Act 15



The Pennsylvania General Assembly has made significant amendments to the Child Protective Services Law. Under the new Act 15 (formerly Act 153) of the Pennsylvania’s Child Protective Services Law, all current school district employees, volunteers and contractors must obtain the following clearance and background checks every 60 months (five years):

Timeline for Background Check Renewal

On July 1, 2015, the Pennsylvania legislature passed Act 15, which amends the Child Protective Services Law and clarifies some changes made through Act 153. The most significant change to the Child Protective Services Law is that employees of school districts must renew their clearances every 60 months (five years), not every 36 months (three years).

The school district has updated the renewal process to comply with the change in law by placing employees into annual renewal cycles based on hire year.  For each upcoming cycle, employees will be required to renew by December 31 of the year prior to clearance expiration to ensure compliance for the full 60 month period. A notice will be sent via email to employees with specific information on their upcoming renewal period.

Please click here to view a table that will assist in determining when your clearances are due.

Failure to comply with this State of Pennsylvania mandated requirement could result in disciplinary action or your inability to remain in an active employee status.

Act 15: New Background Check Requirements

Includes child abuse clearance, Pennsylvania Criminal History and FBI Fingerprinting

How do I get my background checks?

The required three clearances include child abuse clearance, Pennsylvania Criminal History and FBI Fingerprinting.Please refer to table below for information on how to apply for clearances.

How to Access Fee Summary For Assistance
Child Abuse Clearance $8
  • Creating an account and submitting your clearance application online will give you immediate access to your results or the status of your results if your results cannot be processed immediately.
  • Results will be posted to your account and will be available to view and save as a PDF document.
  • Be sure to download and save your clearance results.
Pennsylvania Criminal History $8
  • Results of the PA Criminal History are generally instantaneous. Results will be provided as a PDF document.
  • Remember to save your criminal results.
FBI Fingerprinting $27 Applying for FBI fingerprinting clearance is a multi-step process:

  • Register with Cogent systems online or by phone at 1-888-439-2486. When registering, select the Department of Education option—PDE option. Be sure to grant your permission for the school district to obtain your results.
    • You must registerprior to going to the fingerprint site.
  • Record your Registration Identification Number or “PAE” Number:
    • Cogent will provide this number to you upon registration. Your identification number will begin with the letters “PAE.” Please keep track of PAE number as you will need to provide this number when you go to the fingerprinting site and to the school district.
  • Find a convenient fingerprinting site on
    • Please note that you will be required to have a valid ID present at the fingerprinting site.
    • At this time, The School District of Philadelphia’s Office of Talent is unable to provide fingerprinting services to our employees.  We strongly encourage you to find the site that is convenient to your school location and/or home.  If and when the office is able to accommodate staff, this page will be updated with hours.

Frequently Asked Questions

You can upload the documents online, email, or hand-deliver the documents as described below.

Online Submission: A dedicated online system is available to collect and track clearances. Scan and save each document as an individual PDF file.  To submit your clearances online:

  • Navigate to your School District login page ( and sign in.
  • On your login page, click the green “Clearances” icon to access the portal where you will upload your clearances. 

NOTE: The Tracking System will only accept PDF files!

Email Submission:  Scan and save the documents as indivdual PDF files.  Attach files to email and send to

Hand Delivery of Paper Submission:  Clearances may be submitted in person to Employee Records, located at 440 North Broad Street, Philadelphia PA,  First Floor, Suite 177 during business hours. Be sure to retain a copy of each document submitted for your records.

Sign into the employee Login page, and your six-digit employee ID will be listed at the top of the page, under your name.

For instructions on how to scan using your school or office copier, please review the email to scan document.

Paper Submission (hand-delivery only): Clearances may be submitted in person to Employee Records, located at 440 North Broad Street, Philadelphia PA,  First Floor, Suite 177 during business hours. Be sure to retain a copy of each document submitted for your records.

Please contact with any questions you may have regarding clearances.

You can also call 215-400-4600, Option 7.

The Child Abuse Clearance certificate number is found in the upper right hand corner of your certificate.  See sample Child Abuse Certificate.

The PA Criminal Background Check number is found on your criminal check certificate. The number generally begins with an “R.” See sample PA Criminal Background Check Certificate.

The FBI Fingerprint reference number is the PAE number found your fingerprint results. See sample Fingerprint Result.  Please note that your PAE number can also be found on your fingerprint receipt or proof of submission form.