Criminal History Background Check FAQ
Can a clearance from the Department of Public Welfare's Child Welfare Division be used in place of this criminal background check requirement?
No. Their list of prohibitive offenses is different.
Do I need to report abuse if it occurs outside my facility?
Yes. If an employee of a facility has reason to suspect that a resident of the facility has been abused, even outside the facility, then a report must be made.
Does the person who is abused in a facility have to be 60 years of age or older?
No. For mandatory reporting purposes, a person of any age living in the facility is considered as the recipient, an individual who receives care, services or treatment in or from a facility.
Isn't having to report to the area agency on aging and to the police double reporting?
No. Each agency has a different focus for its investigation. The AAA addresses the victim's need for services and the police focus on criminal prosecution of the abuser.
If the suspected abuser is another facility employee, do I need to report it?
Yes, the act clearly states that an employee who witnesses abuse by anyone in a facility must make a verbal report immediately to the Area Agency on Aging and within 48 hours, must follow up with a written report signed by you as the reporter or your administrator. If the abuse includes serious bodily, serious physical or sexual abuse, or suspicious death, a verbal report must also be made immediately to the Department of Aging, area agency on aging and to law enforcement.
Who is required to make mandatory abuse reports?
The law mandates any employee or administrator who has reasonable cause to suspect that a recipient is a victim of abuse shall immediately make an oral report to the Area Agency on Aging. Further, if the abuse rises to the level of sexual abuse, serious physical injury, serious bodily injury or suspicious death, the same individuals must also make an oral report to the Department of Aging and local law enforcement in addition to the report made to the AAA.
If an individual is convicted of an offense that would prohibit employment, is there a certain time period that this conviction can be disregarded and the individual could be employed?
No. Any offense as described by the Act appearing on an individual’s criminal record regardless of date must be used in determining employment eligibility.
What offenses make a person ineligible for employment?
Please click here for a detailed listing of all offenses that would prohibit employment of an individual.
Please Note: Offenses occurring within the 3900 series require one felony in any listed offenses or a combination of any two misdemeanors in any listed offenses.
What is the fee for background checks?
The PA State Police require a fee of $10.00 for a Request for Criminal Record Check. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) requires a fee of $34.25 for a Request for Federal Criminal History Check.
Does a background check need to be performed on a recurring basis for all employees?
No, the law does not require recurring background checks. The law mandates a background check be performed at the time of application.
Can an employer accept a background check performed by a prior employer?
Yes, provided the check is not older than one year
Who needs background checks?
The Act 169-1996 Amendment to OAPSA requires a criminal background check for all employees and administrators of nursing homes, personal care homes, domiciliary care homes, adult day care, and home health care providers. In addition, Pennsylvania Department of Health has defined home health care organization or agency to include: hospices and birth centers, and the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare (DPW) has concluded that the Act is applicable to all DPW-licensed and DPW-operated entities: Personal Care Homes, 55 Pa. Code Ch. 2620; Community Residential Rehabilitation Services, 55 Pa. Code Ch. 5310; Long Term Structured Residences, 55 Pa. Code Ch. 5320; Community Homes for Individuals with Mental Retardation*, 55 Pa. Code Ch. 6400; Family Living Homes*, 55 Pa. Code Ch. 6500; ICF's/MR* (private and state), 55 Pa. Code Ch. 6600; State Mental Hospitals; and Nursing Facilities. A Home Health Care Agency is further defined to include those agencies licensed by the Department of Health and any public or private organization which provides care to a care-dependent individual in their place of residence.
Individuals with convictions for prohibitive offenses (see Figure 5) are prohibited from employment in these facilities. An employee is defined as any applicant or new employee hired after July 1, 1998. Individuals employed by the facility on or after July 1, 1998, the facility has one year from the effective date of the act to conduct the background check. The definition of employee includes contract employees who have direct contact with residents or unsupervised access to their personal living quarters. It also includes persons employed or contracted by a public or private organization to provide care to a care dependent person in his/her own residence.