DHS’ Enhanced Background Checks Began in January 2015
Harrisburg, PA – The Department of Human Services (DHS) today announced that the enhanced background checks process conducted for individuals who have jobs that involve caring for children have found 1,605 applicants that had a prior report of substantiated child abuse in the Pennsylvania child abuse registry since the checks began in January 2015. Seventeen of those individuals met the definition of a “prohibitive hire” under the law and were barred from employment in the job they were seeking.
This number of applicants identified through the enhanced background checks process is significantly higher than 2014’s 1,118 named perpetrators for prior substantiated child abuse.
Individuals with prior reports found in the Pennsylvania child abuse registry have their reports passed to the potential employer, where they make the final decision to offer employment. A prohibitive hire is defined as an individual with a founded report of child abuse within the prior five years before receiving the child abuse certification application. People considered prohibitive hires are not eligible for employment.
“Keeping children safe is a critical part of our mission,” said Secretary Ted Dallas. “These results show that the child abuse history clearance process is doing what it was meant to: denying perpetrators from employment where they could potentially put a child danger.”
In 2014, Act 153 was passed to require certain individuals working or volunteering with children to obtain child abuse clearances. This law was part of 24 laws enacted changing how Pennsylvania responds to child abuse.
In order to work or volunteer with children, certain individuals are required to obtain a child abuse clearance, Pennsylvania State Police criminal record check, and in some cases a Federal Bureau of Investigation criminal background check.
The following individuals need child abuse clearances:
· Employees having contact with children
· Foster/adoptive parents
· School employees
“Successfully protecting Pennsylvania’s children from abuse and neglect only happens when we all work together,” said Secretary Dallas. “I would especially like to thank the many members of the General Assembly who worked to enact these new laws. We wouldn’t be able to make this announcement today without their help.”
MEDIA CONTACT: Rachel Kostelac, 717-425-7606