Volunteer Clearances: How do I obtain my clearances?

The process for obtaining background clearances may be initiated online. The following instructions, together with the embedded links, will assist you in beginning the process of obtaining your clearances. Three documents are required. Under the circumstances described below, the Affirmation form may replace the need for FBI fingerprints. More information about each document is available at the bottom of the page.

  1. Pennsylvania Child Abuse History Certification  - https://www.compass.state.pa.us/cwis/public/home
  2. Pennsylvania Criminal History Background Check - https://epatch.state.pa.us
  3. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Criminal Background Check OR
    Lower Merion School District Volunteer Affirmation

Submitting Clearances to LMSD

Once obtained, original clearance documents must be submitted to the Human Resources Department in the District's Administration Building for inspection and copying in one of two ways. When submitting, please include your student's name, grade and school.

  1. Submit the required original documents to the following address: Lower Merion School District/HR/Volunteer, 301 E. Montgomery Ave., Ardmore, PA 19003. 
    OR,
  2. Original documents may also be personally presented for copying in the District's Department of Human Resources (301 E. Montgomery Ave., Ardmore, PA 19003) for immediate return during the following times:

Tuesdays: 8:30 a.m. - noon
Thursdays: Noon - 4:30 p.m.

If you have any questions or need assistance, please contact the Office of School and Community Relations at 610-645-1977.

Clearance Information

1. Pennsylvania Child Abuse History Certification

The Pennsylvania Child Abuse History Clearance can be completed online for the quickest results. Once you enter the link you will be directed to the Pennsylvania Child Welfare Portal where you must create an account or log in if you already have an account. (Note: you will need an email address to create an account.) Click here to submit the Pennsylvania Child Abuse History Clearance application (https://www.compass.state.pa.us/cwis/public/home). There is no fee for this clearance.

2. Pennsylvania Criminal History Background Check

The Pennsylvania Criminal Record Check can be done either online or by mail. The online results are available right away. If you choose to mail the form, it could take up to 8 weeks for the results to be returned to you. To complete the process online, go to https://epatch.state.pa.us and click on "New Record Check (Volunteers Only)" and follow the instructions. In the Volunteer Organization Name box, put Lower Merion School District. In the Volunteer Organization Telephone Number, put 610-645-1800. At the end of the process, you will need to print two copies of the certification form. You must click on "certification form" in order to pull up the correct form to print. Please keep a copy of your Criminal Record Check for your personal records. There is no fee for this clearance.

3. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Criminal Background Check OR
Lower Merion School District Volunteer Affirmation

Affirmation: The FBI Criminal Background Check is not required if a Tier I Volunteer has been a resident of Pennsylvania for the entirety of the previous ten-year period and swears or affirms by properly executing a Lower Merion School District Volunteer Affirmation that he or she is not disqualified from service and has not been convicted of a prohibited offense listed in existing law or a similar offense in another jurisdiction. Please click here for the affirmation form.

FBI Check: The Pennsylvania Department of Human Services utilizes Cogent Systems to process fingerprint-based FBI criminal background checks. The fingerprint based background check is a two-step process including online registration and fingerprinting taken digitally at a registered site. For more information and to begin the registration process, go to https://www.pa.cogentid.com/index_pdeNew.htm. Please be sure to choose the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) when registering. There is a $27 fee for this clearance which includes an automatic mailed unofficial copy of the results to the applicant.

Once you have registered, proceed to an approved fingerprinting site to be digitally fingerprinted. A list of approved locations is available on the Cogent website. Please note that the UPS Store in Wynnewood is a drop-in site for fingerprints (no appointment required). Your Registration Number starting with "PAE..." must be provided to the District so your results can be retrieved.