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Criminal History Background Checks 

Pennsylvania Criminal History Background Check

The Older Adults Protective Services Act (OAPSA), as amended by Act 169 of 1996 and Act 13 of 1997, mandates that specific facilities require applicants for employment to submit criminal history record information. Prior to applying for employment, the applicant will need to obtain a criminal history record check from the Pennsylvania State Police. 

State Police Background Check

Request a Criminal History Record

Federal Criminal History Background Check

If an applicant/employee has not been a resident of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania for two years (without interruption) immediately preceding the date of application for employment or currently lives out-of-state, the applicant/employee will also need to obtain a Federal Criminal History Record Check. These background checks must be completed as follows:

  1. Register online
  2. Take registration number and a photo ID to a Cogent Fingerprinting Location 
  3. Fingerprints will be sent to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the results will then be sent to the Department of Aging.  PDA will forward the results to the applicant and send a letter to the facility notifying them that the results were sent to the applicant. The facility will then review the results and exercise its discretion to make an employment determination.

Fingerprints submitted on fingerprint cards are no longer accepted. 


Peake v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, et al., 216 M.D. 2015

The Commonwealth Court held in Peake v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania that it is unconstitutional for the offenses listed in the Older Protective Services Act to result in a lifetime employment ban without further evaluation. Although Background Checks are still required, it is recommended that a facility perform an individualized risk assessment on a case by case basis and consult with their respective counsel regarding employment.

Response to Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania’s decision in Peake v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, et al., 216 M.D. 2015

The following is an updated response to the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania’s decision in Peake v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, et al., 216 M.D. 2015:
On December 30, 2015, the Commonwealth Court held in Peake v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, et al., 216 M.D. 2015, that the “lifetime employment ban” contained in Section 503(a) of the Older Adults Protective Services Act (“OAPSA”), 35 P.S. §10225.503(a), violates due process guarantees under the Pennsylvania Constitution and is therefore not enforceable. The Court also held that the Department of Aging’s (“Department”) previously posted “Interim Policy” (pertaining to the employment of individuals with certain criminal convictions caring for older adults) is invalid.
After evaluation and in consultation with the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General, the Commonwealth has decided not to appeal the Court’s order. The Department anticipates legislative action regarding OAPSA.
Please note that criminal history background checks are still required for all applicants.
The Department recommends that facilities subject to OAPSA requirements consult with an attorney prior to making an employment decision to ensure compliance with the Commonwealth Court’s guidance regarding exercising hiring discretion on a case-by-case basis. This guidance focused on the consideration of factors such as the nature of the crime; facts surrounding the conviction; time elapsed since the conviction; the evidence of the individual’s rehabilitation; the nature and requirements of the job and the performance of individualized risk assessments.

Further questions can also be directed to the respective licensing entity or the Department’s Criminal Background Record Unit at 717-265-7887.