My office has been receiving questions from those who work with children on a volunteer basis about the state’s new child abuse clearance requirements.
During the previous legislative session, the state House of Representatives passed a comprehensive package of legislation designed to update Pennsylvania’s child protection laws. These laws took effect on Dec. 31, 2014. To help keep the public up to date on these changes, the Department of Human Services has launched a new website, www.keepkidssafe.pa.gov.
The site includes basic information on recognizing and reporting child abuse, changes to the Child Protective Services Law, and online ChildLine clearances with links to the applicable background check clearances and requirements.
It should be noted that most organizations directly involved with services for children already have their own stringent background check clearance policies in place. The new law sets minimum requirements, but nothing in this law prohibits organizations from establishing or continuing even more stringent internal policies.
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I encourage those involved with the direct care of children to visit this site and familiarize themselves with the information posted.
As always, anyone with suspicions that a child is being abused should call the statewide ChildLine hotline at 1-800-932-0313.
Rep. Rich Irvin
Rich Irvin represents the 81st Legislative District in the state House.