NPSD Volunteer Information Sheet

Changes to the Child Protective Services Law (CPSL) impact the requirements for individuals permitted to serve as a school volunteer, effective immediately. A North Penn School District Volunteer is defined as an individual who provides a service to students, staff, or school/district operations without compensation. Please note that North Penn School District distinguishes between volunteers and visitors in that visitors are viewed as individuals who are attending and/or observing an event or activity without providing a service to the students, staff, or school/district operations. Some examples of these events would include but are not limited to: Back to School Nights, Parent/Teacher Conferences, School Assemblies, American Education Week, Olympic Days, Fall Festivals, etc. In this capacity, school visitors do not need the clearances as described below.

All volunteers in the school district who will be responsible for a child's welfare or will have direct volunteer contact with children on a regular and repeated basis will be required to submit background clearances/certifications prior to commencing or continuing their volunteer service. Volunteer opportunities include but are not limited to chaperoning field trips, assisting at classroom or school events, etc.

FAQ:


What clearances are volunteers required to obtain?
The following clearances/certifications are required of volunteers who will be responsible for a child's welfare or will have direct volunteer contact with children on a regular and repeated basis:

* Click here to access PA Child Abuse History Clearance.

* Click here to access PA State Police Criminal Background Check.

* Click here to access the Report of Federal Criminal History Record (fingerprinting), as this may be required. North Penn School District volunteers are exempt from this requirement if:

* They have resided within Pennsylvania consecutively during the prior 10-year period; AND
* They swear or affirm in writing that they are not disqualified from serving as a volunteer under the CPSL.
* In other words, to be excused from this requirement, parents must swear and affirm that if the Federal Criminal History Record were completed, it would not reveal anything that would prohibit them from providing services.

OR

* They have resided in the Commonwealth for a period less than 10 years but have obtained a federal fingerprint check at some point since they started residing in PA.

* North Penn has developed a Volunteer Affirmation Form on page 5 to assist you in meeting this requirement.

If I intend to volunteer, when do I need to submit clearances to the school district?
* New volunteers, individuals who have not volunteered in North Penn previously, must submit the required clearances/certifications for review and approval prior to volunteering.

How do I obtain my clearances?
* Information regarding how to obtain clearances is hyperlinked on page one of this document. The information may also be found on the North Penn School District website under the For Families tab in the Volunteer section.

How recent do the clearances that I submit need to be?
Volunteers are required to obtain new clearances/certifications every 60 months under the Child Protective Services Law.

Is there a cost associated with obtaining clearances?

* There are no costs associated with the state level clearances/certifications as follows:
* PA Child Abuse History Clearance
* PA State Police Criminal Background Check
* The Cost associated to the federal level clearance/certification is listed below.
* Report of Federal Criminal History Record - $23.85 and fingerprinting at an approved location
* Remember, the Federal Criminal History Record is not required if the volunteer has resided in Pennsylvania consecutively for the prior ten years and swear/affirm in writing that he/she meets the requirements for volunteering or if the individual has previously obtained a federal fingerprint report in those situations where residency is less than a period of 10 years. The Volunteer Affirmation may be found as the last page of this document.

What if I can't afford to obtain clearances but still want to volunteer?

* Pennsylvania State level clearances/certifications for volunteers are free of charge.
* The Office of School and Community Engagement has published a process to reimburse Federal level clearance/certification fees for volunteers whose families are on the free or reduced lunch program. The application may be accessed in the For Families section of the website under the Volunteers tab. There will be a limited budget and reimbursement will be on a first-come, first-served basis.

Once I receive clearances, to whom do I submit them?

* Documents must be submitted to the Office of Human Resources in the Educational Services Center of the School District.

* Please submit the required documents in one packet to the address as listed below. Documents may also be personally presented for copying in the District's Office of School and Community Engagement for immediate return.

Volunteer List/HR
North Penn School District
401 E. Hancock Street
Lansdale, PA 19446

How often must I update my clearances?
* Clearances must be updated within 60 months of the date on the document. When updating clearances, the District requires that all clearances and the Volunteer Affirmation be completed and submitted at the same time.

Are volunteers required to report suspected child abuse?
* Changes in the law state that volunteers are now considered "mandated reporters" who are required to report suspicion of child abuse to the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services.

What does the term "mandated reporter" mean?

* A mandated reporter is someone who is required by law to make a report of child abuse if they have "reasonable cause to suspect a child is a victim of abuse."
* All school district employees are mandatory reporters.

What do I do if I suspect child abuse while in my volunteer capacity?

* Legislative changes require that the individual, who suspects abuse, must directly and immediately report the abuse.
* The following steps should be followed if you suspect abuse while in your volunteer capacity:
* Mandated reporters must immediately either (1) make an oral report to the state-wide child abuse phone hotline when they have reasonable cause to suspect a child is the victim of child abuse at 1-800-932-0313 or (2) file an electronic report with the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services at https://www.compass.state.pa.us/cwis
* If the report is made verbally over the phone, within 48 hours of the oral report, a written report must be submitted to Children and Youth. Written report forms may be found in each school building or accessed electronically at: https://www.reportsuspectedabuse.com/
* Parent volunteers who report suspected child abuse must also immediately report that suspected abuse to their student's building principal or assistant principal and provide her/him with a copy of any written reports that are filed.

Is training for mandatory reporting available?

* A free three-hour training is available online at www.reportabusepa.pitt.edu.

North Penn remains committed to the health, well-being, and safety of our students. We thank you for your cooperation with us in implementing requirements resulting from changes to the Child Protective Services Law.