HARRISBURG – The Senate approved legislation today that would ensure child services employees and volunteers who are unable to complete the necessary FBI criminal background checks can still work safely during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman (R-34), who supported the bill.
Under current law, individuals who work in close proximity to children – including employees of child care services, foster parents and employees of family child care homes – are required to complete FBI background checks that are recertified every five years as a condition of employment. The coronavirus public health emergency has made it difficult for many of these individuals to obtain the necessary documentation to work.
House Bill 360 would extend the amount of time employees and volunteers have to recertify background checks until December 31. The provision is retroactive to March 6 to help all employees and volunteers whose certification expired after the onset of the pandemic.
Initial applicants who cannot obtain an FBI background check would temporarily have to meet different certification criteria to begin work on a provisional basis, including submitting a Pennsylvania State Police background check and Childline clearances before beginning employment.
Individuals who start working in a child daycare center or other group setting would also be required to obtain an FBI background check by December 31 or 60 days after the end of the emergency declaration, whichever is sooner.
The legislation was amended in the Senate and was sent back to the House of Representatives for consideration.
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