Act 153 Background Clearances

What Background Checks are required?

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, under Act 153, requires educational employees to complete the following:

  1. “Pennsylvania Criminal History Records Check” is a check of criminal history information obtained from the Pennsylvania State Police that is maintained in the Pennsylvania State Police Central Repository.
  2. “Pennsylvania State Child Abuse Clearance Check” is a check that includes a certification from the Department of Human Services as to whether the applicant is named in the statewide database as an alleged perpetrator in a pending, indicated or founded child abuse investigation in Pennsylvania.
  3. And a “Federal Criminal History Records/FBI Check” is a check of federal criminal history information obtained by the submission of a full set of fingerprints to the Pennsylvania State Police or its authorized agent.

Who is required to complete the Act 153 clearances?

Clearances generally will be required in at least the following circumstances:

  • Faculty who have high school students enrolled in or attending one of their courses.
  • Faculty, staff, volunteers, and newly hired employees working camps or programs with minors on campus.
  • Admissions or other staff who interact with high school students while recruiting or working off campus.
  • Summer groups renting our facilities with minors on campus will need to provide the College with an affidavit that they have cleared their employees.

Who is not required to complete the clearances?

Following our review of the Act 15 amendments, we have determined that the following individuals generally will not be required to complete the three clearances previously required under Act 153:

  • Current faculty and staff and/or newly hired faculty and staff as long as direct contact with minors is limited to prospective students visiting campus or matriculated students at the institution.
  • Admissions staff who interact with prospective students while recruiting those high school students on Allegheny’s campus.
  • Student volunteers hosting overnight visits sponsored by Allegheny and occurring on Allegheny’s campus provided the student volunteer is currently enrolled at Allegheny and is not responsible for the child’s welfare and the event is not for children who are in the care of a child-care service.
  • Dining and custodial employees or contractors working on campus.

Other changes to Act 153:

  • Clearances can be transferred from one employer to another employer if the clearances are current and the individual signs an affirmation/affidavit that the individual has not been convicted of one of the disqualifying crimes nor is otherwise disqualified from employment under Act 153.
  • Clearances are good for five years instead of three.

Miscellaneous:

  • Allegheny will continue to do criminal background checks on new hires, which will include national and state criminal record checks; credit checks for AEC, Director-level and finance positions; and motor vehicle checks where driving is required as part of the job.
  • Incumbent employees with pending clearances do not need to finish the Act 153 process if your position no longer requires a clearance. However, if you want to continue the process, you can do so as those clearances would be transferrable to other employers and are good for five years.
  • A clearance received for volunteer purposes cannot be used when applying for an employment position but a clearance received for employment purposes can be used when applying for a volunteer position.

What is the process to complete the FBI fingerprinting and PA state criminal record check? 

You will need to have your fingerprints scanned.  Allegheny College is a registered 3M Cogent site.  Therefore, Allegheny can process the FBI fingerprinting.  You will need to schedule an appointment by calling ext. 3314.

Prior to your fingerprinting appointment, you will need to complete the Release Form.  We need this information in order to complete the PA state criminal record check and to register you for the fingerprinting.  You should complete and sign the form and mail it to the Office of Human Resources, box 4.

Allegheny College will register you to have your fingerprints digitally scanned.   You will need to bring identification with you when you get your fingerprinting done.  The forms of identification that are acceptable are listed here.

Please note that Allegheny College will not receive a copy of your fingerprinting results; the results will be mailed directly to you at your home address.  Therefore, you must bring your original letter with the results to the Allegheny College’s Human Resources Office, Bentley Hall 215.

Allegheny must receive the results within 90 days of the date the fingerprinting was completed, or you will not be able to continue working.

What is the process to obtain my PA Child Abuse Clearance?

  • For the child abuse clearance, you will need to register at the Child Abuse Registry Site.  Once the Office of Human Resources receives your signed and completed Release Form, you will be e-mailed detailed instructions and a prepayment code to complete your child abuse clearance.  The code will be unique to your registration.
  • HR will email you a Prepayment Code after you complete your on-line questionnaire.
  • Once you receive your Prepayment Code, go to the new Child Welfare Portal: https://www.compass.state.pa.us/cwis/public/home
  • Click on “Create a New Account” and then select the blue “Next” button at the bottom of the page.
  • Complete all of the required information to create a Keystone ID.  Hit “Finish” at the bottom.
  • The system will email you an automatic temporary password.
  • After you receive your temporary password via email, you will need to go back into the system (https://www.compass.state.pa.us/cwis/public/home) to “LOGIN” using the newly assigned password.
  • The system will then offer you an opportunity to create a new password.
  • Complete all of the required information.
  • Where prompted, you will need to copy and paste your pre-paid number that was provided by the Office of Human Resources.
  • When asked for a signature at the end, please include your given name (not your Keystone ID).  Enter your name in lower case letters, DO NOT use capitals.
  • If you have completed your information correctly, you will receive a notice that the application has been successfully received.
  • The prepayment code is good for only 30 daysso you must complete this online form as soon as possible.
  • Allegheny College will receive a copy of the results for your PA Child Abuse Clearance.  It will not be necessary to submit these results separately to Allegheny College.

Why must I sign a Disclosure before I begin work?

New employees who are required to complete the clearances may be employed as a provisional hire, not to exceed 90 days if all of the following conditions are met:

  1. The new hire is not the perpetrator of a founded report of child abuse committed within the last five years
  2. The new hire has not been convicted of any of the following offenses under Title 18 of the Pennsylvania Code (relating to crimes and offenses), or of an offense similar in nature under the law or former laws of the United States or one of its territories or possessions, another state, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico or a foreign nation, or under a former law of this Commonwealth:

(a) Chapter 25 (relating to criminal homicide)

(b) Section 2702 (relating to aggravated assault)

(c) Section 2709.1 (relating to stalking)

(d) Section 2901 (relating to kidnapping)

(e) Section 2902 (relating to unlawful restraint)

(f) Section 3121 (relating to rape)

(g) Section 3122.1 (relating to statutory sexual assault)

(h) Section 3123 (relating to involuntary deviate sexual intercourse)

(i) Section 3124.1 (relating to sexual assault)

(j) Section 3125 (relating to aggravated indecent assault)

(k) Section 3126 (relating to indecent assault)

(l) Section 3127 (relating to indecent exposure)

(m) Section 4302 (relating to incest)

(n) Section 4303 (relating to concealing death of child)

(o) Section 4304 (relating to endangering welfare of children)

(p) Section 4305 (relating to dealing in infant children)

(q) A felony offense under section 5902(b) (relating to prostitution and related offenses)

(r) Section 5903(c) or (d) (relating to obscene and other sexual materials and performances)

(s) Section 6301 (relating to corruption of minors)

(t) Section 6312 (relating to sexual abuse of children)

(u) The attempt, solicitation or conspiracy to commit any of the above offenses; and

(v) Has not been convicted of a felony offense under the act of April 14, 1972 (P.L. 233, No. 64), known as The Controlled Substance, Drug, Device and Cosmetic Act, committed within the last five years.

  1. The new hire has applied for the three required clearances.

Who is paying for these background checks?

Allegheny College will be responsible for all fees and charges associated with the completion of the three background checks.

How often are these background checks run?

New clearances must be obtained every 5 years for those employees required to obtain them.

I recently had these same checks completed for another employer or organization.  Do I need to have them completed again by Allegheny College if they were done in the last 5 years?

No, the background checks are transferable from one employer to another, provided the employee signs this affidavit.