Deer Lakes

School District

Volunteer Clearances

The Pennsylvania General Assembly amended the Child Protective Services Law (the CPSL) several times.  The most recent changes were through Act 153 to require all school employees, contractors and volunteers having direct contact with children to obtain new clearances (child abuse history clearance and state and federal criminal history checks) every 60 months.


  • New volunteers must have clearances, dated within the past 60 months (5 years), to be approved for their position.  
  • Under Act 15 of 2015 (the Act), which amends the provisions of the Child Protective Services Law, volunteers who are responsible for the child’s welfare or who have “direct volunteer contact” with children at a school— meaning the care, supervision, guidance, or control of children and routine interaction with children will be required to have background checks. The Act clarifies that “routine interaction” means “regular and repeated contact that is integral to a person’s employment or volunteer responsibilities.”

    PDE’s view is that mere visitors are not normally required to obtain background checks to the extent that such visitors are not responsible for a child’s welfare or are visiting the school irregularly and not providing for the care, supervision, guidance, or control of children. Some examples of situations where such visitors normally would not be required to have background checks would include but are not limited to: Back-to -School nights, parent/teacher conferences, school assemblies, school concerts, assisting with school birthday parties, parent guest readers, chaperones for field trips and dances (so long as not routine or responsible for the child’s welfare), Halloween parades, collecting tickets to sporting events, working concession stands, participating in “Career Day,” Etc. In this capacity, school visitors do not need the clearances. By contrast, persons who are responsible for the child’s welfare or who wish to visit the school regularly to serve as volunteers and to provide for the care, supervision, guidance or control of children would be required to have background checks. Some examples of persons needing background checks would include but not be limited to regular classroom volunteer assistants, recess and library volunteers, and volunteer coaches/club advisors.

All school volunteers must now obtain a volunteer Service Code from the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (DHS). This change is in response to a bulletin issued by DHS that indicates all individuals governed by the Child Protective Services Law (CPSL) must obtain clearances through DHS. This change includes all public, private, and nonpublic school volunteers. To obtain a volunteer Service Code, individuals must contact DHS directly at 1-877-371-5422 or [email protected]

What Steps Do I Need to Take?

Deer Lakes School District strongly supports the involvement of parent/guardian and community volunteers. State law now requires that any volunteer who has direct contact with students to have necessary clearances on file with the District.

  • Please note that clearances that have been obtained for other organizations (your local township, sports organizations, scouts, employment, etc.) will be accepted if they match the list below and are within the acceptable time limit. Copies must be obtained from these organizations and brought to the district in order to be on the list.  

In addition, the following form must be signed and submitted:

  • Acknowledgment of Volunteer Obligations - required for all those submitting clearances. Download a copy below.
  • Acquiring the clearance documents takes time and we recommend that parents planning on volunteering in the schools complete the process as soon as possible. The documents will remain on file with the District for FIVE years at which time new clearances will be necessary.

Acknowledgment of Volunteer Obligations

The state law also requires volunteers to notify the District within 72 hours if they are arrested or convicted of a Disqualifying Offense. To ensure that all volunteers are aware of this requirement, you will be required to sign and submit a copy of the Acknowledgment of Volunteer Obligations when you submit your clearances at the District offices.

What should I do with the paperwork once it arrives?

Only after you get all three clearances back (or two plus the signed waiver), take the originals to the school building in which you will volunteer during normal office hours along with a signed copy of the Acknowledgement of Volunteer Obligations . The administrative staff will review your clearances and will make a copy to keep in the District files. The originals will be returned to you. Thereafter, your name will be added to a central database of volunteers who have submitted clearances.