Safe Sanctuary Policy

In late 2014, the PA Legislature enacted sweeping changes to the Child Protective Services Law (CPSL), including but not limited to expansion of mandated reporters, expansion of individuals subject to required clearances from the PA State Police, Department of Human Services and the FBI, expansion of the frequency of the required clearances and imposition of significant criminal penalties for noncompliance.
So, what does all of this mean to the many volunteers that make the ministries possible at Grace? Simply put, any volunteer that may possibly have contact with a child or youth must now obtain the following required clearances:
  • PA State Police Criminal History Report
  • PA Department of Human Services Certification (formerly PA Child Abuse Clearance)
  • FBI Criminal History Report which requires fingerprinting. Volunteers may be excused from the FBI Criminal History Report if they have been a PA resident continuously for the previous 10 years, have not committed certain designated crimes and sign an Affidavit, see attached. Click here for a copy of the Volunteer Affidavit.
These clearances are required every 5 years. If you have the required clearances due to your involvement at work, school, scouting or other community organizations, we can accept a copy of the reports to fulfill the mandate. We are hopeful that although this new state law requires additional responsibility for our volunteers, the benefits of sharing your gifts and serving others will outweigh any inconvenience. Detailed information on this procedure can be found below.
As you all are aware, Grace takes the safety of our kiddos, vulnerable adults and volunteers to heart. We maintain an in-depth Safe Sanctuary policy for the entire building and adhere to the PA State mandates for all programming. For those of you who give of your time and talent to make our programming possible, thank you so very much! Regardless of the changes in state mandated clearance requirements, our awesome volunteer teams continue to do whatever is necessary to make Grace a safe place for all of those who enter our doors.
As part of the SUSUMC report to the Annual Conference, it was announced that a new online training platform, MinistrySafe, is required of all churches within our Conference. This decision was made as a result of the partnership between SUSUMC and the Philadelphia Insurance Company. Volunteers will still obtain clearances through respective authorities (outlined above).  The only change will be the Conference requirement for ALL staff and volunteers to complete the MinistrySafe online training IF prior training has not been completed.
If you completed the SUSUMC Certifications within the past year, then you will not need to complete the new online training at this time. The clearances and training’s are valid for five years. If your clearances need renewal or if the online training is required then you will receive notification either from Tammy Houck or a direct email from MinistrySafe. We want to thank all of our Grace volunteers for your continued cooperation, grace and gifts of service! Grace programming and outreach is not possible without all of YOU!
If you have any questions regarding this new policy and procedure, please feel free to contact Tammy Houck at or 717.566.2897.
2019 Safe Sanctuary Policy
2019 Cyber Safety Policy
Volunteer Clearance Instruction Sheet
Safe Sanctuary Participation Covenant