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23 Oct 2020

DHS encourages Pennsylvanians to start FBI background check process now

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October 23, 2020 Category: Stateside Posted by:

ABOVE PHOTO: DHS Secretary Teresa Miller  (Photo/pa.gov)

HARRISBURG, Pa. — The Department of Human Services (DHS) is reminding people needing Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) criminal history background checks as a condition of employment that the December 31 deadline to obtain this clearance is approaching and strongly encourages anyone needing this clearance to start the process now.

Earlier this year, Governor Wolf signed Act 18 of 2020, which extends the time period for certain professions required by the Child Protective Services Law (CPSL) to obtain an FBI background check upon hiring.

“The pandemic and stay-at-home period created challenges for people needing clearances to work with children. A temporary extension was passed in order to create flexibility for the FBI criminal history background check, but that deadline is approaching,” DHS Secretary Teresa Miller said. “I urge anyone needing a new clearance or who needs to renew an existing clearance to start this process now. Getting this clearance ahead of the deadline is the best way to avoid delays and ensure that you have what you need to stay in compliance and continue working.”

In order to receive an FBI background check, fingerprints must be submitted as part of the criminal history check. Fingerprint scans can be taken at an IdentoGO location in the commonwealth. Many IdentoGO locations were temporarily closed in the spring, creating challenges for people still trying to meet the fingerprinting requirement. 

An extension on the FBI clearance requirement was passed to accommodate workers during this challenge, and since then the majority of IdentoGo locations have reopened. Required clearances must be obtained by December 31 for workers to remain in compliance.

Pennsylvanians are still strongly encouraged to get fingerprinted and obtain their FBI Criminal History Clearance as soon as possible to avoid potential delays due to an increase of people obtaining clearances. 

A map of all open IdentoGO locations is available at: www.dhs.pa.gov/providers/Providers/Pages/coronavirus-fingerprinting.asp

This map is updated as new offices begin to reopen. 

Anyone seeking fingerprinting services should call IDEMIA’s customer service at 844-321-2101 to ensure the location is still operating, schedule an appointment, and discuss necessary COVID-19 safety precautions.

If employers have a large number of employees needing new or renewed clearances, arrangements can be made to have fingerprinting occur at the workplace. Mobile fingerprinting services are available for an additional fee through IDEMIA for groups of 20 or more needing clearances . Agencies with this need should contact IDEMIA at: [email protected]  to schedule.

Under Act 18 of 2020, individuals who are required to obtain an FBI background check were given additional time to meet this requirement because of closures caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The extension for new hires to obtain the FBI background check lasts until 60 days following the expiration of the disaster emergency declaration issued by Governor Wolf or December 31, 2020, whichever is sooner. 

Individuals seeking a renewal of the FBI Criminal History Background Check have until December 31, 2020 to obtain the check. All individuals required to obtain additional clearances, including the Pennsylvania State Police Criminal Record Check and the Pennsylvania Child Abuse History Clearance, must still obtain these clearances prior to employment. Both of these clearances can be obtained online.

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Act 18 of 2020 applies to individuals who must get their FBI Criminal History Background Check prior to beginning employment as found in Section 6344 of the CPSL and those individuals required by Section 6344.4 of the CPSL that are due to have their fingerprint checks renewed. The law does not extend the fingerprinting and background check requirement for new volunteers under the CPSL, public school employees prior to employment, and others required to receive FBI background checks under different departments.

For more information on clearances necessary to work with children, visit: www.keepkidssafe.pa.gov.

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