The Center for Community-Engaged Teaching and Research

Murphy Building
20 Chatham Square
Pittsburgh, PA 15282
Phone: 412.396.5893
Fax: 412.395.2144

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    Criminal Background and Child Abuse History Clearances

    If your service-learning course involves interaction with vulnerable populations (generally defined as including children age 17 or younger, persons age 60 or older, and/or individuals with disabilities) you will most likely be required to apply for your Act 33 and Act 34 clearances. 

    When you do recieve your results, be sure to make several copies for future requests. 

    Act 33 Child Abuse

    1. Print the Act 33 Child Abuse Form.
    2. Competely fill out Section 1 using BLUE or BLACK ink. Write legibly to avoid having your request returned unprocessed.
    3. Under “Applicant Identification” clearly print your name and CURRENT address (i.e., your school address; NOT your permanent or parents' address). This address you put down will be where results are mailed.
    4. Under “Purpose of Clearance” please check “School.”
    5. Complete the sections regarding previous addresses and household members and sign and date the application. These sections must be completed in their entirety or your form may be returned unprocessed.
    6. Send the COMPLETE application along with a $10.00 money order (do not send cash or a personal check) made payable to the Department of Public Welfare to:

    Childline and Abuse Registry
    Department of Public Welfare
    P.O. Box 8170
    Harrisburg, PA 17105-8170

    You will receive your clearance at the address you provided within 14 days from the date your application was recieved. Please note it could, however, take as many as 6 weeks. 

    Act 34 Criminal Record Check

    1. It is easiest to obtain the Act 34 Criminal Record Check online through the PATCH database. We recommend using this method. Be sure to have a credit card ready. 
    2. After following the link to the e-PATCH system, click "Submit a New Record Check" under the heading "Credit Card Users."
    3. On the next page, review and accept the Terms and Conditions.
    4. Follow the directions to complete the application and enter a valid credit card number, which will be charged $10.00.
    5. In most instances, you will be able to immediately print your clearance after submitting your payment information; however, for record requests labeled "Under Review" there is a two or three week delay. 

    FBI Clearance/Fingerprinting

    Pennsylvania uses the Cogent system to obtain FBI clearances. It is a two-part process:

    1. Register via telephone (1-888-439-2486) Monday through Friday, 8am to 6pm EST OR online at any time. You will need to select 1 of the 5 different PA Departments. ALL student teachers or education majors should use the Department of Eduation system. Students working within healthcare agencies should use the Department of Public Welfare. If you are not sure what Dept. to use, STOP and ask. Selecting the wrong Department may interfere with your placement. 
      • You will need to pay for your clearance during registration. There is only one payment option if you register online: via credit card. It will cost $28.75. Make sure you print your receipt with a copy of your registration ID number (it begins with PAE) to retain as proof. 
    2. Visit an authorized location to be fingerprinted. You can find all of the fingerprint locations in PA, here. The nearest location to campus is the UPS Store in Oakland. 
      • Make sure you bring a driver's license (or other acceptable form of ID) with you. 
    Acceptable Identification

    State Government Issued Certificate of Birth
    US Active Duty/Retiree/Reservist Military ID Card (00010-2)
    Social Security Card
    USCIS I-551 Resident Alien Card Issued Since 1997
    USCIS I-688 Temporary Resident Identification Card
    USCIS I-688B, I-766 Employment Authorization Card
    Utility Bill (Address)
    Voter Registration Card
    Vehicle Registration Card/Title
    Paycheck Stub with Name/Address
    Cancelled Check or Bank Statement
    School Identification Card with Picture
    School Records
    Employer Identification Card
    Valid PA Learner's Permit

    How to Obtain a Money Order

    Money orders can be purchased with cash at U.S. post offices, most banks, and many grocery store customer service desks, convenience stores, and check-cashing businesses. Some places will also accept credit cards, debit cards, or traveler's checks. You might be asked to pay a fee, ranging from $.50 to $4.00. To avoid paying a fee, you might try getting the money order from a bank where you hold an account.