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”). 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.

Information on Child Abuse Clearance and Mandated Reporters at: http://keepkidssafe.pa.gov/

Report: Clarifying Child Abuse Protection Reforms

PA Child Abuse Prevention Laws Update from the UCC General Council

UCC webpage for Safe Church

Information to Navigate the New PA State Law, House Bill No. 435