Background Checks for Prospective Foster, Adoptive, and Kinship Caregivers - Pennsylvania

Date:

Who Needs Records Checks

Citation: Cons. Stat. Ch. 23, § 6344

Background checks are required for the following individuals:

  • An employee of child care services
  • A foster parent
  • A prospective adoptive parent
  • A self-employed provider of child care services in a family child care home
  • An individual age 14 or older who is applying for or holding a paid position as an employee with a program, activity, or service, as a person responsible for the child's welfare or having direct, unsupervised contact with children
  • Any individual seeking to provide child care services under contract with a child care facility or program
  • An individual age 18 or older who resides in the home of a foster parent or prospective adoptive parent for at least 30 days in a calendar year
  • An individual age 18 or older who resides for at least 30 days in a calendar year in the following homes that are subject to supervision or licensure by the Department of Human Services:
    • A family living home
    • A community home for individuals with an intellectual disability
    • A host home for children

This paragraph does not include an individual with an intellectual disability or chronic psychiatric disability receiving services in a home.

Types of Records That Must Be Checked

Citation: Cons. Stat. Ch. 23, § 6344

Background checks shall include the following:

  • A report of criminal history record information from the State police or a statement from the State police that the State police central repository contains no such information relating to that person
  • A certification from the department as to whether the applicant is named in the statewide database as the alleged perpetrator in a pending child abuse investigation or as the perpetrator of a founded report or an indicated report
  • A report of Federal criminal history record information

If a foster or adoptive parent applicant, or any individual over 18 years of age residing in the home, has resided outside the State at any time within the previous 5-year period, the agency or person designated by the court shall require that person to submit a certification obtained within the previous 1-year period from the statewide central registry, or its equivalent, in each State in which the person has resided within the previous 5-year period.

Process for Obtaining Records Checks

Citation: Cons. Stat. Ch. 23, § 6344

Prior to the commencement of employment or service, an individual listed above shall be required to submit the required information to an employer, administrator, supervisor, or person responsible for making decisions about the placement of children.

The applicant shall submit a full set of fingerprints to the State police for the purpose of a records check, and the State police or its authorized agent shall submit the fingerprints to the Federal Bureau of Investigation for the purpose of verifying the identity of the applicant and obtaining a current record of any criminal arrests and convictions.

Grounds for Disqualification

Citation: Cons. Stat. Ch. 23, § 6344

A prospective foster parent or prospective adoptive parent may not be approved if the prospective parent or an individual age 18 or older who resides in the home for at least 30 days in a calendar year:

  • Is named in the statewide database as the perpetrator of a founded report committed within the 5-year period immediately preceding verification
  • Has been found guilty of an offense listed below

The application will not be approved if the applicant has been convicted of one or more of the following offenses or an equivalent crime under Federal law or the law of another State:

  • Criminal homicide
  • Aggravated assault
  • Stalking
  • Kidnapping
  • Unlawful restraint
  • Rape, statutory sexual assault, or involuntary deviate sexual intercourse
  • Sexual assault, indecent assault, or indecent exposure
  • Incest
  • Concealing the death of a child
  • Endangering the welfare of children
  • Dealing in infant children
  • Felony prostitution and related offenses
  • Obscene and other sexual materials and performances
  • Corruption of minors
  • Sexual abuse of children
  • The attempt, solicitation, or conspiracy to commit any of the offenses listed above

In no case shall an applicant be approved if the applicant's criminal history record information indicates the applicant has been convicted of a felony drug-related offense committed within the 5-year period immediately preceding the application.