New Mandated Reporter Requirements for Volunteers Working with Children (Effective Dec. 31, 2014)

Change to who is a mandated reporter, including: An individual paid or unpaid, who, on the basis of the individual’s role as an integral part of a regularly scheduled program, activity or service, accepts responsibility for a child:

  • Mandated Reporter: a person who is required to make a report of suspected child abuse.
  • Program, activity or service: a public or private educational, athletic or other pursuit in which children participate.

Program, activity or service includes, but is not limited to, the following:
  • • A youth camp or program;
  • • A recreational camp or program;
  • • A sports or athletic program;
  • • An outreach program;
  • • An enrichment program;
  • • A troop, club or similar organization.

Although Mandated Reporter Training is not required for volunteers under the changes, it is recommended. Scheduled for release at the end of November 2014, free online Mandated Reporter Training will be available through The Pennsylvania Child Welfare Center at the University of Pittsburgh.

To learn more about mandated reporter training on recognizing and reporting suspected child abuse, contact the Department of Public Welfare online at contact DPW or by phone at 717-787-3984.

If you suspect child abuse or neglect, please call the PA Department of Public Welfare ChildLine to make a confidential report: 1-800-932-0313. Visit the PA ChildLine and Abuse Registry Website for more information.

Click HERE to see additional changes related to Mandated Reporters

A. Clarification of the situation under which a mandated reporter is required to make a report of suspected child abuse if the mandated reporter has reasonable cause to suspect that a child is a victim of child abuse under any of the following circumstances:

  • • The mandated reporter comes into contact with the child in the course of employment, occupation and practice of a profession or through a regularly scheduled program, activity or service;
  • • The mandated reporter is directly responsible for the care, supervision, guidance or training of the child, or is affiliated with an agency, institution, organization or other entity that is directly responsible for the care, supervision, guidance or training of the child;
  • • A person makes a specific disclosure to the mandated reporter that an identifiable child is the victim of child abuse;
  • • An individual 14 years of age or older makes a specific disclosure to the mandated reporter that the individual has committed child abuse.

B. Reports are to be made directly to ChildLine by Mandated Reporters.
C. A child is not required to come before the mandated reporter in order for the mandated reporter to make a report of suspected child abuse.
D. Staff members of institutions, etc. are now to report immediately and shall immediately thereafter notify the person in charge of the facility or the designated agent. Upon notification the person in charge or the designated agent shall facilitate the cooperation of the institution, school, facility or agency with the investigation of the report (this removes the chain of command and requires a direct report by the person who suspects).

Note: The mandated reporting requirement now extends beyond when someone is volunteering in an agency or organization. It means that if they fall into the category of being a mandated reporter by law, they continue to be a mandated reporter, even when not volunteering, when someone makes a disclosure based on bullets 3 and 4 above. This is a huge change because typically you are a mandated reporter when you are practicing your profession.

New Clearance Requirements for Volunteers Working with Children (Effective July 1, 2015)

There are new clearance requirements for volunteers responsible for the welfare of a child or having direct contact with children. The new clearance requirements go into effect July 1, 2015. From House Bill 435, amending Title 23 (Domestic Relations) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, signed by Governor Tom Corbett on October 22, 2014. (Bill Summary)

The Department of Public Welfare will be creating a special web page to assist volunteers who meet the new clearance requirements. The new online clearance tools are scheduled to be available starting July 1, 2015.

For questions related to the new clearance requirements for volunteers or the Pennsylvania Child Abuse History Clearance, please contact the DPW ChildLine Verification Unit at 717-783-6211 or 1-877-371-5422.

New clearance requirements if the volunteer has been a resident of PA continuously for the past 10 years:

1. Pennsylvania State Police Criminal Record Check ($10)
---Scheduled to be added to epatch online system by July 1, 2015
2. ChildLine (Pennsylvania Child Abuse History Clearance through the Department of Human Services) ($10)
---Scheduled to go online by July 1, 2015
3. Signed disclaimer affirming no charges in other states that would prohibit selection as a volunteer

New clearance requirements if the volunteer has NOT been a resident of PA continuously for the past 10 years:

1. Pennsylvania State Police Criminal Record Check ($10)
---Scheduled to be added to epatch online system by July 1, 2015
2. ChildLine (Pennsylvania Child Abuse History Clearance through the Department of Human Services) ($10)
---Scheduled to go online by July 1, 2015
3. FBI Criminal Background Check (fingerprint check) for federal criminal history records (Tentative $27.50 – it is anticipated that the fee for volunteers will likely be consistent with current DPW fees)
---Scheduled to be added to Cogent online registration/processing system by July 1, 2015

Downloadable PDF with FAQ and summary of new requirements for applicable volunteers:

Calculating the Value of Volunteer Time

According to Independent Sector, the estimated national value of volunteer time for 2013 is $22.55 per hour. For the state of Pennsylvania, the amount is $21.94 per hour.

Visit the Independent Sector Website for more information.