that page is a link to their Partner Inquiry Form
•  Express interest by providing IDEMIA with your business’ information. Your inquiry will go to their partner team for follow up. Public and private agreements considered.
•   If there is no need in your specific area, you will receive an email letting you know IDEMIA will hold onto your information until a need arises.
•  IDEMIA has a process in place for approving locations and equipment. For more information, visit www.identogo.com or call 844-321-2101.

IDEMIA Payment Option - No Charge Authorization Code (NCAC)
•  IDEMIA also offers employers the option to pay for services using a No Charge Authorization Code (NCAC) which is backed by a credit card provided during the account setup. To use this method for payment, the employer must complete and submit the IDEMIA NCAC Agreement which will be available on the IDEMIA website at www.identogo.com/locations/pennsylvania. The account must be established prior to sending applicants to the fingerprint site.
•  If you have additional questions, please contact IDEMIA by phone, toll free at (844) 321-2101.

Cogent Data
•  If you registered with Cogent, but have not been fingerprinted, you will receive a refund from Cogent. For more information on your refund, you can call 1-888-439-2486. Press #2 during the menu options, and you will be connected to a service desk.
•  If you registered and were fingerprinted with Cogent, but need reprinted after November 27, 2017 you will be contacted by IDEMIA and will be issued a payment coupon, which will be valid for 90 days. If your fingerprints were rejected by Cogent, and you are not contacted by IDEMIA for a payment coupon, contact IDEMIA by phone, toll free at (844) 321‐2101. Once IDEMIA verifies your reprint is necessary, a payment waiver/coupon code will be provided to you.