Carnegie Mellon University

Exclamation point iconNEW! Applicants who complete FBI Fingerprinting through DHS and who do not have a record may now receive results via email shortly after completing the physical fingerprinting process. In addition to electronic results, paper copies will continue to be sent via U.S. Mail. Individuals with a record will receive results via U.S. Mail only.

Child Protection Clearances (Act 153)

The Pennsylvania Child Protective Services Law (CPSL) requires employees, volunteers and other individuals who interact with minors to obtain three different clearances, together known as the Child Protection Clearances:

  • Pennsylvania Access to Criminal History (PATCH) through the Pennsylvania State Police
  • Pennsylvania Child Abuse History (PACA) through the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services
  • FBI Criminal History Background Check (FBI Fingerprint); requires the individual to submit their fingerprints to the FBI and have the background check run through the PA State Police’s designated agencies

The CPSL requires that certifications, including FBI fingerprinting, be renewed every 60 months (five years).

Individuals who do not have valid Child Protection Clearances on file with the Office of Human Resources are not permitted to interact with minors in person or remotely for any CMU operations or programs.

Who requires clearances?

  • Employees with direct contact with minors as part of their position — Child Protection Operations within the Office of Human Resources completes regular clearance status checks for employees who require clearances, and contacts those who are missing required documents or whose documents are due to expire. Failure to obtain and submit the required clearances will result in employment action if the clearances are a requirement of the position.
  • Employees or volunteers with direct contact with minors as part of a university program or activity — As part of the registration process, programs are required to submit a roster of individuals who will have direct contact with minors. All individuals intending to participate in a CMU program or activity that involves interactions with minors are required to obtain and submit Child Protection Clearances to the Office of Human Resources. Note: Program participants with clearances expiring within the duration of the program will be required to renew the Child Protection Clearances at the time of being added to the roster.

How to Obtain Child Protection Clearances

Individuals requiring Child Protection Clearances will be contacted by Child Protection Operations and provided with the necessary instructions and payment codes to obtain the required clearances. The Child Protection Clearances Application Overview [pdf] outlines the expectations and timeline for obtaining clearances. Please note:

  • While the Child Protection Operations team within the Office of Human Resources facilitates the application process for CMU affiliates, the clearances are background checks that are completed by the state. CMU does not control the timeframe or application process.
  • All Child Protection Clearances must be designated at the employment level. CMU does not accept volunteer clearances.
  • FBI results must be issued by the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services or Department of Education. An FBI background check issued by the Department of Justice is not permissible.
  • Individuals are required to have all three clearances; residency exemptions are not permitted.

Transferring Existing Child Protection Clearances

Child Protection Clearances are valid for 60 months (five years). If an individual obtains Child Protection Clearances outside of the university, it may be possible to transfer those to CMU if the following requirements are satisfied:

  • Valid and applicable Child Protection Clearances may be accepted if they were acquired within 365 calendar days of the date of submission.
    • CMU is able to accept full sets of transfer clearances.
    • If the individual has a partial set of clearances (i.e., has one or two out of the three required clearances) that were acquired within the year requirement, they will need to obtain the remaining clearance(s) and sign a Disclosure Statement.
  • All clearances must be designated for employment. Clearances designated for volunteering are not permissible.
  • The FBI background check must be issued by either the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services or Department of Education. FBI background checks issued by the Department of Justice are not permissible under the CPSL.
  • If the clearances meet the requirements, the individual will need to sign a Disclosure Statement in support of certification transfer. This form will be provided by Child Protection Operations upon review of existing clearances for acceptability.

Note for new hires to CMU: If clearances are transferred to the university for the purposes of start date, a new set of Child Protection Clearances is required to be completed for the purposes of ongoing employment with the university. Please contact your recruiter with questions.