In order to serve as a volunteer with Communities In Schools of the Lehigh Valley, there are three clearances that must be obtained: a Pennsylvania Child Abuse History Clearance (Act 151), a Pennsylvania Criminal Record Check (Act 34), and an unofficial copy of the FBI Federal Criminal History Check (Act 114). Submitted clearances must be less than one year old.
Pennsylvania Criminal Record Check (Act 34)
The Pennsylvania Criminal Record Check can be done either online or by mail. The online results are available almost immediately, while if you choose to mail the form, it could take up to 8 weeks for the results to be returned to you. To complete the process online, go to https://epatch.state.pa.us and click on “Submit a New Record Check” and follow the instructions. Normally, a credit card is required for the processing fee of $10.00, but this fee is waived for volunteers. At the end of the process, you will need to print the certification form. If you choose the mail-in process, you must submit the completed form and the results will be mailed to your home.
Pennsylvania Child Abuse History Clearance (Act 151)
The Child Abuse History Clearance can be completed either online or by mail.
- As of Dec. 31, 2014, requests for clearance statements (now called “certifications”) may be made online at https://www.compass.state.pa.us/CWIS at a cost of $10. This fee is waived for volunteers.
- The mail in form must be completed and mailed with a money order for $10.00 made payable to the Department of Public Welfare http://www.dpw.state.pa.us/ucmprd/groups/webcontent/documents/form/s_001762.pdf. Check the box marked “Volunteers” as the reason for the request. Do not send cash or a personal check. This clearance takes approximately 5 – 10 weeks and the results are mailed to your home.
FBI Federal Criminal History Check (Act 114)
The Federal Criminal History Record requires individuals to have fingerprints done digitally at a registered fingerprinting site. You must first register for the process. This can be done either online at www.pa.cogentid.com and selecting the Pennsylvania Department of Education button or by phone at 1-888-439-2486 (M-F, 8A-6P) prior to going to the fingerprinting site. There is a $28.75 fee for this clearance. There is an optional $2.50 charge to receive an unofficial copy mailed to your home. Please choose this option as a copy of it must be handed into the Communities In Schools office for our records. Payment may be made online at the time of registration using a debit or credit card. Payment may also be made with a Money Order or Cashiers Check at the fingerprint location. Money Orders and Cashiers Checks must be made out to COGENT SYSTEMS. NO CASH, PERSONAL CHECKS and NO ELECTRONIC PAYMENTS for background checks will be accepted at the fingerprint sites. Once you have registered, proceed to an approved fingerprinting site to be digitally fingerprinted. A list of approved locations is available on the Cogent website.
Original clearances should be returned to the Communities In Schools office at 1501 Lehigh Street, Suite 206 in Allentown. If you have any questions or need assistance please contact the Communities In Schools office at 484-834-8830.