Criminal Background Check Clearances Required Under Act 153 of 2014
Pennsylvania State Police Access to Criminal History (PATCH)
- Cost: Free*
- Sent: Electronically or mailed if record indicated
- Timeframe: Immediate to 6 weeks depending on response
Pennsylvania Department of Human Services Child Abuse History Clearance
- Cost: Free*
- Sent: Electronically and Mailed (if selected)
- Timeframe: Up to 14 days from receipt of application
- Cost: $21.35**
- Sent: Mailed
- Timeframe: 2-4 weeks
*A volunteer may only receive the PATCH and Child Abuse background checks free of charge once every 57 months and only upon online certification of volunteer (unpaid) status.
**A volunteer may obtain the FBI clearance at any IdentoGO site of their choosing and will be responsible for the costs associated with the clearance. Villanova University has established a process through its Department of Public Safety (an IdentoGO site since July 2018) wherein it will pre-pay for the clearance on behalf of the student volunteer. The instructions on how to obtain the FBI clearance through this process are below.
If you have lived outside the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in the last 10 years, you are required to complete all three criminal background checks. If you have been a continuous resident of Pennsylvania for the last 10 years, in lieu of the FBI Fingerprinting, you can complete a PA Resident-Volunteer Affirmation form which swears and affirms that you have: (1) been a PA resident for the last 10 years, (2) filed requests for PATCH and Child Abuse History Clearances, (3) have not been named as a perpetrator of a founded report of child abuse as defined by PA law and (4) have not been convicted of any crime that precludes you from volunteering.
Background check certifications are valid for 60 months from the date issued. The three criminal background checks obtained as a volunteer can be used at Villanova and other volunteer organizations provided they are valid. Similarly, background checks obtained for employment purposes can be used for volunteer positions.
The reverse however, is not true. The law does not allow criminal background checks obtained as a volunteer to be used for employment purposes.
In addition to the background check clearances, please note that volunteers must also meet education and training requirements in order to participate in programs and activities involving minors. Please review the Education section of this website to learn in greater detail about the education and training requirements.