Protection of Children and Background Screening Policy (Formerly Known as the Protection of Children Policy)
The purpose of the Protection of Children and Background Screening Policy is to provide guidelines for the appropriate protection and supervision of children participating in University-sponsored programs, in programs operated by outside entities held in University facilities, and/or programs housed in University facilities, wherever those programs or facilities are located.
This Policy will also provide guidelines regarding post offer background screening for all faculty members, staff, and volunteers at the University.
The background screening(s) required will depend upon the position that the candidate or employee holds at the University. Those in positions with direct and/or routine contact with minors will be required to complete successfully additional background screening as required by the Pennsylvania Child Protective Services Law (PA CPSL) upon hire and every five (5) years thereafter.
Duty to Report Suspected Child Abuse
All employees and volunteers are required by Pennsylvania law to make a report of suspected child abuse or neglect. Reports can be made by calling ChildLine toll free at 800-932-0313 or accessing the approved online form at compass.state.pa.us.cwis to file the information electronically. Within 48 hours of the verbal report to ChildLine, a written report must be submitted to the investigating agency. If the child abuse report is filed electronically, this step is not required. Following a report to the child abuse hotline, the reporting person should call Campus Safety at 570-348-6242. If a child is in imminent danger, or the abuse is in progress, the reporter should call 9-1-1 and report the circumstances immediately and then follow the reporting steps listed above. Employees and volunteers who fail to report a case of suspected child abuse or neglect may face felony charges of the third degree.
Contact Human Resources for additional information.
Employees subject to the Pennsylvania Child Protective Services Law (PA CPSL) as determined by the University must complete three (3) hours of training within 90 days of hire and three (3) hours of training every five years thereafter. The University will provide the training.
Required Clearances/Background Checks
At a minimum, all employees hired, or volunteers appointed, on or after January 1, 2016 must complete a Pennsylvania State Police Criminal History Check at the time of hire or appointment. Additional checks may be required, including but not limited to: Pennsylvania Department of Human Service (“DHS”) PA Child Abuse screening (“PA Child Abuse”) confirming whether the individual is named in the statewide database as the alleged perpetrator in a pending child abuse investigation or as the perpetrator of a founded or indicated report of such abuse; Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) national criminal background check; employment and education verification; credit history check; National Sex Offender Registry; and motor vehicle driving history. The existence of a criminal history or other adverse background check finding does not necessarily preclude beginning or continuing employment with Marywood University.
Results from the Pennsylvania State Police and PA Child Abuse screenings are sent directly to the University. The FBI background check is sent to the employee or individual and not to the University. It is the responsibility of the employee or volunteer to share the results with Human Resources within 72 hours of receipt.
Screening results are reviewed by Human Resources. If there is activity that could affect an employment or hiring decision, the results are reviewed case by case with Human Resources and the individual. The purpose of the meeting will include confirming the accuracy of the activity reported, providing the individual an opportunity to provide explanatory context for the activity, and to discuss next steps. Information pertaining to background screening results is kept confidential.
Background screenings are based on the responsibilities of each position. Current employees and volunteers who may have direct contact with, treat, supervise, chaperone, or otherwise oversee children, may need to get screenings even if they were hired or appointed before January 1, 2016. Examples include, but are not limited to, participation with a camp; a change to your employee or volunteer duties and responsibilities; a dual-enrolled minor in one or more of the courses led by the individual; a job shadow experience; and a new employment or affiliation agreement. In these circumstances, Human Resources may notify these individuals regarding the need for screening.
Violations of University policies, including providing false or misleading information used for the above background checks, will be handled under applicable University policies and procedures, which may involve disciplinary action including termination from the University.
If PA CPSL background screenings are required, the individual will be notified at the time of hire or appointment for new employees and volunteers or at the time, the screening will be required for current employees and volunteers. The following screenings must be performed for the PA CPSL background screening: Pennsylvania Child Abuse History Clearance, Pennsylvania State Police Criminal Record Checks, and Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) Criminal History Background Check.
Additionally, new employees and volunteers in positions requiring PA CPSL background checks cannot begin employment or volunteer duties until all checks are submitted to and reviewed by Human Resources.
Employees and volunteers requiring PA CPSL background screenings must obtain new background clearances every five (5) years.
Marywood employees and volunteers who are arrested for or convicted of an offense that would constitute grounds for denying employment, or are named as a perpetrator, in a founded or indicated report of child abuse, must notify their supervisor and Marywood University’s Executive Director of Human Resource within 72 hours. Failure to do so constitutes a misdemeanor crime of the third degree and may also subject the employee or volunteer to discipline, including termination, according to Pennsylvania’s CPSL.
Certain exceptions may apply for children employed by the institution of higher education, interns, exchange visitors, and certain volunteers. See Human Resources for details.
Marywood will cover the cost of clearances for all full-time and part-time employees.
Measures to prevent child abuse
In addition to the requirements listed above, all members of the Marywood community should abide by the following measures:
Establish a procedure for the notification of the child’s authorized parent/legal guardian if an emergency occurs, including medical or behavioral problems, natural disasters or other significant disruptions.
Avoid one-on-one contact with children: when feasible, there should be two or more adults present during activities when children are present.
Minors who are not matriculated University students who are participants in a University sanctioned program, camp or activity, must be supervised at all times by an authorized adult while on campus or while participating in programs, activities or services offered by the University off campus.
If necessary, at all, keep all email/social networking strictly professional. No person covered by this policy should have sustained regular contact with minor children via social media (for example, should not “friend” via social networking website or any other form of online affiliation with a child participating in a University program).
Although there are legitimate uses of social media that engage minors in programs offered through the University, engaging with minors via social media may inadvertently expose them to inappropriate content and create informal relationships that have negative consequences for children.
Employees and volunteers must comply with all Marywood Policies, as well as Campus Safety and Housing and Residence Life policies and procedures, as applicable.
Adult – an individual 18 years of age or older.
Child – an individual under 18 years of age. Prospective students and matriculated students under 18 are not covered. Dual enrollment students, however, are covered.
ChildLine – an organizational unit of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s Department of Public Welfare, which operates a statewide toll-free system for receiving reports of suspected child abuse, refers such reports for investigation, and maintains the reports in the appropriate file. ChildLine may be reached at 800-932-0313 or via the online form at compass.state.pa.us.cwis.
Covered employee/covered volunteer – an individual who has “direct contact” with children.
Direct contact with children (employees/independent contractors) – the care, supervision, guidance or control of children, or routine interaction with children. Administrative and support personnel are excluded unless they have direct contact with children.
Direct contact with children (volunteers) – the care, supervision, guidance or control of children, and routine interaction with children. Volunteers who interact with children for one day a year for a special event are excluded.
Matriculated student – a student who is enrolled in an institution of higher education and pursing a program of study that results in a postsecondary credential, such as certificates, diploma or degree.
Routine interaction – regular and repeated contact that is integral to a person’s employment or volunteer responsibilities.
04/17/2015 - Approved by the President of the University as recommended by the Policy Committee of the University
12/11/2015 - Revisions to comply with amendments to Act 153 approved by the President of the University as recommended by the Policy Committee of the University.
10/26/2017 – Clarification that Marywood University covers the cost of clearances for all employees, both full time and part time, approved by the President of the University as recommended by the Policy Committee of the University.
12/10/2021 – Revisions to this University Policy, including changing the name from Protection of Children Policy to the Protection of Children and Background Screening Policy, were approved by the President of the University, as recommended by the Policy Committee of the University at their 12/10/21 meeting.