Welcome to the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare’s Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Background Clearance Page. 

The purpose of this page is to ensure individuals are aware of Act 73 of 2007 which was signed by Former Pennsylvania Governor Edward G. Rendell on December 18, 2007.  Act 73 amended Title 23, Pa. C.S. Chapter 63 (relating to the Child Protective Services Law), specifically § 6344 as it relates to background checks required as a condition of employment/approval.  We recommend that all affected persons, including foster and adoptive parent applicants and their adult household members, child care service employees and administrators, individuals applying for employment with a significant likelihood of regular contact with children, persons seeking to operate child care services, self-employed family day care providers and family day care home household members age 18 and over, as well as Community rRehabilitation rResidential (CRR) host home families, and respite provider families become familiar with both the law and regulation.

The law also requires that as of July 1, 2008, any prospective employee of a child care service, person seeking to operate child care services, individuals applying for employment with a significant likelihood of regular contact with children, self-employed family day care provider and family day care home household member age 18 and over, as well as Community Rehabilitation Residential (CRR) host home family, and respite provider family must obtain a fingerprint based FBI background check prior to approval.

FEDERAL (FBI) CRIMINAL HISTORY REPORT

Fee: $27.50

Money orders are made payable to 3M Cogent.

No cash, personal or business checks are accepted at print locations

Payment may be made online at www.pa.cogentid.com

The fingerprint-based background check is a multiple-step process:

   1. The applicant must register prior to going to the fingerprint site.  Walk in service without prior registration will not be provided at any fingerprinting location.  

Registration is available online 24 hours/day, seven days per week at www.pa.cogentid.com

Telephonic registration is available at 1-888-439-2486 Monday through Friday, 8am to 6pm EST.   During the registration process, all demographic data for the applicant is collected (name, address, SSN, etc.) there is no data entry required at the fingerprint collection site.

This registration will remain open for 90 days. If the registration is not used within 90 days, it will be automatically cancelled and the fee refunded as needed.

   2. The applicant will pay a fee of $27.50 for the fingerprint service and to secure the Criminal History Record.  Applicants may make their payment online at www.pa.cogentid.com using a credit card or debit card.  Money orders or cashiers checks payable to 3M Cogent will be accepted on site for those applicants who do not have the means to pay electronically.  No cash transactions or personal checks are allowed.

            a. 3M Cogent will also establish a billing procedure for these services from an appropriate requesting agency that is willing to pay the applicant’s fee.  Billing may only occur after the requesting agency has completed the 3M Cogent’s Agency Enrollment.  To establish a billing account visit the website www.pa.cogentid.com and download an application.  The billing account must be established prior to sending applicants to the fingerprint site.

  3. The applicant proceeds to the fingerprint site of their choice for fingerprinting.  The location of the fingerprint sites and days and hours of operation for each site will be posted on 3M Cogent’s website at www.pa.cogentid.com.  The location of fingerprint sites may change over time so applicants are encouraged to confirm the site location nearest to their location.

  4. At the fingerprint site the Applicant Livescan Operators (ALO) manage the fingerprint collection process.

  5. The fingerprint transaction begins when the ALO reviews the applicant’s qualified State or Federal photo ID before processing the applicant’s transaction.  A list of approved ID types may be found on the 3M Cogent’s website at www.pa.cogentid.com.  Applicants will not be processed if they cannot produce an acceptable photo ID. 
 
  6.  After the identity of the applicant has been established, all ten fingers are scanned to complete the process.  The entire fingerprint capture process should take no more than three to five minutes.

  7. The applicant’s scanned fingerprints will be electronically transmitted to the FBI as required by federal statute.

  8. DPW will receive the Federal Criminal History Record from the FBI.  DPW’s Background Check Unit through ChildLine and Abuse Registry will return the Federal Criminal History Record to the applicant.  The Record will be printed on standard 8.5” X 11” paper that when copied will reveal “Void if Copied.”.  This does not prohibit an employer from copying the applicant’s results letter, it is solely a means to verify that it is an official record. 

Do not contact 3M Cogent or the fingerprint site after your fingerprints have been submitted.  3M Cogent does not have the means to give the applicant the status of their background check.  Complete processing of their results should take no longer than 4 – 6 weeks.  If the applicant does not receive their results from DPW in this time frame, they should call (717) 783-6211

  9. The applicant will then provide the Federal Criminal History Record to their prospective employer.

Fingerprint Corrections and Resubmissions

In circumstances where a classifiable fingerprint record was not or cannot be obtained and immediately upon indication, 3M Cogent will take corrective action to re-submit, or re-print the applicant at no cost to the applicant.  This corrective action will be completed at the earliest possible time, and when applicable, that is convenient for the applicant.  3M Cogent will contact the applicant directly should this occur.   NOTE: Reprinting can be applied to each applicant one time only.  If fingerprinting must take place a third time the applicant must pay the full fee.

Submitting a Fingerprint Card

   Fingerprint cards are the only option for out-of-state applicants or optional for applicants who are unable to be printed electronically at a Livescan system within Pennsylvania.

Here are the steps to take to complete the process:

 

  • Find someone (local police jurisdiction or State Police) who is able to take ink-based fingerprints and place them on FBI fingerprint cards.  If you need fingerprint cards, you can download them from the FBI’s website at http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/background-checks/standard-fingerprint-form-fd-258.    
  • Register on-line at www.pa.cogentid.com.  Select the “Department of Public Welfare” and then select “register online.” Go through the online registration process.  Print out the last screen where it says you have completed registration. The fee can be paid online with a credit card or you can submit a money order (if using a money order make it payable to 3M Cogent).
  • Mail in the completed cards, a copy of the registration receipt and a money order (if applicable) to PA DPW Card Receiver, 3M Cogent, 5025 Bradenton Ave., Suite A Dublin, Ohio 43017 (address for 3M Cogent will be provided once you finish registering online).   
  • Important Note - The FBI needs two separate sets of ink print cards submitted before they will do a name search.  So, if there are any issues with having difficulty obtaining clear prints (medical condition that doesn’t allow you to fully open your hands, worn fingerprints, etc.) you might be required to submit a second set of fingerprints.  This isn’t always necessary, but if the first set isn’t clear and the FBI rejects them this will add a significant delay if you did not get two sets completed initially.  Please be sure to get two done, send them both and the second set will be held to see if the FBI rejects the first set.
  • Important Note – When you register on-line, you are going to enter your address.  This address is used to not only assist in the search of a criminal record but is also used to mail the results letter.  Be sure to enter an address where you can receive your results letter.        

 

Mail the completed fingerprint card (and money order if applicable) to:
3M Cogent
Attn: Fingerprint Card Scan PA DPW
5025 Bradenton Ave., Suite A
Dublin, OH 43017

Confidentiality (Security) of Applicant Information

On-site access to the Livescan equipment, and the data traveling from the equipment, is comprehensively secured and regulated by both 3M Cogent and the regulations governing the use of that data.

The Computer System - The system will be housed within a secured network that is protected by firewall devices configured explicitly to allow only permissible protocols and traffic.  3M Cogent will ensure that all devices procured under this process continue to adhere to the Commonwealth’s Security requirements.  The proposed systems will be configured to provide a point of defense with controlled access from both inside and outside the network.  The Livescan systems will be configured to support logging and audit capability.  Furthermore, the Livescan solution will support 128 bit encryption.

Inquiries or Questions

All information regarding process, policy, and fingerprinting locations may be found at www.pa.cogentid.com

Fingerprint applicants should contact (717) 783-6211.

Do not contact 3M Cogent or the fingerprint site after your fingerprints have been submitted.  3M Cogent does not have the means to give the applicant the status of their background check.  Complete processing of their results should take no longer than 4 – 6 weeks.  If the applicant does not receive their results from DPW in this time frame, they should call (717) 783-6211