Background Checks

Required Adult Training/Clearances

In order for an adult to participate in any Troop 137 activities with the scouts (including attending ANY camping trips), the BSA, Pennsylvania state law and St. Joesphs, requires several things.  These are requirements for all adults including (but not limited to) registering as adult leaders, attending a single camping trip or other event, driving scouts to an activity, or merit badge counselors with the troop. 

Please make sure you keep copies/originals of all completion certificates listed below.  

1 - Pennsylvania State Law Requirements

Information on the new PA law regarding background checks can be found at

PA State police background check.  This can be completed using the PATCH (Pennsylvania Access to Criminal History) website.  Go to Select New Record Check as an unregistered user and follow the directions on the website. The backgound check is free and results are returned immediately after submitting. Please print the online certification. 

PA Child Abuse History clearance.   This will identify if the applicant is listed in the Pennsylvania statewide database as a perpetrator of child abuse. This can be applied for online at (Free)

FBI Background check – Any adult that has not been a PA resident for the past 10 years, needs to complete an FBI check.  The Pennsylvania Department of Human Services is utilizing Cogent Systems to process fingerprint-based FBI criminal background checks. The fingerprint based background check is a multiple step process. For more information and to begin the registration process, go to .

Adults that have been a continuous resident of Pennsylvania for the past 10 years DO NOT need to complete the FBI background check but must swear or affirm in writing that they are not disqualified from service based upon a conviction of an offense. The disclosure statement form can be downloaded at

All instructions on completing the PA required checks can be found on the PA DHS website at

After completing these background checks, please provide three copies of each to the Troop. The Troop will provide a copy of each to St. Joes and the BSA. The third copy will be kept under the control of the Troop Committee Chairman. The Committee Chairman is required by law to review the original documents so please bring the originals when you turn in the copies. The originals will be returned to you, please keep them for yourself in a safe place in case anything gets lost. Pennsylvania law requires these checks be repeated every 5 years, but the Archdiocese requires us to repeat these checks every 3 years.

2 - BSA Requirements

In addition to the PA state requirements, the BSA requires:

Youth Protection Training - The Boy Scouts of America offers on-line training called Youth Protection.  This training can be done on-line in about 30 minutes and covers all of the BSA rules and policies regarding youth and child abuse. To take Youth Protection training go to  and create an account. From the portal, click on E-Learning and take the Youth Protection training. Registered adults leaders should enter their BSA ID number during the registration process.  The BSA ID number is not required if you are an unregistered adult taking this class. 

Please provide a copy of the completion certificate to the troop upon completion.  Each adult will be required to retake this on-line class every 24 months.

 3 - St. Joseph Requirements

In addition to the PA state requirements, which the Archdiocese requires to be completed every 3 years, the following is required: 
Virtus Youth Protection training.  (Safe Environment Training)

Virtus is the name of the program put together by the Catholic Church to recognize and prevent abuse of children.  Attendance at a Virtus training session is required for all adults working with youth in the Philadelphia Archdiocese.  St. Joseph’s requires that all adults that work directly with scouts attend this training.  This is a program offered around the region, in the evening for about 2 ½ hours.  To register for this course, go to the website and follow the registration instructions there.

Please provide the original copy of the completion certificate to the troop upon completion. 

Mandated Reporter Training. This is an online class - "Safe Environment Part II: Mandated Reporting of Suspected Child Abuse" provides an overview of Archdiocesan reporting procedures for suspected child abuse and Pennsylvania Child Welfare Laws. Register for the class at

Please provide your completion certificate to the troop after taking this training.  These are both one-time only certifications.


Additional FAQ’s from the Pennsylvania Website

Which clearances are needed?

All prospective volunteers must obtain the following clearances:

• Report of criminal history from the Pennsylvania State Police (PSP); and

• Child Abuse History Clearance from the Department of Human Services (Child Abuse).


Additionally, a fingerprint based federal criminal history (FBI) submitted through the Pennsylvania State Police or its authorized agent is not required if:

• The position the volunteer is applying for is unpaid; and

• The volunteer has been a Pennsylvania resident continuously for the past 10 years.


Volunteers who are not required to obtain the FBI Clearance because they are applying for an unpaid position and have been a continuous resident of Pennsylvania for the past 10 years must swear or affirm in writing that they are not disqualified from service based upon a conviction of an offense under §6344.


When are clearances needed?

Beginning July 1, 2015, prospective volunteers must submit clearances prior to the commencement of service.

How much do the clearances cost?

      Beginning July 25th, 2015:

            • The PSP clearance costs $0

• The Child Abuse clearance costs $0

• The FBI clearance costs $27.50 through the Department of Human Services

Who pays for clearances?

The volunteer is responsible for paying the cost of the required clearances. The Troop Committee has decided that each volunteer will pay for their own background check and these costs will not be paid by the troop.

Are there any other requirements?

If a volunteer is arrested for or convicted of an offense that would constitute grounds for denying participation in a program, activity or service, or is named as a perpetrator in a founded or indicated report, the volunteer must provide the administrator or their designee with written notice not later than 72 hours after the arrest, conviction or notification that the person has been listed as a perpetrator in the statewide database.

A volunteer who willfully fails to disclose information as required above commits a misdemeanor of the third degree and shall be subject to discipline up to and including termination or denial of a volunteer position.

What is the provisional clearance requirement for volunteers?

Volunteers who reside in Pennsylvania do not have a provisional period and must obtain clearances.

As a volunteer, do I obtain my Federal Bureau of Investigation Criminal History check through the Department of Education or the Department of Human Services?

The agency under which an applicant should submit their FBI clearance application is based on the agency or organization for which they intend to volunteer. If the applicant intends to volunteer in a school or at a school related function, they would apply for their FBI clearance through the Department of Education. If the applicant intends to volunteer with children in any other capacity outside of a school setting or function, such as a group home for children, in a church, as a Little League or soccer coach, etc., they would apply for their FBI clearance through the Department of Human Services.


For any other questions on completing these checks, contact a member of the Troop Committee or the Scoutmaster.