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A very important deadline is fast approaching for any Pennsylvania organization which serves or provides services to children.  Effective July 1, 2015, all unpaid volunteers who are, “responsible for the welfare of a child or [have] direct contact with children” as part of their volunteer services are to complete the clearances below before he/she volunteers with any organization. 

The required background checks are:

1.  Pennsylvania State Police Criminal Record Check 2.  Pennsylvania Child Abuse History Clearance certifying the applicant is not named in the statewide database “as the alleged perpetrator in a pending child abuse investigation or as the perpetrator of a founded report or indicated report” of child abuse.

3.  Federal Bureau of Investigation Criminal Background Check

Volunteers are not required to complete the federal criminal background check (#3) if they have lived continuously in Pennsylvania for the previous 10 years; provided that they swear or affirm in writing that 1) they have not been the perpetrator of child abuse in the previous five (5) years and 2) they have not been convicted of one of the prohibited offenses.

Volunteers can visit KeepKidsSafe.pa.gov for more information about the new law and for information on how to complete the background checks online. Once a volunteer obtains the required clearances, he/she can transfer those clearances, which allows him/her to volunteer with any impacted organization.

Any organization that has questions about the impact of this law on the organization should contact legal counsel for more complete advice and guidance.

By Thomas P. Donnelly, Esquire Reprinted with permission from the May 29, 2015 issue of The Legal Intelligencer. (c) 2015 ALM Media Properties. Further duplication without permission is prohibited.

Confidentiality agreements have become commonplace in commercial litigation.  The purpose of a confidentiality agreement as the protection from disclosure of either private personal or sensitive business information which gives a party a competitive advantage is certainly a noble one and one which mandates an agreement against such disclosure in a wide variety of circumstances.  Often, the parties seek the imprimatur of the court by requesting the court adopt the agreement of the parties as an order thereby incorporating the court’s power to impose sanctions in the event of breach.  The entry of such an order, whether intentionally or as an unintended consequence,  may change the nature of a third party, foreign to the dispute with respect to which the confidentiality order was entered, to obtain information produced in the prior litigation.  

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