General

Why do I need to create a Child Welfare Account (CWA)?

If you wish to submit a child abuse referral or apply for a PA Child Abuse History Clearance online you are required to first create a Child Welfare Account (CWA). Creation of an account allows you to access, view, and print previously saved or submitted referrals, clearance applications, and clearance outcomes including the clearance certificate. Additionally, if you are an organization and have a Business Partner Account, you are able to pay for clearances and generate payment codes for clearance applicants to use when submitting this online clearance application.

What is a Business Partner Account? Who is this account used for?

The Business Partner Account is used by organizations that require employees or volunteers to receive a Pennsylvania Child Abuse History Clearance. A Business Partner Account allows approved representatives of organizations to generate payment codes to be used to cover the fee of a Pennsylvania Child Abuse History Clearance application for its employees or volunteers. The organization representative will then have access to view the outcome of clearance applications submitted with organization’s payment codes.

How do I update my account information?

Business User and Citizen User: To update your account information, first, log in to your account. Next, click "Account Profile" located at the top right hand corner of the screen. You will be redirected to your Keystone ID Account. Under "Change My Profile" you may update your email, password, and your security questions. If you update your email address please be aware that any communications regarding previously submitted clearance applications or abuse referrals will be sent to the email address provided in your clearance application or abuse referral at the time of submission.

Please Note:
Users may not change or update their first name, last name, User ID, or date of birth. If your name has recently changed and you wish to make this update, you are required to create a new account. If a new account is required, citizen users may use the same email address registered with their previous account. Business users must create a new account using a new email address.

Having trouble logging in?

Forgot your password?

Business User: If you forgot your password you will need to create a new one. To create a new password, click the "Forgot Password" link located on the Log In screen. Next, enter your User ID and click "OK." Then enter your First Name and Last Name. If your user information is found, you will then be prompted to answer your "Password Hints." Click "OK." If your answers are correct, you will be prompted to enter and confirm a new password. Upon entering a valid password and clicking "Submit", you will receive a password change confirmation displayed on the screen. You may now log in using your new password on the Log In screen.

Citizen User: If you forgot your password you will need to create a new one. To create a new password, first, click the "Forgot Password" link located on the Log In screen. Next, enter your First Name, Last Name, and your User ID. If your user information is found, you will then be prompted to answer two of your three security questions. If your answers are correct, you will be prompted to enter and confirm a new password. Upon entering a valid password and clicking "Submit", you will receive a password change confirmation displayed on the screen. You may now log in using your new password on the Log In screen.

Forgot your User ID?

Business User: : If you forgot your User ID, click the "Forgot Userid" link located on the Log In screen. Next, enter your First Name, Last Name, and the email address associated to your account. Click "OK." An email will be sent to your registered email account with your User ID.

Citizen User: Citizen users may not re-set nor recover their User ID. If you forgot your User ID please refer to the email titled "Commonwealth of Pennsylvania – New Account Information" that was sent to you upon account creation. Your User ID is located here.

Please Note: If you no longer have this information you must create a new account. If a new account is required, citizen users may use the same email address registered with their previous account.

If you continue experiencing issues logging in to your account we are here to help. Please contact the CWIS Support Center at 1-877-343-0494.

How do I change my security questions?

Business User and Citizen User: To update or change your security questions, first, log in to your account. Next, click "Account Profile" located at the top right hand corner of the screen. You will be redirected to your Keystone ID Account. Under "Change My Profile", click "Change Security Questions" from the list of displayed tasks. The "Change Security Questions: Profile" screen displays. Here you may update and / or change your questions and answers. Upon clicking "Submit" you will receive a confirmation message displayed on the screen.

How secure is this website?

As part of our continuing commitment to the security of electronic content as well as the electronic transmission of information, the Commonwealth has taken steps to safeguard the submission of information by implementing detailed technology and security policies, which can be viewed at the Office of Administration, Office for Information Technology website. Security measures have been integrated into the design, implementation and day-to-day operations of the entire operating environment.

In certain instances, you may receive or create a password to access or submit personal information. You should not divulge your password to anyone. The Commonwealth will never ask you for your password in an unsolicited phone call or e-mail. When you are finished with sites that are password protected, you should exit the page.

What are my computer requirements to use this website?

The Child Welfare Portal supports the following desktop browsers.

Internet Explorer (Internal / External)
Version             Internal: 9
            External: 11
How to enable pop-up windows?
  • Click "Start", click "Run", type "inetcpl.cpl", and then click "OK" to open the Internet Properties dialog box. Alternatively, open Internet Explorer, and then click "Internet Options" on the "Tools" menu to open the "Internet Properties" dialog box.
  • Click the "Privacy" tab, and then do either of the following:
    • Click to clear Block pop-ups to turn Pop-up Blocker off.
How to block or allow cookies?
  • Open Internet Explorer by clicking the "Start" button. In the search box, type "Internet Explorer", and then, in the list of results, click "Internet Explorer."
  • Click the "Tools" button, and then click "Internet Options."
  • Click the "Privacy" tab, and then move the slider to a position between the top and bottom so you are not blocking or allowing all cookies.
  • Click "Sites."
  • In the "Address of website" box, type the Child Welfare Portal website address, and then click "Block" or "Allow."
How to enable JavaScript?
  • In the Tools drop-down menu, select "Internet Options."
  • Next, select the "Security" tab.
  • Then, select the "Internet icon."
  • Then select the "Custom Level" button.
  • Locate Scripting near the bottom of the list.
  • Under Active Scripting, select "Enable", then hit "OK."
  • Answer yes to the following confirmation box.
  • Hit "OK" to close the Internet Options window.
Safari (External)
Version            5.x
How to enable pop-up windows?
  • Choose "Safari > Preferences", and then click "Security."
  • Unclick "Block pop-up windows."
How to enable cookies?
  • Choose "Safari > Preferences" and then click "Privacy."
  • In the "Block cookies" section, specify if and when Safari should accept cookies from websites.
How to enable JavaScript?
  • In the Edit drop-down menu at the top of the window, select "Preferences."
  • Select the "Security icon/tab" at the top on the window.
  • Then, check the "Enable JavaScript" checkbox.
  • Close the window to save your changes.
Chrome (External)
Version            Up to 29.x
How to enable pop-up windows?
  • Click the Chrome menu on the browser toolbar.
  • Select "Settings."
  • Click "Show advanced settings."
  • In the Privacy section, click the "Content settings" button.
  • In the Pop-ups section, select "Allow all sites to show pop-ups."
How to enable cookies?
  • Click the Chrome menu icon.
  • Select "Settings."
  • Near the bottom of the page, click "Show advanced settings."
  • In the "Privacy" section, click "Content settings."
  • Enable or disable cookies:
    • To enable cookies, select Allow local data to be set (recommended).
    • To disable cookies, select Block sites from setting any data.
  • Click Done to save.
How to enable cookies?
  • Click the Chrome menu icon.
  • From the drop-down menu, select "Settings."
  • At the bottom of the page, click "Show advanced settings."
  • Under Privacy, select the "Content settings" button.
  • Under the JavaScript heading, select the "Allow all sites to run JavaScript" radio button.
Firefox
Version            10 - 23
How to enable pop-up windows?
  • Open the Tools menu and click "Options."
  • Click on the Web Features icon in the list on the left.
  • Remove the Check mark beside the Block Pop-up windows option.
  • Click Ok to close the window.
How to enable cookies?
  • Click the menu button and choose Options.
  • Select the "Privacy" panel.
  • Set "Firefox will: to Use custom settings for history."
  • Check mark "Accept cookies from sites" to enable Cookies.
  • Choose how long cookies are allowed to be stored.
  • Click OK to close the Options window.
  • Refresh your browser.
How to enable JavaScript?
  • Go to the Firefox menu and select "Preferences."
  • Click on the "Content" tab.
  • Select "Enable Java."
  • Close the window.
  • Refresh your browser.

If you are not using one of these browsers to interact with our website, please download a new browser from any of the sites below. If you elect not to upgrade your desktop browser, your experience may not be optimal, or you may not be able to use certain tools on our website. In addition, we recommend that you enable JavaScript for an optimal experience.



Child Abuse Referrals

What is Pennsylvania's definition of child abuse?

  1. Child Abuse is defined under the Pennsylvania Child Protective Services Law (CPSL), Section 6303 as: "intentionally, knowingly or recklessly doing any of the following:
    1. Causing bodily injury to a child through any recent act or failure to act.
    2. Fabricating, feigning or intentionally exaggerating or inducing a medical symptom or disease which results in a potentially harmful medical evaluation or treatment to the child through any recent act.
    3. Causing or substantially contributing to serious mental injury to a child through any act or failure to act or a series of such acts or failures to act.
    4. Causing sexual abuse or exploitation of a child through any act or failure to act.
    5. Creating a reasonable likelihood of bodily injury to a child through any recent act or failure to act.
    6. Creating a likelihood of sexual abuse or exploitation of a child through any recent act or failure to act.
    7. Causing serious physical neglect of a child.
    8. Engaging in any of the following recent acts:
      1. Kicking, biting, throwing, burning, stabbing or cutting a child in a manner that endangers the child.
      2. Unreasonably restraining or confining a child, based on consideration of the method, location or the duration of the restraint or confinement.
      3. Forcefully shaking a child under one year of age.
      4. Forcefully slapping or otherwise striking a child under one year of age.
      5. Interfering with the breathing of a child.
      6. Causing a child to be present at a location while a violation of 18 Pa.C.S. § 7508.2 (relating to operation of methamphetamine laboratory) is occurring, provided that the violation is being investigated by law enforcement.
      7. Leaving a child unsupervised with an individual, other than the child's parent, who the actor knows or reasonably should have known:
        1. Is required to register as a Tier II or Tier III sexual offender under 42 Pa.C.S. Ch. 97 Subch. H (relating to registration of sexual offenders), where the victim of the sexual offense was under 18 years of age when the crime was committed.
        2. Has been determined to be a sexually violent predator under 42 Pa.C.S. § 9799.24 (relating to assessments) or any of its predecessors.
        3. Has been determined to be a sexually violent delinquent child as defined in 42 Pa.C.S. § 9799.12 (relating to definitions).
    9. Causing bodily injury to a child through any recent act or failure to act.
  2. Restatement of culpability.-Conduct that causes injury or harm to a child or creates a risk of injury or harm to a child shall not be considered child abuse if there is no evidence that the person acted intentionally, knowingly or recklessly when causing the injury or harm to the child or creating a risk of injury or harm to the child.
  3. Child abuse exclusions.--The term "child abuse" does not include any conduct for which an exclusion is provided in section 6304 (relating to exclusions from child abuse)."
  4. To view the full CPSL go to
    http://www.legis.state.pa.us/CFDOCS/LEGIS/LI/consCheck.cfm?txtType=HTM&ttl=23&div=00.&chpt=063.&CFID=224154444&CFTOKEN=11851291

Who can report child abuse in Pennsylvania?

Pennsylvania has two types of reporters of child abuse: those who are encouraged to report (permissive reporters), and those who MUST report (mandated reporters). Only suspicion, not proof, is needed when making the report. A report should be made when a person has reasonable cause to suspect that a child is a victim of child abuse. Please note: While a person is allowed to make a report of suspected child abuse anonymously, we encourage individuals to give their name and contact information in the event that the investigating agencies need additional information relating to locating the child or about the situation. Anonymous and permissive reports must call the state’s child abuse hotline: ChildLine, 1-800-932-0313, to give their report over the telephone. Anonymous or permissive reports of suspected child abuse cannot be made using the online Internet reporting system at this time. Mandated reporters may report electronically by using this website (the Child Welfare Portal).

Can I add or edit information for an abuse referral that I already submitted?

To add or edit information on a referral that you have already submitted, please contact ChildLine at 1-800-932-0313 to speak with a trained ChildLine Caseworker. Please note that updates to submitted child abuse referrals will not be visible from the Child Welfare Portal (the online Internet reporting system).

When should I call ChildLine?

You should call ChildLine:

  • If you are NOT a mandated reporter;
  • You prefer to remain anonymous;
  • If you do not have the necessary information to complete a referral on the Child Welfare Portal (the online Internet reporting system); or
  • The suspected abuse and/or neglect you are reporting occurred outside the state of Pennsylvania.

What should I expect when I call ChildLine? What information should I have ready?

ChildLine is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to receive referrals of suspected child abuse. Each call is answered by a trained ChildLine Caseworker who will interview the caller to determine the most appropriate course of action. A caller should have any information available to them ready to give to the caseworker. Callers will be asked to provide the following types of information:

  • Basic contact information;
  • Names, contact information and locations of parties involved in the alleged incident(s);
  • Details about the alleged abuse and resulting actions;
  • When and where the alleged abuse occurred.

How do I know if ChildLine received my information when I submitted my report online?

After you click the "Submit Referral" button on the final page of the online reporting system, a submission confirmation will display on the screen indicating that your referral has been successfully submitted. You will also receive an email confirming successful transmission of the referral to ChildLine. If you do not receive a confirmation email after submitting a child abuse referral, please contact ChildLine at 1-800-932-0313. Only mandated reporters can use this website (the Child Welfare Portal) to submit a child abuse referral.

Will my identity be disclosed if I report suspected child abuse?

The law only allows the reporting source’s name and contact information to be provided to the investigating agencies (the Department, county CYS, police and other agencies cooperating in a subsequent investigation as per the CPSL) when a report of suspected child abuse is made. Those agencies cooperating in the investigation are prohibited by law to release information that would identify the person who made the report of suspected child abuse or who cooperated in a subsequent investigation.

What is the definition of a GPS Referral?

A referral is a General Protective Services (GPS) Referral is when the referral in question does not meet the criteria of suspected Child Abuse, as defined by the PA Child Protective Services Law. GPS Referrals are provided to the appropriate County Agency, who will in turn screen the referral to determine if an assessment of the situation is needed. In some cases, services may be offered to the child and family.

What is the definition of a CPS Referral?

A referral is a Registered/CPS referral when the allegations are determined to meet the criteria of suspected Child Abuse, as defined by the PA Child Protective Services Law. CPS referrals are investigated by the appropriate County or Regional Office, who will in turn render a decision as to the appropriate status of the referral.

Can I find out the result of a report I submitted?

If you are a mandated reporter and your report is determined to be a CPS, you will receive a letter notifying you the result of the investigation. You may contact the Children and Youth Agency for the county where the abuse occurred for further information.

Can I submit a referral anonymously?

A referral can only be submitted anonymously by calling ChildLine at 1-800-932-0313. Submitting referrals through the Child Welfare Portal requires the mandated reporter to create an account using their first and last names.

If I don't have all of the required information to complete a referral on the Child Welfare Portal, what should I do?

If you do not have the necessary information to complete a referral on the Child Welfare Portal please contact a trained ChildLine Caseworker at 1-800-932-0313. ChildLine is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to receive referrals of suspected child abuse.

How long will my referral be available in the system if I submit the referral online?

A child abuse referral that has been submitted online will be available in your Child Welfare Account for six months from the date of submission.

Who will review the report I submitted online?

Each referral is evaluated at ChildLine by a trained caseworker who will determine the most appropriate course of action. These actions include forwarding a report to a county agency for investigation as child abuse or a general protective services referral, or forwarding the referral to the appropriate law enforcement official(s).

Who is a Mandated Reporter?

Mandated Reporters are defined under the Pennsylvania Child Protective Services Law (CPSL), Section 6311. Persons required to report suspected child abuse:

  1. Mandated Reporters – The following adults shall make a report of suspected child abuse, subject to subsection (B), if the person has reasonable cause to suspect that a child is a victim of child abuse:
    1. A person licensed or certified to practice in any health-related field under the jurisdiction of the Department of State,
    2. A medical examiner, coroner or funeral director,
    3. An employee of a health care facility or provider licensed by the Department of Health, who is engaged in the admission, examination, care or treatment of individuals,
    4. A school employee,
    5. An employee of a child care service, who has direct contact with the children in the course of employment,
    6. A clergyman, priest, rabbi, minister, Christian science practitioner, religious healer or spiritual leader of any regularly established church or other religious organization,
    7. An individual paid or unpaid, who, on the basis of the individual’s role as an integral part of a regularly scheduled program, activity or service, is a person responsible for the child’s welfare or has direct contact with children,
    8. An employee of a social services agency, who has direct contact with children in the course of employment,
    9. A peace officer or law enforcement official,
    10. An emergency medical services provider certified by the Department of Health,
    11. An employee of a public library, who has direct contact with children in the course of employment,
    12. An individual supervised or managed by a person listed under paragraphs (1), (2), (3), (4), (5), (6), (7), (8), (9), (10), (11), (13) who has direct contact with children in the course of employment,
    13. An independent contractor,
    14. An attorney affiliated with an agency, institution, organization or other entity, including a school or regularly established religious organization that is responsible for the care, supervision, guidance, or control of children,
    15. A foster parent,
    16. An adult family member who is a person responsible for the child's welfare and provides services to a child in a family living home, community home for individuals with an intellectual disability or host home for children which are subject to supervision or licensure by the department under Articles IX and X of the act of June 13, 1967 (P.L.31, No.21), known as the Public Welfare Code.
  2. Basis to Report. –
    1. A mandated reporter enumerated in subsection (A) shall make a report of suspected child abuse or cause a report to be made in accordance with Section 6313 (relating to reporting procedure), if the mandated reporter has reasonable cause to suspect that a child is a victim of child abuse under any of the following circumstances:
      1. The mandated reporter comes into contact with the child in the course of employment, occupation and practice of a profession or through a regularly scheduled program, activity of service,
      2. The mandated reporter is directly responsible for the care, supervision, guidance or training of the child, or is affiliated with an agency, institution, organization, school, regularly established church or religious organization, or there entity that is directly responsible for the care, supervision, guidance or training of the child,
      3. A person makes a specific disclosure to the mandated reporter that an identifiable child is the victim of child abuse,
      4. An individual 14 years of age or older makes a specific disclosure to the mandated reporter that the individual has committed child abuse.
    2. Nothing in this section shall require a child to come before the mandated reporter in order for the mandated reporter to make a report of suspected child abuse,
    3. Nothing in this section shall require the mandated reporter to identify the person responsible for the child abuse to make a report of suspected child abuse.
  3. Staff members of institutions, etc.-

      Whenever a person is required to report under subsection (B) in the capacity as a member of the staff of a medical or other public or private institution, school, facility or agency, that person shall report immediately in accordance with section 6313 and shall immediately thereafter notify the person in charge of the institution, school, facility or agency or the designated agent of the person in charge. Upon notification, the person in charge or the designated agent, if any, shall Facilitate the cooperation of the institution, school, and facility or agency with the investigation of the report. Any Intimidation, retaliation or obstruction in the investigation of the report is subject to the provisions of 18 Pa.C.S. § 4958 (relating to intimidation, retaliation or obstruction in child abuse cases). This chapter does not require more than one report from any such institution, school, facility or agency.

  4. To view the full CPSL, click here.

What are the penalties for failing to report suspected child abuse as a mandated reporter?

FAILURE TO REPORT PENALTIES

Child Protective Services Law (CPSL), Section 6319. Penalties:

  1. Failure to report or refer –
    1. A person or official required by this chapter to report a case of suspected child abuse or to make a referral to the appropriate authorities commits an offense if the person or official willfully fails to do so.
    2. An offense under this section is a felony of the third degree if:
      1. The person or official willfully fails to report;
      2. The child abuse constitutes a felony of the first degree or higher; and
      3. The person or official has direct knowledge of the nature of the abuse.
    3. An offense not otherwise specified in paragraph (2) is a misdemeanor of the second degree.
    4. A report of suspected child abuse to law enforcement or the appropriate county agency by a mandated reporter, made, in lieu of a report to the department, shall not constitute an offense under this subsection, provided that the report was made in a good faith report to comply with the requirements of this chapter
  2. Continuing course of action. – If a person’s willful failure under subsection (A) continues while the person knows or has reasonable cause to believe the child is actively being subjected to child abuse, the person commits a misdemeanor of the first degree except that if the child abuse constitutes a felony of the first degree or higher, the person commits a felony of the third degree.
  3. Multiple offenses. – A person who commits a second or subsequent offense under subsection (A) commits a felony of the third degree, except that if the child abuse constitutes a felony of the first degree or higher, the penalty for the second or subsequent offenses is a felony of the second degree.
  4. Statute of limitations. – The statute of limitations for an offense under subsection (A) shall be either the statute of limitation for the crime committed against the minor child or five years, whichever is greater.

To view the full CPSL, go to:
http://www.legis.state.pa.us/CFDOCS/LEGIS/LI/consCheck.cfm?txtType=HTM&ttl=23&div=00.&chpt=063.&CFID=224154444&CFTOKEN=11851291

What is Good Faith Protection?

GOOD FAITH PROTECTION

Under the Pennsylvania Child Protective Services Law (CPSL), Section 6318 Immunity from liability:

Presumption of good faith.--For the purpose of any civil or criminal proceeding, the good faith of a person required to report pursuant to section 6311 (relating to persons required to report suspected child abuse) and of any person required to make a referral to law enforcement officers under this chapter shall be presumed.

To view the full CPSL, go to:
http://www.legis.state.pa.us/CFDOCS/LEGIS/LI/consCheck.cfm?txtType=HTM&ttl=23&div=00.&chpt=063.&CFID=224154444&CFTOKEN=11851291

What are the penalties for making a false report?

FALSE REPORTING PENALTIES
Title 18 of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, Section 3. § 4906.1. False reports of child abuse. A person commits a misdemeanor of the second degree if the person intentionally or knowingly makes a false report of child abuse under 23 PA.C.S. CH. 63 (relating to child protective services) or intentionally or knowingly induces a child to make a false claim of child abuse under 23 PA.C.S. CH. 63.

I have additional documentation that might help the investigation, what do I do with it?

You may contact the Children and Youth Agency in the county where the abuse occurred to provide any further information or documentation. Furthermore, the Child Protective Services Law (CPSL), Chapter 6314 provides the following clarification regarding Photographs, medical tests and X-rays of child subject to report: "A person or official required to report cases of suspected child abuse may take or cause to be taken photographs of the child who is subject to a report and, if clinically indicated, cause to be performed a radiological examination and other medical tests on the child. Medical summaries or reports of the photographs, X-rays and relevant medical tests taken shall be sent to the county agency at the time the written report is sent or within 48 hours after a report is made by electronic technologies or as soon thereafter as possible. The county agency shall have access to actual photographs or duplicates and X-rays and may obtain them or duplicates of them upon request. Medical summaries or reports of the photographs, X-rays and relevant medical tests shall be made available to law enforcement officials in the course of investigating cases pursuant to section 6340(a)(9) or (10) (relating to release of information in confidential reports)."

Does HIPPA limit the information I can provide when reporting suspected abuse or neglect?

HIPPA does speak to the release of information when reporting child abuse or neglect. Covered entities may disclose protected health information to report known or suspected child abuse or neglect, if the report is made to a public health authority or other appropriate government authority that is authorized by law to receive such reports. ChildLine is a government authority that is authorized by law to receive such reports. See 45 CFR 164.512(b)(1)(ii).
Furthermore, the Child Protective Services Law (CPSL) section 6311.1 states the following regarding privileged communications:

  1. General rule.--Subject to subsection (b), the privileged communications between a mandated reporter and a patient or client of the mandated reporter shall not:
    1. Apply to a situation involving child abuse.
    2. Relieve the mandated reporter of the duty to make a report of suspected child abuse.
  2. Confidential communications.--The following protections shall apply:
    1. Confidential communications made to a member of the clergy are protected under 42 Pa.C.S. § 5943 (relating to confidential communications to clergymen).
    2. Confidential communications made to an attorney are protected so long as they are within the scope of 42 Pa.C.S. §§ 5916 (relating to confidential communications to attorney) and 5928 (relating to confidential communications to attorney), the attorney work product doctrine or the rules of professional conduct for attorneys.

Completing a Child Abuse Referral?

Learn More about submitting a PA Child Abuse Referral through the Child Welfare Portal by clicking here: https://www.compass.state.pa.us/cwis/public/home



Clearance Application

Why do I need a Pennsylvania Child Abuse History Clearance?

Title, Pa. C.S. Chapter 63 (relating to the Child Protective Services Law) requires the following people to obtain a Child Abuse Clearance in order to work and/or provide services to children:

For more detailed definitions and exceptions to clearance requirements please see the Who Needs Child Abuse Clearances at http://keepkidssafe.pa.gov/clearances/index.htm

  • Volunteer Having Contact with Children: Applying for the purpose of volunteering as an adult for an unpaid position as a volunteer with a child-care service, a school or a program, activity or service, as a person responsible for the child's welfare or having direct volunteer contact with children.
  • Foster Parent: Applying for purposes of providing foster care.
  • Prospective Adoptive Parent: Applying for the purpose of adoption.
  • Employee of Child Care Services: Applying for the purposes of child-care services in the following: Child day-care centers; group day-care homes; family child-care homes; boarding homes for children; juvenile detention center services or programs for delinquent or dependent children; mental health services for children; services for children with intellectual disabilities; early intervention services for children; drug and alcohol services for children; and day-care services or other programs that are offered by a school.
  • School Employee Governed by Public School Code : Applying as a school employee who is required to obtain background checks pursuant to Section 111 of the Public School Code.
  • School Employee Not Governed by Public School Code: Applying as a school employee not governed by Section 111 of the Public School Code.
  • Self-employed provider of child-care services in a family child-care home - Applying for the purpose of providing child-care services in one's home (other than the child's own home) at any one time to four, five or six children who are not relatives of the caregiver.
  • Individual 14 years of age 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 contact with children: Applying as an employee who is responsible for the child's welfare or having direct contact (providing care, supervision, guidance or control to children or having routine interaction with children) in any of the following in which children participate and which is sponsored by a school or a public or private organization:
    • A youth camp or program;
    • A recreational camp or program;
    • A sports or athletic program;
    • A community or social outreach program;
    • An enrichment or educational program; and
    • A troop, club or similar organization
  • Individual seeking to provide child-care services under contract with a child-care facility or program: Applying for the purpose of being able to provide child-care services as part of a contract or grant funded program.
  • Individual 18 years or older who resides in the home of a prospective adoptive parent for at least 30 days in a calendar year.
  • Individual 18 years or older who resides in the home of a foster parent for at least 30 days in a calendar year.
  • Individual 18 years or older who resides in the home of a certified or licensed child-care provider for at least 30 days in a calendar year.
  • Individual 18 years or older, excluding individuals receiving services, who resides in one of the following homes for at least 30 days in a calendar year:
    • Family living home
    • Community home for individuals with an intellectual disability
    • Host home for children
  • PA Department of Human Services Employment and Training Program Participant: Applying for the purpose of participating in a PA Department of Human Service Employment and Training Program through a county assistance office (CAO) or the Office of Income Maintenance (OIM).

How long does it take to receive a Pennsylvania Child Abuse History Clearance?

By law, all child abuse history clearance applications must be processed no later than 14 days from the receipt of the application (CY 113 form).

How do I know if the ChildLine Background Check Unit received my information?

Upon creating a Pennsylvania Child Abuse History Clearance and clicking "Submit" a submission confirmation will display on the screen indicating that your clearance application has been successfully submitted. You will also receive an email confirming successful transmission of your application to ChildLine. If you do not receive a confirmation email on the day that you submitted the clearance application, please contact the CWIS Support Center at 1-877-343-0494.

How do I obtain a copy of my clearance certificate?

You may obtain a copy of your Pennsylvania Child Abuse History Clearance in two ways. First, when filling out your online application you can indicate that you would like to receive a paper copy of your application on the "Current Address" screen. Otherwise, to obtain a copy of your clearance certificate you may log in to your Child Welfare Account and go to the "PA Child Abuse History Clearance Account" screen. Here you may view submitted and / or processed applications. All processed applications are available to view and print five years or 60 months from the date of when the application was submitted to ChildLine.

It's been over 14 days, why haven’t I received my Pennsylvania Child Abuse History Clearance results?

If an application was mailed via the post office, please allow for mailing days through the post office. In other words, it may take 2 – 3 business days to reach our office from the time you mailed it to us. It may also take 2 – 3 business days from the date we mailed the results to the applicant.

If you used the online system to submit your application, you will still need to allow for the 14 days plus the 2-3 business days for the results to be mailed to you.

If you have allowed for the mailing days noted above AND it has been over 14 days since you mailed the application to our office and you have not received the results, please call 1-877-371-5422 to speak with a representative who will assist you.

Note: Even if an application is rejected and returned, we will still process the rejected application and mail the results to you no later than 14 days from the receipt of the application.

I am applying for a Pennsylvania Child Abuse History Clearance for non-volunteer purposes. Is payment required?

Non-volunteer applicants will be charged a fee of $8.00 for applying for a Pennsylvania Child Abuse History Clearance. Non-volunteer applicants submitting an application online must pay using either a credit/debit card or an authorization code. An authorization code is a code given to an employee of an organization who requires individuals to receive a PA Child Abuse History Clearance.

I am applying for a Pennsylvania Child Abuse History Certification to be used for volunteer purposes. Is payment required?

Volunteer applicants are eligible to receive one Pennsylvania Child Abuse History Certification free of charge every 57 months. To be eligible for free-of-charge certification, an applicant must meet the following criteria:

  • The applicant must not have received a background certification free of charge within the previous 57 months;
  • The background certification is necessary to satisfy the requirements under Chapter 63, subsection 6344(b); and,
  • The certification shall not be valid or used for any other purpose, including employment.
If a volunteer applicant has received a Pennsylvania Child Abuse History Certification free of charge within the previous 57 months, the applicant is required to provide either an $8.00 credit/debit card payment or an authorization code from the organization that is requesting the applicant obtain a Pennsylvania Child Abuse History Certification.

Must I list my parents or guardians as a Household Member?

Yes, a parent(s) and/or guardian(s) must be listed on the application under the "Household Member" section. Paper applications that are missing this information will be rejected and returned to the applicant.

Must I list all of the addresses I have lived at since 1975? What if I do not remember the address?

You must list as much of the information as can be remembered pertaining to any previous address where you have lived. If you can only remember part of the address: such as the city and state or street, city and state, then that is acceptable. Your application will not be rejected for listing previous addresses with partial information.

How do I verify that a Pennsylvania Child Abuse History Certificate is valid?

To verify that a Pennsylvania Child Abuse History Certificate is valid, first click "Verify a Certificate" located under the Clearance Application section on the Child Welfare Portal Homepage. Next, enter the requested information found on the clearance certificate and click "Search."

  • If a match is found, the following message displays on the screen:
    • Match Found. "The applicant’s name and certificate identification number you provided matches a certificate produced by the ChildLine and Abuse Registry. This does not verify whether or not the applicant is listed as a perpetrator of child abuse in the Statewide database."
  • If a match is found, but the certificate was issued more than 60 months prior, the following message displays on the screen:
    • Certification Expired: "The applicant’s name and certificate identification number you provided matches a certification produced by the ChildLine and Abuse Registry. However, this certification was issued more than 60 months ago and is no longer valid. Please request that the applicant apply again to obtain a current certification."
  • If no match is found, the following message displays on the screen:
    • No Match Found: "The certificate information entered does not match any records in our Statewide database. This means that either the information on the hard copy has been modified or there is a discrepancy with the information. Please contact our office at 1-877-371-5422 if you need further assistance."

Note: The term "match found" in this circumstance does NOT mean that the individual is listed in the Statewide database as a perpetrator of child abuse. "A match found" means that the information on the certificate pertains to the name of the person on the document you have in your possession.

What do I do if I receive my Pennsylvania Child Abuse History Clearance results and my information on my certificate is incorrect?

You must return the original clearance to our office via post office mail. On the actual clearance result, draw a single line through your name using a black ink pen. Then, directly above that line, clearly PRINT the correct spelling of your name.

Return the original clearance result to:
ChildLine and Abuse Registry
Department of Human Services
ATTN: Return Reprint
P.O. Box 8170, Harrisburg, PA 17105-8170.

A new clearance result will be mailed within one week of receiving the original clearance at the ChildLine and Abuse Registry Office.

Can Pennsylvania Child Abuse History Clearance result be viewed by someone other than the applicant?

Yes, if an organization provides you a code to enter in your application, they will have the ability to access your results online.

Note: An applicant requesting a PA Child Abuse History Clearance through the mail may have their results sent to a third party, if the applicant signs a consent form allowing the Department to release their results. Click on the link below for a copy of the "consent to release information form." The consent form must be attached to the paper PA Child Abuse History Clearance application when it is mailed to the ChildLine and Abuse Registry.
A paper copy of the consent release may be found here: http://www.dhs.state.pa.us/findaform/childabusehistoryclearanceforms/

Are there any online materials which provide instruction on how to create a business partner account?

Yes, an instructional PowerPoint entitled "CWIS Business Partner" can be found at http://keepkidssafe.pa.gov/ under the Supporting Documents tab.

Do I have to pay for a clearance if I'm from another state or affiliated with another state's agency?

Yes. The Child Protective Services law does not provide exemptions for out of state residents or agencies.

I'm from a Pennsylvania Children and Youth Agency. How do I obtain an emergency clearance?

To obtain an emergency clearance for an emergency placement, you will need to contact ChildLine at 1-800-932-0313.

If I check volunteer as the purpose for the Pennsylvania Child Abuse History Clearance, do I need to submit a Pennsylvania State Police Criminal History Record Check?

No, DHS no longer interprets the Pennsylvania State Police Criminal History Record for volunteer applicants. The Pennsylvania State Police Criminal History results should be given directly to the entity requesting the background checks, once it’s obtained from the Pennsylvania State Police.

If I check volunteer as the purpose for the Pennsylvania Child Abuse History Clearance, do I need to submit a FBI Criminal History Record Check?

No, DHS no longer interprets the FBI Criminal History Record for volunteer applicants who live outside the state of Pennsylvania. The FBI Criminal History Record may be given directly to the entity requesting the background checks, once it’s obtained from the Department of Human Services.

What information will I need to submit my Pennsylvania Child Abuse History Clearance application online?

Before you start completing your Pennsylvania Child Abuse History Clearance application you should have the following information:

  • Addresses where you have previously lived since 1975; partial addresses are acceptable;
  • Names of all individuals with whom you have lived since 1975, including parents, guardians, siblings, spouses and roommates;
  • Any previous names that you have used or names that you have been known by; and
  • Payment information (credit card information or payment code).

If you do not have all of the information required to complete a clearance application at this time, you may begin and then save your application to be completed at a later date. All saved applications will be available to you for six months following the date of creation.

How long will my Pennsylvania Child Abuse History Clearance application be available to me?

  • All saved Pennsylvania Child Abuse History Clearance applications, that have not yet been submitted, will be available to you for 6 months following the date of creation.
  • All information submitted as part of the clearance application will be available to you for 10 years following the date of submission.
  • All Pennsylvania Child Abuse History Certifications will be available for 60 months following the verification date.

When will the Pennsylvania Child Abuse History Certification identify the "Certificate Purpose" category?

The purpose type category for which an individual obtains a Pennsylvania Child Abuse History Certification will be denoted on the certificate beginning November 21, 2015. There are 5 purpose type categories which include: Volunteer, Employee, Foster Care, Adoption, and Adult Household Member. Prior to that date, organizations may confirm with the applicant the purpose category for which the certificate was obtained.

I am applying for a Pennsylvania Child Abuse History Certification as a volunteer. My organization requires that I receive a new PA Child Abuse History Certification every year. Can I receive a free certification every year?

No. The eligibility criteria for volunteers applying for a Pennsylvania Child Abuse History Certification states that all volunteers are eligible to receive a certification free of charge once every 57 months. This applies to all volunteers, regardless of the organization with whom the applicant is associated. If your organization requires you to renew your certification more frequently, you must pay for the certification using a debit/credit card or using an authorization code provided by your organization.

How do I apply for a Pennsylvania Child Abuse History Clearance?

An individual can receive a Pennsylvania Child Abuse History Clearance one of three ways:

  • In person by walking into the office that processes Child Abuse History Clearances located at the following address:
    • Child Abuse Registry
      Department of Human Services
      5 Magnolia Drive (Hillcrest Building #53)
      Harrisburg, Pa 17110

  • Submitting an application online by first creating a Child Welfare Account and completing the information electronically through the Child Welfare Portal: https://www.compass.state.pa.us/cwis/public/home

  • Mailing in paper application (the Pennsylvania Child Abuse History Clearance – also known as the CY113) to the ChildLine and Abuse Registry at the below address. A paper copy of the clearance application may be found here:
    http://keepkidssafe.pa.gov/cs/groups/webcontent/documents/form/s_001762.pdf
    ChildLine and Abuse Registry
    Department of Human Services
    P.O. Box 8170
    Harrisburg, Pa 17105-8170

If a Pennsylvania Child Abuse History Clearance application is rejected, what happens to the application?

If an electronic application is rejected you will be asked to provide additional information and re-submit your application. Rejected electronic applications are given a "Pending" status and put on hold until the applicant submits the additional information requested. You will not need to create a new application; all information previously entered will be populated and can be updated or edited prior to submission. No new payment information is required to re-submit a rejected application.

Rejected paper applications are returned to the applicant and not to a third party when there is missing information needed to process the application or when the application is not signed by the applicant. In order for a child abuse history clearance result to be issued the rejected application must be returned to the following address:

ChildLine and Abuse Registry
Department of Human Services
ATTN: Return Reject
P.O. Box 8170
Harrisburg, PA 17105-8170

Please Note: When the applicant receives the rejected application back in the mail there will be a cover page that highlights the information that is needed before the application can be mailed back to the Department of Human Service’s ChildLine and Abuse Registry.

How long is my Pennsylvania Child Abuse History Clearance valid?

Employees:

Beginning July 1, 2015, certifications must be obtained every 60 months.

Any employee with current certification issued prior to July 1, 2015, that is older than 60 months must renew their certificate by December 31, 2015. If an individual or agency elects to renew all required employment certifications at the same time, the date of the oldest certification, rather than the most recent, is the date to be used for the renewal date.

If you are currently employed and have been since prior to Dec. 31, 2014, you are required to obtain updated certifications as follows:

  • By Dec. 31, 2015, if the certification is older than 60 months; or
  • By Dec. 31, 2015, if you have not received certification (because you were employed in the same position and were not required to obtain certifications under prior law).

Foster Parents and Prospective Adoptive Parents:

Beginning July 1, 2015, clearances must be obtained by foster and pre-adoptive parents and their adult household members who reside in the home for at least 30 calendar days in a year every 60 months.

NOTE: Adoptive parents who are not planning to adopt in the future do not need to renew their clearances every 60 months.

Volunteers:

Clearances must be renewed every 60 months.

If you were approved as a volunteer before August 25, 2015, and do not have clearances (because you previously were not required to obtain clearances) you have until July 1, 2016, to get your clearances.

If you were approved as a volunteer before August 25, 2015 and you have certifications because your organization required one or all of them and your certifications are older than 60 months, you also have until July 1, 2016, to obtain your certifications.

If you were approved as a volunteer before August 25, 2015 and you have certifications because your organization required one or all of them and your certifications are less 60 months, you also have until 60 months from the date of your oldest certification, to renew your certifications and to obtain any certifications now required that you may not been previously required to obtain (i.e. if your organization required the Child Abuse certification, but not the PSP certification, when your Child Abuse certification expires based on the 60 month cycle, you would naturally add in any of the other required certifications).

Note: Organizations sometimes create their own policies in regards to how frequently child abuse history clearances are required within their organizations. Their policies cannot require applicants to obtain clearances less than what the law requires; however, their policies can require applicants to obtain clearances more frequently than the law requires. So please check with the organization that is requiring a clearance to understand their specific policies

I received a letter that I am a perpetrator. How do I file an Appeal?

You may file an appeal by writing to:

Secretary of Human Services
Attention: Child Abuse Appeals Unit
P.O. Box 2675
Harrisburg, PA 17105-2675

Completing a Child Abuse Clearance Application?

Learn More about submitting a Pennsylvania Child Abuse History Clearance application through the Child Welfare Portal: https://www.compass.state.pa.us/cwis/public/home