Background checks are required for all prospective parents in an adoption matter. In Pennsylvania, there are three background checks that are required: Pennsylvania Child Abuse History Clearance through the Department of Human Services, Pennsylvania Criminal Record Checks through the State Police, Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) Criminal Background Check through the Department of Welfare. These same background checks must also be completed for all other adult household members where the adoptee will reside. At this time, requests for checks for the Pennsylvania Child Abuse History Clearance and Pennsylvania Criminal Record can be done online. The FBI Criminal Background check does require fingerprinting to complete. An appointment is recommended and can be made online. You will need to bring certain forms of ID to your appointment and should specify the check is for prospective adoption.

The cost for each background check is nominal and is due at the time of service. Presently, the Pennsylvania Child Abuse History Clearance is $13, the Pennsylvania Criminal Record Check is $22, and the FBI Criminal Background Check is $23.85. These costs are per person. Clearances should be attached to your adoption petition and/or submitted to the social worker who completes your home study. Clearances are valid for a year. Clearances can be transferred for other use including volunteering or employment. For more information on the required clearances visit http://keepkidssafe.pa.gov/resources/clearances/index.htm