PA Act 153

Contact with Minors and Required Background Checks


Pennsylvania Act 153 requires employees working at educational institutions who have direct contact and routine interaction with minors to obtain three different background clearances:

  • Pennsylvania Child Abuse History Check through the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (Act 33)

  • Pennsylvania Criminal History Check through the Pennsylvania State Police (Act 34)

  • FBI Criminal History Check; this check requires the individual to submit their fingerprints to the FBI (Act 114)

Direct contact is defined as the care, supervision, guidance, or control of children or routine interaction with children.

Routine interaction is defined as regular and repeated contact that is integral to a person's employment responsibilities.

Certifications must be renewed every sixty months or five years.

In consultation with HR, departments and individual managers are responsible for determining whether their employees - based on required job duties -  must obtain PA Act 153 clearances. 


Who is required to complete the Act 153 clearances?

Faculty and staff working at Duquesne with direct contact and routine interaction with minors during the course of their employment.

Admissions employees or other faculty and staff who interact with minors while recruiting or working off campus.

Faculty who have high school students enrolled in or attending one of their courses.

Who is not required to complete the clearances?

Current faculty and staff and/or newly hired faculty and staff as long as direct contact with minors is limited to prospective students visiting campus or matriculated students at the institution.

Admissions staff who interact with prospective students while recruiting those high school students on Duquesne's campus.

How do I obtain the clearances?

Duquesne University partners with our background check vendor, HireRight, to facilitate the clearances for employees.  More information about the process can be found here.  

Who will pay for these clearances?

For employees who have direct contact with minors as part of their employment with Duquesne and are required to obtain the clearances, the costs will be covered by the University.

May a new hire begin to work before the clearances are received?

New employees who are required to complete the clearances may be employed as a provisional hire, not to exceed 90 days, but are not permitted to work alone with children and must work in the immediate vicinity of a permanent employee during this provisional employment period. They must also swear and affirm all of the following conditions are met:

1. The new hire is not the perpetrator of a founded report of child abuse committed within the last five years.

2. The new hire has not been convicted of any of the following offenses under Title 18 of the Pennsylvania Code (relating to crimes and offenses), or of an offense similar in nature under the law or former laws of the United States or one of its territories or possessions, another state, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico or a foreign nation, or under a former law of this Commonwealth:

(a) Chapter 25 (relating to criminal homicide)
(b) Section 2702 (relating to aggravated assault)
(c) Section 2709.1 (relating to stalking)
(d) Section 2901 (relating to kidnapping)
(e) Section 2902 (relating to unlawful restraint)
(f) Section 3121 (relating to rape)
(g) Section 3122.1 (relating to statutory sexual assault)
(h) Section 3123 (relating to involuntary deviate sexual intercourse)
(i) Section 3124.1 (relating to sexual assault)
(j) Section 3125 (relating to aggravated indecent assault)
(k) Section 3126 (relating to indecent assault)
(l) Section 3127 (relating to indecent exposure)
(m) Section 4302 (relating to incest)
(n) Section 4303 (relating to concealing death of child)
(o) Section 4304 (relating to endangering welfare of children)
(p) Section 4305 (relating to dealing in infant children)
(q) A felony offense under section 5902(b) (relating to prostitution and related offenses)
(r) Section 5903(c) or (d) (relating to obscene and other sexual materials and performances)
(s) Section 6301 (relating to corruption of minors)
(t) Section 6312 (relating to sexual abuse of children)
(u) The attempt, solicitation or conspiracy to commit any of the above offenses; and
(v) Has not been convicted of a felony offense under the act of April 14, 1972 (P.L. 233, No. 64), known as The Controlled Substance, Drug, Device and Cosmetic Act, committed within the last five years.

3. The new hire has applied for the three required clearances.

If I am arrested for or convicted of one or more of the offenses listed under Title 18 of the Pennsylvania Code (as referenced above) while employed by Duquesne, am I required to report it to the University?

If an employee is arrested for or convicted of an offense that would constitute grounds for denying employment or participation in a program, activity or service, or is named as a perpetrator in a founded or indicated report, the employee must provide the Office of Human Resources or their designee with written notice not later than 72 hours after the arrest, conviction or notification that the person has been listed as a perpetrator in the statewide database.

An employee who willfully fails to disclose information as required above commits a misdemeanor of the third degree and shall be subject to discipline up to and including termination or denial of employment.

Learn more by visiting the PA Department of Human Services web site.

I recently had these same checks completed for another employer or organization. Do I need to have them completed again by Duquesne if they were done in the last 5 years?

Clearances previously obtained for purposes of employment with another employer will be accepted so long as they are less than five years old from the start date of employment with Duquesne University.

Commencement of employment may not occur until the previously obtained clearances are received and reviewed by HR and the employee swears and affirms as set forth in the swear and affirm document.

I recently applied for these clearances in order to volunteer at a school or with a youth program.  Are the volunteer clearances transferable?

No.  A clearance received for volunteer purposes cannot be used when applying for an employment position.

Do I have to go through the FBI Fingerprint check if I have lived in Pennsylvania for more than 10 years?

Yes.  FBI fingerprint checks are necessary for all employees who are in positions which require Act 153 checks based on job duties.  Act 153 has different requirements for employees (i.e. those who have contact with minors as part of their job duties) and for volunteers (those who voluntarily choose to interact with minors).  Volunteer Act 153 clearances are coordinated by the Office of Risk Management

Am I a mandatory reporter? How do I file a report of suspected child abuse?

Every member of the University community has the obligation to report suspected instances of the abuse of minors, as soon as possible. This includes instances of suspected abuse committed on or off campus by members of our campus community or suspected abuse on campus by any visitors.

A valid report means conveying all relevant information regarding the suspected abuse to the University General Counsel, the Director of Public Safety, the Director of Human Resources, or the Director, Anti-discrimination Policy and Compliance. These officials, in turn, have the obligation to insure that an appropriate investigation is initiated. Failure by any member of the University community to report information related to suspected child abuse, as soon as possible, to the above named officials will result in discipline up to and including termination for employees and dismissal for students.

Failure of these officials to initiate a timely and appropriate investigation will result in discipline up to and including termination.

Learn more by reviewing TAP No. 50, Protection of Minors

Reference Links:

PA Act 153 Prohibited Offenses

Pennsylvania Child Protective Services Law (CPSL)

Act 153 of CPSL

House Bill 1276 (Proposed Amendments to Act 153)