Background Clearances and Mandated Reporter Training
The Penn State University Clearance Process:
The Eberly College of Science Outreach Office is committed to ensuring the safety of our program participants, our staff, and our volunteers. As a condition of employment with Science-U, individuals must obtain the following publicly available background clearances as required by Pennsylvania state law and Penn State University Human Resources policies. Employment and volunteering with the Eberly College of Science outreach program is contingent upon completion of these clearances and it is suggested that individuals start the process as soon as an offer of employment or volunteer position has been received and accepted.
Instructions for Obtaining Clearances:
- Continue reading below for instructions OR click here to find a document of instructions for obtaining these publicly available clearances.
- For Employees - additional information on obtaining background clearances will be provided at the time an employment offer is made.
Clearance Costs and Reimbursement:
- If you are obtaining these clearances for volunteer purposes, The Criminal Background Check and the Child Abuse History Clearance Form will be free. Volunteers still have to pay to do the FBI Fingerprint Criminal Background Check, but will be reimbursed if they bring that receipt to 512 Thomas when they turn in their clearances.
- If you are obtaining the clearances for paid employment, there is a fee for each of these clearances which must be paid by credit or debit card at the time they are submitted. The total cost will be $39 and will be built in to your offer letter. Should you receive results that prevent you from working with youth or you do not follow through with the terms of your Employment Agreement, the cost for these clearances will NOT be covered by the Eberly College of Science.
Where to Take Completed Clearances:
- When you have received the results of each of these clearances, take the originals to the Eberly College of Science Human Resources Office in 512 Thomas Building. A copy of your clearances will be made there and you should keep the originals.
Already Have Your Clearances? Please Read This!
- If you have previously completed these three background clearances for non-volunteer purposes at another department, job, or student organization at Penn State University, and the clearances are dated within 60 months of your start date with Science-U, you do NOT need to redo your clearances.
- If, however, you obtained these clearances for volunteer purposes, you will have to redo your clearances if you wish to work in a paid position.
- If you have any question about whether the clearances are acceptable, please contact the Eberly College of Science Human Resources Office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Periodic updates or additional background checks:
- Penn State retains the right to conduct relevant background checks of current employees when it has reasonable grounds to do so, e.g., a workplace incident has occurred, upon self-disclosure of criminal activity or upon the University being informed of such activity, or upon a change of assignment.
- Science-U employees are required to notify the Eberly College of Science Human Resources representative of an arrest (charged with a misdemeanor or felony) or conviction for an offense enumerated in the Penn State Arrest or Conviction self-disclosure form within 72 hours of knowledge of the arrest or conviction. The Penn State Arrest and Conviction self-disclosure form provides the list of arrests and/or convictions that must be disclosed and this form must be used to provide the information in writing to the appropriate Human Resources representative. Failure to report such incidents may result in disciplinary action up to and including termination.
- If you have any questions or concerns about the background check process, please contact the Eberly College of Science Office of Human Resources at (814) 863-6216 or via email at email@example.com.
Background Clearance Instructions (Submit to 512 Thomas Building):
Effective July 1, 2015, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf signed House Bill 1276 into law as Act 15 amending PA Title 23: Domestic Relations, Ch.63: Child Protective Services. The Pennsylvania Child Protective Services Law requires employees who have contact with children in youth programs sponsored by Penn State to obtain the following background clearances (These clearances are in addition to the standard background check that must be completed by all Penn State employees through the Penn State Office of Human Resources):
Pennsylvania State Police Criminal Background Check (SP4-164)
Fee waived for volunteers; $8.00 for employment
- Go to https://epatch.state.pa.us./
- Select “New record check (volunteers only)” OR "Submit a New Record Check" (for employment)
- Complete the rest of the form. (Under “Reason for Request” select either “Employment/Screening” or “Volunteer,” whichever is applicable.)
- Immediately after submission of the request, one of the following statuses will be assigned to the request:
No Record: If this status is assigned to the request it is the user's responsibility to double click on the control number. This will take the user to the details screen where the user will double click on the blue hyper link, "Certification Form", near the center of the page. By clicking on "Certification Form", a certified "No Record" form with the PA State seal will be displayed in PDF format. NOTE: THE CERTIFICATION FORM WITH THE PA STATE SEAL SHOULD BE PRINTED OR SAVED; ONCE VIEWED YOU WILL HAVE NO FURTHER ACCESS TO THE DOCUMENT.
Request under Review: If this status is assigned to the request, the user must periodically check the PATCH web site to determine the final status of the request. A status of "Request Under Review", will result in one of the following final status: i.
- No Record: Follow the instructions above for a "No Record" response.
- Record: Indicates that the person has a record and that a record response has been mailed to the address provided. Please print this page as proof that you have requested the clearance and are awaiting official results.
- Pending: This status is occasionally assigned when traffic is extremely heavy and requires the user to check back at a later time. A request should not remain in pending status for more than 24 hours. If a request remains in pending status for more than 24 hours call the PATCH Help Line toll‐free at 1‐888‐QUERY‐PA (1‐888‐783‐7972).
Pennsylvania Child Abuse History Clearance Form (CY-113)
Fee waived for volunteers; $8.00 for employment
- Go to https://www.compass.state.pa.us/cwis/public/home
- Select “Create New Account”
- Select “Next” at the bottom right of the page
- Complete the Keystone ID Registration
- Check your e‐mail for Keystone ID and password confirmation (2 separate e‐mails)
- Return to: https://www.compass.state.pa.us/cwis/public/home
- Select “LOGIN”
- Select “Access My Clearances”
- Scroll to the bottom and select “Continue”
- Use your Keystone ID and temporary password to login. Upon initial login, you will be required to change your password.
- Return to: https://www.compass.state.pa.us/cwis/public/home
- Login using Keystone ID and new password.
- Review and Accept “Terms and Conditions” and select “Next”
- Select “Continue” at the bottom right of the page.
- Select “Create Clearance Application”
- Select “Begin” at the bottom right of the page.
- Application Purpose: Select “Volunteer” (volunteers) or “Regular Direct Contact with Child” (employees)
- Complete application information screens and select “Next” at bottom right of each page.
- Review Application Summary and select “Next”
- Certify application and provide e‐signature (first and last name only, no middle names or suffixes).
- Enter credit card payment information for $8.00 and select “Pay Now”. (If you selected the "Volunteer" application purpose, you should not have to pay.) If you are applying for employment purposes, print the “Your Card has been Charged” page as this will serve as your receipt for reimbursement or for processing your PSU pcard charge.
- Select “Finalize and Submit Application”. You will see an “Application Confirmation” screen and will receive an e‐mail confirming successful submission of your application. Notification of clearance results will be e‐mailed to you within 14 days, or you may log in at any time to check the status of your application: https://www.compass.state.pa.us/cwis/public/home
Federal (FBI) Fingerprint Criminal Background Check (Criminal History Report)
$23 fee (Volunteers can get reimbursed with receipt)
Individuals who are volunteers and have lived in the state of Pennsylvania for the past 10 years DO NOT have to obtain this clearance. You will, however have to complete the 10-year Volunteer PA Exemption from Fingerprinting form. If you are obtaining this clearance for employment, the 10 year exemption does not apply to you.
- Online registration for the Department of Human Services FBI Check is available at https://www.pa.cogentid.com/index_dpwNew.htm
- Select "Register online" from list on the right and fill out the form. You will have to pay with a credit card.
- DO NOT USE the Department of Education (PDE) FBI Clearance option for PSU employment/volunteer clearance purposes. Act 15 requires the Department of Human Services FBI clearance. Only under certain circumstances should PSU employees obtain the Department of Education Clearance. If you are uncertain, please clarify with HR or Youth Compliance prior to submission.
- Disregard section pertaining to agency.
- Under "Reason fingerprinted," select "Employment with a significant likelihood of regular contact with children."
- Use your local/campus address.
- After you register online, you take this form to a fingerprinting location and get your fingerprints completed digitally. (Go here to find a fingerprinting site and see a list of approved IDs to present when you arrive. Volunteers - bring this registration form with you to 512 Thomas when you turn in your clearances to get reimbursed.)
- NOTE: If you are NOT able to be digitally fingerprinted at a PA site with the Livescan system (e.g., applicants who live out-of-state or internationally), you will need to select the "Fingerprint Card User" box. (Go here to download a document that contains instructions on how to submit a Fingerprint Card.)
Penn State’s “Building a Safe Penn State: Reporting Child Abuse” training (Submit to firstname.lastname@example.org) :
This training must be completed by employees each year. (The training certificate expires 365 days after the date the training was completed.) The training must be completed in order to learn how to recognize child abuse and how to properly report child abuse. This is a 1.5 hour online training. Provided below is a link to instructions for accessing and completing the training.
If you are a volunteer, you would click on the link "Volunteer, or don't have a WebAccess Account?" link. If you are an employee you would log-in to the Learning Resource Network and browse for training. You will want to look for "Building a Safe Penn State: Reporting Child Abuse".
Upon completion of the training, please save and send a copy of your Certificate of Completion to email@example.com
HAVING ISSUES WITH THE TRAINING? TRY THE TROUBLESHOOTING TIPS BELOW!
- If you've already taken the training and need to retake it to get an updated certificate, click "Request" not "Launch". This will open a new session of the training that will allow you to get an updated certificate.
Click 'New Employee' --> 'Create LRN Account
Fill in the requested info on the next screen. For email, use your PSU email When finished, click "Login" and you should be able to access the LRN site and search for the "Building a Safer Penn State" training If you need to leave and log back in later, you should be able to click the "Faculty, Staff, & Wage" login option and then select "Login with Access Account"
- If you HAVE created an LRN account before and cannot access:
- If you were trying to login through the "Faculty, Staff, & Wage" option and are unable to get access when you click "Login with Access Account", try exiting and reopening lrn.psu.edu. Then click the "Volunteer/Other" button, click "Volunteer/Other Login", and then click "Login" by the "Have a Penn State Access Account?" question that appears at bottom right.
- If the above step does not work, your account may be inactive. Call the Office of Workplace Learning & Performance at 814-865-8216 and ask them to check if your account can be reactivated. (You will likely need to provide your 9-digit PSU ID number.)