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National

Safe Play:

Pennsylvania Requirements

January 1, 2017
<h1>Safe Play:</h1>
<h2>Pennsylvania Requirements<br>
</h2>
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Effective July 1, 2015: Pennsylvania State-Mandated Clearance Requirements

 

At the end of 2014, the State of Pennsylvania updated its laws regarding child abuse. Included in this legislation are heightened background-check requirements for employees and adult volunteers working or providing services within the state. These clearances are required for adults who work or volunteer with youth. Individuals will not be cleared to work/volunteer with youth if they have been convicted of any serious felonies or sex crimes, been identified as a perpetrator in a substantiated case of child abuse or convicted of a drug offense within the past five years.

 

1.  What does this mean for you as a USTA Junior Team Tennis volunteer?

If your USTA JTT team is based in Pennsylvania, you are required to obtain the new clearances from the State of Pennsylvania in addition to obtaining a green light through the USTA’s existing background screen through the National Center of Safety Initiatives (NCSI).

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2.  When must you meet these new requirements?

If your USTA JTT team is in Pennsylvania and you received your green light from NCSI to serve in the capacity of a USTA Junior Team Tennis coach/manager, co-manager or local/area coordinator, prior to July 1, 2015, you have until July 1, 2016, or until your current USTA background screen expires and you resubmit to the USTA background screen - whichever occurs sooner - to obtain the required clearances through the State of Pennsylvania in order to be in compliance. Please see Question #4 below for more information.

 

For example, if your USTA background screen expires Oct. 1, 2015 and you plan to continue to serve as a USTA JTT volunteer, you will be required to once again complete the USTA’s Safe Play program as well as obtain your state-mandated clearances through the state of Pennsylvania (as described below). If your USTA background screen expires Aug. 15, 2016, you are required to obtain your state-mandated clearances through the state of Pennsylvania on or before July 1, 2016.

 

If you are initiating your USTA background screen on or after July 1, 2015, you are required to immediately be in compliance with the new Pennsylvania clearance requirements.  Please see Question #5 below for more information.

 

3.  How do you meet these new requirements and what will it cost?

According to the requirements outlined in Pennsylvania’s Act 153, in addition to the USTA's Safe Play requirements, the USTA must mandate that its Junior Team Tennis coaches/managers, co-managers or local/area coordinators obtain the following clearance. The cost for these clearances will be the volunteer’s responsibility.

 

- Criminal History Record Information obtained from the PA State Police. ($10 fee waived effective 7/25/15 by Pennsylvania.)

- Child Abuse Clearance obtained through the PA Department of Human Services certifying if the applicant is named in the statewide database “as the alleged perpetrator in a pending child abuse investigation or as the perpetrator of a founded report or indicated report” of child abuse. ($10 fee waived effective 7/25/15 by Pennsylvania.)

- Federal Criminal History Record Information obtained by submitting a full set of fingerprints to the PA State Police or its authorized agent for submission to the Federal Bureau of Investigation “for the purpose of verifying the identity of the applicant and obtaining a current record of any criminal arrests and convictions.” ($25.75 fee)

 

IMPORTANT TO NOTE: If you have lived in Pennsylvania continuously for the past 10 years and are serving as a volunteer, you can be exempted from the Federal Criminal History Record Information check (#3 above). To do so, you must swear or affirm in writing that you are not disqualified from service based upon a conviction of an offense under 23 Pa.C.S. § 6344(c).  If this applies to you, the state of Pennsylvania has provided a form for this purpose.  To download, please visit here.

 

To begin the process of obtaining these clearances, please visit the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services website for links to submit your applications, payment information and to locate the appropriate contact information for questions or concerns.  The website can be found here.

 

The Pennsylvania Department of Human Services has also compiled a FAQ document for volunteers regarding this new requirement and the clearances.  The FAQ document can be found here.

 

4.  I already have a green light to serve as a volunteer for JTT and I’ve obtained the required clearance certificates and affidavit (if applicable). What should I do next?

You will need to provide these documents to the USTA through its USTA Junior Team Tennis Pennsylvania Document Repository managed by NCSI.  Please upload the required clearance certificates from the PA State Police, the PA Dept. of Human Services and either your: (i) FBI clearance certificate or (ii) affidavit (whichever is applicable to you) to the USTA Junior Team Tennis Pennsylvania Document Repository.  To begin, please click here.

 

Please be advised, in order to serve as a USTA JTT volunteer, the USTA will only accept certificates that reflect no incidences or criminal history records (i.e., “clear reports”).  The documents you upload will be reviewed for accuracy and for confirmation that the certificates you supplied are “clear reports.”  Once this information has been confirmed, you will be notified by NCSI that your upload is complete and that you have met the new Pennsylvania clearance requirements as it pertains to serving as a volunteer for USTA Junior Team Tennis.

 

If your certificates are not clear reports, you will no longer be permitted to serve as a USTA Junior Team Tennis volunteer.  Please see Question #6 below for more information.

 

5.  I am a new JTT volunteer. What should I do?

You must first complete steps 1 and 2 on the USTA Junior Team Tennis Safe Play tear sheet (specifically, review the Youth Protection Policies and Procedures for USTA JTT as well as complete the 30-minute online training). If you initiated Step 3 (the background screen) prior to July 1, 2015, you have until July 1, 2016, or until your current USTA background screen expires and you resubmit to the USTA background screen - whichever occurs sooner - to obtain the required clearances through the state of Pennsylvania and supply them to the USTA in order to be in compliance.  If you are initiating Step 3 (the background screen) on or after July 1, 2015, you are required to immediately be in compliance with the new Pennsylvania requirements.  Therefore, after completing steps 1 and 2 on the USTA Junior Team Tennis Safe Play tear sheet, please proceed as follows:

 

Complete Your USTA Background Screen Application. In the application, you will be required to certify and affirm that you have successfully completed (1) and (2) in the USTA Junior Team Tennis Safe Play tear sheet. The USTA has retained the services of an independent third party, the National Center for Safety Initiatives (NCSI), to conduct background screenings of all applicants. Please begin your background screen through NCSI.

 

  • Upload Your Pennsylvania Clearance Documents.  Following your submission of the USTA Background Screen application, please upload the required clearance certificates from the PA State Police, the PA Dept. of Human Services and either your: (i) FBI clearance certificate or (ii) affidavit (whichever is applicable to you) to the USTA Junior Team Tennis Pennsylvania Document Repository.  The Repository is managed by NCSI, the USTA's background screening vendor.  To begin your upload, please click here.

 

Please be advised, in order to serve as a USTA JTT volunteer, the USTA will only accept certificates that reflect no incidences or criminal history records (i.e., “clear reports”).  The documents you upload will be reviewed for accuracy and to confirm that the certificates you supplied are “clear reports.”  Once this information has been confirmed, you will be notified by NCSI that your upload is complete and that you have met the new Pennsylvania clearance requirements as it pertains to serving as a volunteer for USTA Junior Team Tennis.  This does not mean that you automatically will receive a green light through the USTA’s Background Screen.  That process is handled separately from the Pennsylvania mandated clearance requirement.  NCSI will contact you directly regarding the status of your USTA Background Screen Application.  For more information regarding the USTA Background Screen, please see our FAQs.

 

If your certificates are not clear reports, you will not be permitted to serve as a USTA Junior Team Tennis volunteer.  Please see Question #6 below.

 

6.  I have obtained my clearances from the state of Pennsylvania, but one of the certificates indicates that I’ve been named in an action or found guilty of a crime that the Child Protective Services Law constitutes as grounds for denying employment or becoming a volunteer with children. What should I do?

If you think this determination is not accurate and the results of your state-mandated screen are incorrect, you must contact the state or federal agency that produced the certificate. Please do not contact the USTA as we are unable to provide any assistance.

 

If the determination is accurate, you will not be permitted to serve as a USTA Junior Team Tennis volunteer, whether or not you receive (or have already received) a green light from the USTA’s Safe Play program.

 

For additional details on this state mandate, please visit here.

 

7.  Will the USTA be covering the cost for these additional, state-mandated clearances?

The USTA will not be covering the cost of the additional clearances required by the state of Pennsylvania; the cost will be the responsibility of the USTA Junior Team Tennis volunteer. However, the USTA will continue its policy of not charging JTT volunteers a fee for the USTA-mandated background screen.

 

Please be advised that, per the state, effective July 25, 2015, the fees for the Child Abuse History Clearance, issued by the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services, and the Criminal History Record Check, issued by the Pennsylvania State Police, will be waived for volunteers. As the FBI clearance is administered by the federal government, current costs will continue to apply; however, if you have been a continuous resident of the state of Pennsylvania for the last 10 years, you can be exempted from the FBI clearance. To do so, you must swear or affirm in writing that you are not disqualified from service based upon a conviction of an offense under 23 Pa.C.S. § 6344(c).

 

8.  Why do I need to complete both the new Pennsylvania background screen and the USTA’s Safe Play Background Screen?

The USTA’s background screen program is based on the National Council of Youth Sports’ Recommended Guidelines for Background Check Screening in Nonprofit Youth-Serving Organizations, of which the USTA’s screening facilitator, the National Center for Safety Initiatives (NCSI), is the only organization licensed to use. The USTA’s background screen program is based on extensive search elements of which the new Pennsylvania requirements do complement; however, the USTA has established its own set of criteria that it uses to seek to ensure the safety of all its participants. The State of Pennsylvania has established its own set of criteria to assess individuals having frequent contact with youth in its state. Therefore, to ensure the most comprehensive search, the USTA will continue to require its participants providing services in the State of Pennsylvania be in compliance with both the USTA Safe Play requirements and the state’s newly mandated requirements.

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