Wolf eases burden on volunteers who work with children by waiving fees

Responding to the concerns of many legislators and a wide range of adult volunteers, Gov. Tom Wolf did the right thing Wednesday by announcing the waiver of $10 criminal background check and child abuse clearance fees applying to volunteers who work with children.

It’s important to note that volunteers working with children – including firefighters and EMS personnel, as well as those working with Little Leagues, social organizations and schools – will still be required to obtain the clearances. Because of Wolf’s move, they just won’t have to pay for them.

This rectifies an oversight in a well-intended 2014 law designed to better protect our children. It also alleviates widespread concern that imposition of the fees would make recruiting and retaining adult volunteers more difficult.

In another good move, for people seeking employment for work with children and others legally required to obtain them, Wolf also said the state Department of Human Services and Pennsylvania State Police will reduce the cost of child abuse and criminal history record checks from $10 to $8.

I support the governor’s actions to fix this problem administratively, as well as ongoing efforts to put these fixes into law.

More information about clearances required under the Child Protective Services Law can be found at www.keepkidssafe.pa.gov. If you need clearances, you can go directly to www.compass.state.pa.us/cwis to create an account and apply electronically.

As always, please contact my office regarding this or any other state-related matter. You can also visit my legislative website or “like” my Facebook page to keep up with my activities in Harrisburg, as I continue striving to put “People 1st.”