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Youth Safety

Thank you for volunteering with the Office of Science Outreach! Youth safety is the most important part of any program. See below for details on how to get your publicly available background clearances and relevant policies and procedures.

What do I need to volunteer?

When you sign up for an event, OSO staff will let you know what types of trainings and clearances you may need. However, this should help clarify the situation.

Public Events (Exploration-U, Haunted-U, Ask A Scientist, Open Mic Night, etc.)

For public events where children are attending with a parent/guardian, no clearances or special trainings are necessary.

Guest Speakers & Workshop Leaders (ENVISION Workshops, Think Outside the Beaker, Science-U Guest Presenters, etc.)

For registered events with children where you'll be in contact with them but they are not under your sole supervision, you must take mandated reporter training and send the certificate to the event organizer (or outreach@science.psu.edu if you're not sure who the event organizer is.) See "Building a Safe Penn State: Reporting Child Abuse" Training below.

Mentors (ENVISION, Science-U, etc.)

If you are a mentor who will be supervising children, paid or volunteer, you are legally required to have three publicly available clearances AND mandated reporter training. These are the same three clearances necessary to be a teacher and are absolutely necessary to ensure legal compliance and the safest possible environment for children at our programs. See below for details.

    Building a Safe Penn State: Reporting Child Abuse

    This training must be completed every year. (The training certificate expires 365 days after the date the training was completed.) The training must be completed in order to learn how to recognize child abuse and how to properly report child abuse. This is a 1 hour online training. Provided below are the directions for completing the training. 

    • Go to the Learning Resource Network (LRN) page at http://lrn.psu.edu/
    • Log in: If you are not a PSU employee, click "Volunteer/Other". You will then be able to login with your existing LRN username/password or create an account. If you are a PSU employee, click "Faculty, Staff, & Wage". You will be able to either login with your PSU Access Account or create an LRN username/password if you do not have an Access Account.  (If this does not work, please see troubleshooting tips below.)
    • Once you have logged in, search for "Building a Safe Penn State: Reporting Child Abuse" in the upper right-hand corner. The training should appear.
    • If you HAVE taken the training in past years, click "Request", NOT "Launch". This will make sure that a new instance of the training opens. If you have NOT taken the training before, simply click "Launch".
    • Once you have completed the training, send your certificate of completion to sciencecamps@science.psu.edu 

    If you suspect that a child has been or is at risk of being abused or neglected, anyone can report by using ChildLine either at this link for an e-form or by calling 1-800-932-0313. Penn State employees, volunteers, and contractors must also follow AD72 and complete all steps outlined therein. 

    • If you've already taken the training and need to retake it to get an updated certificate,click "Request" not "Launch".  This will open a new session of the training that will allow you to get an updated 
    •  If you have NOT made an LRN account before: Click 'New Employee' --> 'Create LRN Account'. Fill in the requested info on the next screen. For email, use your PSU email. When finished, click "Login" and you should be able to access the LRN site and search for the "Building a Safer Penn State" training. If you need to leave and log back in later, you should be able to click the "Faculty, Staff, & Wage" login option and then select "Login with Access Account"
    • If you HAVE created an LRN account before and cannot access:  If you were trying to login through the "Faculty, Staff, & Wage" option and are unable to get access when you click "Login with Access Account", try exiting and reopening lrn.psu.edu. Then click the "Volunteer/Other" button, click "Volunteer/Other Login", and then click "Login" by the "Have a Penn State Access Account?" question that appears at bottom right. If the above step does not work, your account may be inactive. Call the Office of Workplace Learning & Performance at 814-865-8216 and ask them to check if your account can be reactivated. (You will likely need to provide your 9-digit PSU ID number.)
    • Call the ITS Help Desk at 814-865-4357 if you continue to have trouble accessing the training. This could mean that there are issues with your LRN account.

    Publicly Available Clearances

    Individuals (employees or volunteers) who will have extended contact with youth, such as mentors, directors, and instructors must obtain the following publicly available background clearances as required by Pennsylvania state law and Penn State University Human Resources policies. 

    • Pennsylvania State Police Criminal Background Check (SP4-164)
    • Pennsylvania Child Abuse History Clearance Form (CY-113) 
    • Federal (FBI) Fingerprint Background Check (Criminal History Report)  

    Employment and volunteering with the Eberly College of Science outreach program is contingent upon completion of these clearances and it is suggested that individuals start the process as soon as an offer of employment or volunteer position has been received and accepted. See below for detailed instructions on obtaining clearances.

    Background Checks/Clearances

    Click on the category below that best describes you!

    Instructions for Obtaining Clearances: 

    • Click here to find a document of instructions for obtaining these publicly available clearances.
    • Note- due to HR guidelines, Penn State graduate students must apply for all their clearances for employment, not as a volunteer. This means you also may not use the PA Resident 10-year exemption for FBI fingerprinting. We will reimburse you for your checks, so keep your receipts!
    • As a volunteer, the PA State Police and Child Abuse History clearances will be free. The Federal (FBI) Fingerprint Background Check (Criminal History Report)  is not free, but can be reimbursed by bringing your receipt to our office in 217 Ritenour Building. 
    • If you are volunteering and have been a PA state resident for the last 10 years, you will not need the Federal (FBI) Fingerprint Background Check (Criminal History Report). 
    • As of June 1, 2018, the FBI fingerprint location in State College has changed to 426 S Allen St. The instructions in the link above list this correct address, but if you are referencing an old copy of the clearance instructions you may have the wrong address.
    • Please note that the FBI Fingerprint Clearance results ONLY come via paper mail. They do not send any digital notifications or copies of results. The mailed clearance will be sent to the personal address you list in your application, not your business/work address.
    • Take your clearances to Eberly HR, 512 Thomas Building
    • Contact outreach@science.psu.edu if you have any questions. 

    Instructions for Obtaining Clearances: 

    • Click here to find a document of instructions for obtaining these publicly available clearances.
      Be sure to fill out the clearances for employment. Do NOT fill them out for the Department of Education- those clearances are inaccessible to HR Shared Services (311 Building, Innovation Park) and you will have to redo them for regular employment.
    • You will be informed by HR Shared Services when they're ready to have an appointment with you. Be sure to bring your original clearances with you. Copies will be made and your originals will be returned to you.
    • Keep your receipts so we can reimburse you. Bring them to Karen Seitz in 217 Ritenour.
      As of June 1, 2018, the FBI fingerprint location in State College has changed to 426 S Allen St. The instructions in the link above list this correct address, but if you are referencing an old copy of the clearance instructions you may have the wrong address.
    • Please note that the FBI Fingerprint Clearance results ONLY come via paper mail. They do not send any digital notifications or copies of results. The mailed clearance will be sent to the personal address you list in your application, not your business/work address.
      Contact outreach@science.psu.edu if you have any questions. 

    We can use clearances that you already have IF:

    • They were completed for employment (if you're being employed.) We cannot use volunteer clearances for employment.
    • They were completed within the last five years (and do not expire during the program.)
    • They were not completed for the Department of Education, as HR cannot verify these.

    Please email your point of contact or outreach@science.psu.edu for detailed instructions. You will need your background checks as described for mentors above, but whether you take them to HR Shared Services or Eberly HR will depend on several factors.

     

    Questions?

    Learn More about the Office of Science Outreach Here

    Contact us via email at outreach@science.psu.edu or give us a call at (814) 865-0083

     Office of Science Outreach, 201 Ritenour Building, University Park, PA 16802

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