All Lehigh faculty and staff are required to undergo background checks in order for the University to remain compliant with Pennsylvania’s Child Protective Services Law (also known as Act 153). Individuals in every office or department of the university are required to recertify these checks every five years.
The background check process consists of three checks:
Pennsylvania State Police Access to Criminal History (“PATCH” or Act 34 Background Check)
Pennsylvania Department of Human Services Child Abuse History Clearance (Act 151 Child Abuse Background Check)
Federal Criminal History Record Information (Act 24 Federal / FBI Criminal History Background Check or “FBI fingerprint check”)
FBI Fingerprint Check Waiver
Under the University’s amended policy, faculty and staff hired before January 1, 2015 may choose to complete only the PATCH and Act 151 Child Abuse Background Check and do not need to complete the FBI fingerprint check IF ALL of the following three prerequisites are met:
- The faculty or staff member does not have “direct contact with minors” as defined in the Protection of Minors Policy; AND
- The faculty or staff member has been a Pennsylvania state resident for the entirety of the past 10-year period, or, if they have not been a Pennsylvania state resident for the entirety of the past 10-year period, they have completed a full background check certification (i.e., all three checks listed above, including the FBI fingerprint check) at any time since establishing Pennsylvania residency and can provide such certification to the University; AND
- The faculty or staff member swears or affirms in writing that they have not been convicted of any of the 22 criminal offenses that disqualify a person from activities having “direct contact with children” pursuant to Pennsylvania Act 153, nor have they been convicted of any offense similar in nature to the Act 153 disqualifying crimes under laws of any other state or past laws of Pennsylvania.
You will be asked during the background check process whether you are able to certify your compliance with ALL THREE prerequisites above.
Direct Contact With Minors
“Direct Contact” is defined by the Policy as: “Contact between an Adult and one or more Minors that:
- Involves the instruction, care, supervision, guidance, or control of a Minor and* routine interaction with Minors;
- Involves an overnight stay (with the exception of Lehigh University students hosting high school students, such as prospective student-athletes and those participating in pre-enrollment visits); or
- Occurs in Lehigh Facilities on five or more occasions in any three-month period.
*We note here that the July 1, 2015 amendments to Act 153 changed the word “or” to “and.” The Policy will be amended to reflect this change.
If you have any questions about whether a class, activity or program you are planning or participating in will involve Direct Contact with Minors, please consult the Office of the General Counsel at email@example.com or 610-758-3572.
SAMPLE CLEARANCE CHECK DOCUMENTS
FOR MORE INFORMATION
- If you are a staff member, please contact Human Resources at firstname.lastname@example.org or 610-758-3900
- If you are a faculty member hired before January 1, 2015, please contact the Office of the General Counsel at email@example.com or 610-758-3572
- If you are a faculty member hired after January 1, 2015, please contact the Office of the Provost at firstname.lastname@example.org or 610-758-3605