200 Hillvue Lane, Pittsburgh, PA 15237

PHONE: 412-366-2100


Volunteer Clearances FAQ
 

 
What clearances will potential volunteers need to submit?
 
According to Act 153, as of July 1, 2015 the following clearances are required for school volunteers. Please click on the links below to go directly to the appropriate website.
 
Potential volunteers must present clearances/exception statement to a school or District representative. It is highly recommended that potential volunteers also bring an additional copy of their clearances as this will expedite the process, . Upon verifying the clearances/exception statement, the school or District representative will return one set of copies back to the individual and retain a copy of each clearance/exception statement. Please complete the VOLUNTEER CLEARANCES CHECKLIST and submit with your materials.
 
All schools and Central Administration will accept clearances during regular school hours. If the individual has been a continuous resident of Pennsylvania for the past 10 years, the following three items are needed:
  • Pennsylvania State Police Clearance
*If completing online, the Record Check Status Detail is NOT the actual clearance. Applicants must click on the words “Certification Form” on the middle of the screen in order to view and print the actual clearance certificate. The actual Criminal Record Check clearance should have the seal as a watermark on this form.
  • Pennsylvania Child Abuse History Clearance
  • Signed “Volunteer Clearance Exception” statement
 
If the individual has NOT been a continuous resident of Pennsylvania for the past 10 years, the following four items are needed:
  • Pennsylvania State Police Clearance
*If completing online, the Record Check Status Detail is NOT the actual clearance. Applicants must click on the words “Certification Form” on the middle of the screen in order to view and print the actual clearance certificate. The actual Criminal Record Check clearance should have the seal as a watermark on this form.
  • Pennsylvania Child Abuse History Clearance
  • Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) report-PDE
    • Click here to register online. After you register online, you will need to visit a Cogent fingerprint facility. The Cogent website includes a map noting where these facilities are located throughout Pennsylvania.
  • Signed “Volunteer Clearance Exception” statement

 
How much do the clearances cost?
 
Effective July 25, 2015, the cost of each of the clearances is:
  • Pennsylvania State Police Clearance for volunteers (free)
  • Pennsylvania Child Abuse History Clearance for volunteers (free)
  • Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) report – PDE ($27)

 
How long does it take to obtain my clearances?

The length of time it takes to receive your clearances is contingent upon the method you use to apply for the clearances. Applying online will typically result in a faster turnaround time. It is also important to note that all potential volunteers across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania will be applying for clearances as well. We encourage prospective volunteers to begin applying for their clearances as soon as possible.
 

 
How will volunteers submit their clearances?
 
Potential volunteers must present clearances/exception statement to a school or District representative. It is highly recommended that potential volunteers also bring an additional copy of their clearances as this will expedite the process, . Upon verifying the clearances/exception statement, the school or District representative will return one set of copies back to the individual and retain a copy of each clearance/exception statement. Please complete the VOLUNTEER CLEARANCES CHECKLIST and submit with your materials.
 
All schools and Central Administration will accept clearances during regular school hours.
 

 
What will the school/district do with my clearances once I submit them?
 
The school or District representative will document the clearance information in a shared database that can be accessed by all schools in the District. The database will include the names of approved volunteers as well as the expiration dates for each individual clearance. A copy of the clearances/exception forms will be maintained in the District for a period of five years at which point the clearances will be destroyed.
 

 
Can someone else submit my clearances for me?
 
Yes. Another individual is permitted to submit clearances on your behalf. They will need to follow the submission procedures noted earlier.
 

 
Do all volunteers have to submit clearances?
 
The North Allegheny School District defines volunteers in one of three ways. Independent and Assistive Volunteers are required to obtain and submit clearances prior to serving in a volunteer capacity, while Classroom Presentation Volunteers are not required to have clearances. The school and District administration will communicate the types of volunteers needed for each activity.
  
Independent Volunteers – Any volunteer who 1) works under the general direction and supervision of an adult employed by the District; and 2) provides direct services to students or may, from time to time, have or may be reasonably expected to have unsupervised contact with students. Examples of Independent Volunteers include, but are not limited to: volunteer tutors, classroom center volunteers and chaperones for field trips.

Assistive Volunteers – Any volunteer who 1) works directly under the supervision and direction of an adult employed by the District; and 2) does not provide direct services to students or have unsupervised contact with students. Examples of Assistive Volunteers include, but are not limited to: homeroom parents, individuals who assist with school activities and holiday parties.

Classroom Presentation Volunteers – Any individual who volunteers to present during a classroom lesson or school activity and is under the direct supervision of a classroom teacher or administrator during the entirety of the presentation. These volunteer opportunities are typically one-time events. Examples of Classroom Presentation Volunteers include, but are not limited to: Guest Speakers, Mystery Readers, TAG volunteers and College Admission Career Day volunteers. Elementary Field Day volunteers may fall into this category provided they are under the guidance of and directly observed by a classroom teacher or administrator throughout the event.
 

 
I have students in multiple school buildings; will I need to submit my clearances to each school?
 
No. Since there is only one NASD volunteer database that is shared among the buildings, you will only need to submit your clearances to one location.
  

 
Will volunteers receive ID cards once approved?
 
Special ID cards will not be distributed to approved volunteers. The names of approved volunteers will be kept in a shared database accessible to all buildings throughout the District. Volunteers will receive a name badge to wear once they are signed into the building office prior.
 

 
Will I be notified when my clearances are expiring?
 
Yes, the volunteer database will send an automatic reminder to individuals when their clearances are 90 days from expiring.
 

 
All of my clearances have different dates. What date(s) will the District use in determining an expiration date?
 
The expiration date for all clearances will be noted in the volunteer database. The District will use the oldest clearance to determine an official expiration date.

Scenario:
I have the following three clearances: PA Criminal-October 1, 2013, PA Child Abuse-January 15, 2014, FBI-November 20, 2014. All three dates will be noted in the volunteer database, but the expiration date for clearances will be September 30, 2018 (60 months or 5 years) from the date of the oldest clearance which is the PA Criminal). If I submit an updated PA Criminal clearance on September 10, 2018, my new expiration date will be January 14, 2019 (60 months or 5 years) from the date of the oldest clearances which is now the PA Child Abuse).
 

 
I already have my clearances. Will I need to get new ones?
 
Act 153/Act 15 stipulates that clearances are good for 60 months (5 years) from the effective date. You can submit your current clearances as long as they are less than five years old.
 

 
Who is responsible for accessing the database at the building level and how are the names of approved volunteers shared with the organizers of various activities?
 
Each building will identify specific employees who will have access to the approved volunteers database. If an event is planned that will require the use of volunteers, the organizer of the event will work with the secretary and/or principal to ensure that these volunteers have provided the appropriate clearances.
 

 
I want to volunteer but I can’t afford the cost of clearances. What should I do?
 
The District does not want the cost of the clearances to discourage someone from volunteering at a school. If you need support in covering these fees, please contact the NASD Office of K-12 Education at 412-369-5896. A date and time will be established where you can come to Central Administration and someone will work with you on applying and paying for the clearances.
 

 
What is Act 153/Act 15?
 
On October 22, 2014, House Bill 435 was signed into law becoming Act 153 of 2014. On July 1, 2015, Governor Wolf signed into law House Bill 1276, now known as Act 15 of 2015, which waives volunteer certification fees for state background checks and changed the renewal deadline for clearances. These PA laws applies to employees and unpaid volunteers who are “responsible for the welfare of a child or having direct contact with children.” The Child Protective Services Law (CPSL) defines “direct contact with children” as “The care, supervision, guidance or control of children or routine interaction with children.” While many community-based programs (e.g., Girl and Boy Scouts, youth sports programs) and religiously-affiliated organizations have long required background checks for volunteers, this law provides a specific directive on the timing and type of background checks now required. Individuals at North Allegheny are not permitted to serve as an independent or assistive volunteer unless they have submitted the appropriate clearances.
 

 
What should my clearances look like when I receive them?

Each of the links below shows you what a completed clearance should look like.
*If completing online, the Record Check Status Detail is NOT the actual clearance. Applicants must click on the words “Certification Form” on the middle of the screen in order to view and print the actual clearance certificate. The actual Criminal Record Check clearance should have the seal as a watermark on this form similar to the sample included here.
 

 
Are there any exceptions to the volunteer clearance requirements for students who volunteer?

Yes, students who volunteer are not required to obtain clearances as long as they meet all of the following requirement:
  • the individual is currently enrolled in school;
  • the individual is not a person responsible for the child’s welfare;
  • the individual is volunteering for an event that occurs on school grounds;
  • the event is sponsored by the school in which the individual is enrolled as a student; and
  • the event is not for children who are in the care of a child care service. 

 
What happens if I have recently moved here from another country and do not currently have a Social Security Number –can I still obtain clearances?
 
For the two state clearances (PA Child Abuse History Clearance and PA State Police Clearance) Social Security Numbers are optional, therefore a Social Security Number is not needed to complete these clearances. For the FBI clearance, in lieu of a Social Security Number, a Passport Number may be used instead. If the Passport Number contains letters, they should be omitted and then zeroes should be added to the Passport Number as necessary to reach the requirement of 9 digits. (ex. PAS123456 would be 123456000) 
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