Rheems Athletic Association
Rheems Athletic Association is an organization run by volunteers. Effective July 1, 2015, Pennsylvania state law requires specific actions in order to be eligible to serve as a volunteer within an organization where any volunteers will be interacting with children/minors. This policy is to ensure that we are following these state laws which will help to ensure the safety of the children participating in our programs.
A Volunteer is defined as an adult applying for an unpaid position as a volunteer that will be responsible for the welfare of a child or having direct contact with children.
1. Report of criminal history from the Pennsylvania State Police
2. Child Abuse History Clearance from the Department of Human Services (Child Abuse).
3. Additionally, a fingerprint based federal criminal history (FBI) submitted through the Pennsylvania State Police if the volunteer has not been a Pennsylvania resident continuously for the past 10 years
4. Coaches & assistant coaches - annual concussion awareness certification.
5. Volunteers who are not required to obtain the FBI Clearance because they are applying for a volunteer position and have been a continuous resident of Pennsylvania for the past ten years must affirm in writing that they are not disqualified from service based upon a conviction of an offense under section 6344.
6. Annual registration (Fall) with EPYSA for risk management.
Clearances will be kept on file with the association and managed by the Risk Management Officer or appointed board member.
Volunteers are required to obtain updated clearances as follows:
- Within 60 months of the date of the most recent clearance
- By July 1, 2016 if they were approved as a volunteer before July 1, 2015 and had not received a clearance because they were previously not required to obtain clearances.
If a volunteer is arrested for or convicted of an offense that would constitute grounds for denying participation in a program, activity or service, or is named as a perpetrator in a founded or indicated report, the volunteer must provide the administrator 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 state wide database. A volunteer who wilfully fails to disclose information as required above commits a misdemeanour of the third degree and shall be subject to discipline up to and including termination or denial of a volunteer position.
Procedures for reporting suspected abuse
Anyone may report suspected child abuse. However, the Pennsylvania Child Protective Services Law (“CPSL”) imposes a reporting mandate, or requirement, on any adult who comes into contact with children in the course of his or her work or professional practice, specifically including “an individual paid or unpaid, who, on the basis of the individual's role as an integral part of a regularly scheduled program, activity or service, accepts responsibility for a child.” These adults are known as “mandated reporters.”
WHEN TO REPORT
The CPSL stipulates that a report is required when
- The mandated reporter comes into contact with the child in the course of employment, occupation and practice of a profession or through a regularly scheduled program, activity or service;
- The mandated reporter is directly responsible for the care, supervision, guidance or training of the child, or is affiliated with an agency, institution, organization, school, regularly established church or religious organization or other entity that is directly responsible for the care, supervision, guidance or training of the child; and,
- The mandated reporter has reasonable cause to believe that a child under the care, supervision, guidance or training of the reporter, has been abused.
The following two items require a report, regardless of whether the child is under the care of the reporter:
- A person makes a specific disclosure to the mandated reporter that an identifiable child is the victim of child abuse; or
- An individual 14 years of age or older makes a specific disclosure to the mandated reporter that the individual has committed child abuse.
The mandate to report applies to all suspected child abuse, not just abuse that has been perpetrated by someone within Rheems Athletic Association. Possible abusers could include, for example, parents, relatives, older siblings, neighbors, coaches, school teachers, family friends and other children.
A mandated reporter need not be able to determine who is responsible for the abuse, i.e., identify the alleged offender.
A mandated reporter need not make a first-hand observation of the suspected child abuse victim.
The CPSL specifically grants legal immunity to any individual who, in good faith, makes a report of suspected child abuse. Failure to report suspected abuse by a mandated reporter can result in charges and fines. A mandated reported may also be charged as a “perpetrator” in some cases for failure to protect a child.
Appendix A – Links to websites containing additional information and guidance
*These are hot-links and will open a new browser page to each of the websites.
1. Official Pennsylvania website - Keep Kids Safe – comprehensive website containing information on the Child Protective Services Laws
2. Pennsylvania Department of Health and Human Services
3. Report Abuse Phone Number - 1-800-932-0313
4. Mandated Reporter website
5. Pennsylvania State Police Criminal Record Check website
6. Federal Criminal History Background Checks
7. Coaches Mandatory Annual Concussion Training (print cert at end of course and forward commissioner)
8. EPYSA Risk Management Registration
Printable copy of Affirmation Statement for execution HERE.