Non-profits and Background Check Services: What You Need to Know
Pennsylvania has a strict set of laws and regulations to keep children safe. These laws are important; however, they aren't always easy to navigate for non-profit workers and leaders.
Here's how to figure out if you or other workers at your non-profit organization require background check services as per the state of Pennsylvania.
Understanding Background Screening Requirements for Non-profits
Without a comprehensive understanding of how the non-profit pre-employment screening guidelines work, you put yourself at risk for legal actions and potentially damaging the reputation of your organization's entire mission.
You are responsible for obtaining the following required background screening services if you fall into a position that requires clearance to work with children which includes anyone under 18 (Keep Kids Safe, n.d.):
- A Child Abuse History Clearance (CY113)
- A Pennsylvania State Police Criminal Record Check for Employment (SPA-164) or Volunteer (SPA-164A)
- FBI fingerprinting (if you've lived outside of Pennsylvania anytime within in the past ten years)
Pre-employment Screening Requirements for Paid Workers
Anyone 14 years or older must obtain clearance prior to employment if they'll be responsible for the wellbeing of anyone under the age of 18 (Keep Kids Safe, n.d.).
In general, you need background check services including a Child Abuse History Clearance and Pennsylvania State Police Criminal Record Check if your job will require you to interact with children on a routine basis -- even if you're not responsible for a supervisory role (Keep Kids Safe, n.d.).
Pre-employment Screening Requirements for Volunteers
Anyone over the age of 18 applying for a volunteer position at a non-profit organization or non-governmental organization (NGO) needs to obtain clearance if their prospective position involves routine interaction with children. Teens under the age of 18 taking unpaid positions don't need clearance as per state law – but it certainly can't hurt to have it handy. (Keep Kids Safe, n.d.)
If you work or want to work as a volunteer in hospitals, churches, Big Brother/Sister programs, literacy programs, tutoring, and several types of organizations, you should evaluate your role with children and consider looking into background screening companies.
Will you play a supervisory role with anyone under 18 as part of your job? Will your activities require you to interact with children on a regular basis? If the answer is "yes" to either question, you should cover your bases and obtain the proper clearances with a pre-employment screening.
How Background Screening Companies Can Provide Peace of Mind
As a non-profit worker or volunteer over 18, you'll need to renew your clearance every five years. Your employer or administrator is responsible for holding onto the verification but the responsibility of obtaining clearance falls on you as a worker or volunteer.
Background screening companies can help organizers and administrators at non-profits take a proactive approach to protecting Pennsylvania's children and the organization's reputation. Many companies provide extended services for temporary and volunteer employees as well as additional services like drug screening and recurring screening options.
Application Verification's ProVerify™ Community Screening Management System and background check services go above and beyond to keep the most vulnerable people safe and protect staff members from questionable applicants.
Keep Kids Safe, Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (DHS), n.d. Get a Clearance. Retrieved from
Keep Kids Safe, Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (DHS), n.d. Employees having contact with children: frequently asked questions. Retrieved from
Keep Kids Safe, Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (DHS), n.d. Volunteers: frequently asked questions. Retrieved from