On October 22, 2014 the Pennsylvania Legislature passed House Bill No. 435 to make changes in PA law pertaining to child abuse. These changes require employers to conduct background checks for any “reporters” (which includes paid professionals as well as unpaid volunteers who “are persons aged 18 or older with direct contact with children: the care, supervision, guidance or control of children, or routine interaction with children”).
Many of the changes in legislation stem from recommendations by the 2012 Pennsylvania Task Force on Child Protection and were effective as of December 31, 2014. It is important that church leaders upgrade their policies, training, and procedures to meet the requirements of PA House Bill 435. This is a significant change for most churches and will require not only policy revision and/or implementation but training for volunteers that goes beyond what many churches typically offer. Resources are listed below to help you navigate the changes your church must make to comply with House Bill No. 435.
If you have questions or need clarification, please contact John Ries at 610-301-4848.
- Information to Navigate the New PA State Law, House Bill No. 435 – Prevention of Child Abuse (Please direct any questions regarding this information to John Ries, M.A. 610- 301-4848)
- PA Child Abuse Prevention Laws Update from the UCC General Council
- Special eNews Message from Rev. William P. Worley sent on March 19, 2015
- UCC Webpage for Safe Church (scroll down page to Letter to Local Churches from Donald Clark, UCC General Counsel and additional resources)
- Legislation Clarifying Child Protection Reforms Sent to Governor Tom Wolf This document is a summary of the legislation passed June 30, 2015 to try to clarify the previous child protection law and limit those who will be affected.