Safety Comes First at Campus Ministry

Brittany Lovette, Reporter

Students who want to participate in Campus Ministry activities that involve children face new clearance procedures.

Members of the three Campus Ministry groups, Girl Power, College Kids for Girls and College Kids for Boys, are now required to get the Pennsylvania Child Abuse History Clearance and the Pennsylvania State Criminal Background Check.

“The clearances that are required are the Pennsylvania State Child Abuse Clearances and the Pennsylvania State Criminal Background Check,” said junior and a Girl Power leader Amanda Lee. “They just tell the employer that you do or do not have a history of child abuse or that you do or do not have a criminal history.”

College Kids for Girls and College Kids for Boys are programs in which young children from the McGlynn Center  in Wilkes-Barre come to campus and interact with students through different activities and programs.

The Girl Power program is based at the McGlynn Center where students go to provide activities and games for the young girls.

Students were supposed to get their clearances beforehand but  the a new supervisor at the McGylnn Center now requires two clearances before they can attend the programs.

“The reason Girl Power, College Kids for Girls, and College Kids for Boys programs now need clearances for the volunteers is because there is a new Sister in charge of the McGlynn Center where we volunteer, “ said Lee. “It is technically required by law that anyone who spends a lot of time with the children needs to have all of their clearances in just in case something happens.”

These clearances last for an entire year. Any student who wants to volunteer with children is required to get the clearances as are students in education and other majors that involve interaction with children.

“It just means that you have a clean record and you’re trustworthy around the kids,” said junior and Girl Power/College Kids for Girls member Megan Lagé.

Lagé feels  the clearances are necessary to protect children because students work very closely with younger kids.

“They (clearances) can be a bit of a hassle just because some of us far away from home,” said Lagé.

Lee said that after she learned that she would be running Girl Power, she was required to get her clearances over the summer.  She also needed them for a class.

“I also needed my clearances for my service learning class this semester, but because I already had them completed within the year I did not have to get them redone,” said Lee.

Similarly, Lagé said she was required to have them for a service program.

“I actually got mine done last year because I was a SISPA (Scholars in Service of Pennsylvania) member so my clearances were able to just roll over because Campus Ministry had a copy of mine, ” said Lagé.

According to junior and another leader of Girl Power, Christina Tucci, there are two ways for a student to get these clearances.

“They can either go through Campus Ministry, which has the paperwork. Then you send it in yourself or you can do it all online,” said Tucci.

Information is available on the Campus Ministry website.

“The websites are listed on the Campus Ministry page and everyone even if they are out-of-state should complete the Pennsylvania State Clearances,” said Lee. “The Criminal Background Check comes back pretty quickly, but the Child Abuse clearances take about two weeks.”

Students must pay a fee for the clearances.

“Each one is I believe $10 but they are good for a year and you need a lot of them for your majors that can work with children or possibly will work with children,” said Tucci.

The background check can be completed all online, but the child abuse clearance must be sent to Harrisburg for approval and applicants must submit a money order.

“The Background Check was completed within the day. However, the Child Abuse Clearances took about three weeks to be mailed to the campus,” said Lee. “The child abuse clearances must go to Harrisburg and the beginning of semesters is when the State receives a large amount of clearances to be completed.”

“And then the other one is the child abuse clearances and for that you have to like send out a form and then I can’t recall if you have to go for fingerprints for that one or not. But there is two different forms to fill out,” said Lagé.

“It’s basically just for the safety of the children, ” said Tucci.

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