Policy Assessment of Act 15 and WorkReady Philadelphia

You are here

Philadelphia Youth Network
Organization Overview: 

The Philadelphia Youth Network (PYN) is an intermediary organization dedicated to connecting systems and leveraging resources to increase the number of opportunities for youth. PYN has been working for nearly two decades with communities to create coordinated systems which promote the attainment of academic achievement, economic opportunity and personal success. We manage and support large-scale cross-sector initiatives while developing targeted programs to expand access to services for underserved young people.

Every year, PYN serves thousands of youth and young adults citywide through a network of local youth-service organizations and a variety of programmatic strategies that help youth build skills, further their education, and/or gain experience in over 900 local worksites.

Project Name: 
Policy Assessment of Act 15 and WorkReady Philadelphia
Project Type: 
Policy Analysis; Communication Plan
Project Overview: 

Under Pennsylvania state law Act 15 of 2015, which amends the provisions of the Child Protective Services Law, the state created new guidelines for clearances and background checks required to volunteer or work with minors. Prior to the passage of this law, PYN’s policies exceeded previous state requirements, and upon passage of Act 15, PYN implemented new strategies to ensure continued compliance.

Act 15 also introduced guidelines that would require program participants to obtain clearances and background checks for any programmatic experience that includes working with minors, including instances where participants are minors themselves. While PYN has long-standing processes in place to ensure adults working and volunteering in programs have appropriate clearances and background checks, this change in state law required PYN to develop and implement new strategies to ensure large numbers of participants obtained clearances and background checks before being allowed to participate in programs. Initial programmatic results indicate implementing these new requirements for participants decreased the number of youth PYN’s enrollment system could process and the number of opportunities that could be created.

Students should gain an understanding of the Act 15 requirements, PYN’s strategies implemented to comply, and the impact of those strategies on programmatic outcomes. Students should identify similar policies and common practices in other states as a comparison. This work will help PYN and partners understand the full impact of the policy changes and help PYN potentially identify areas for better efficiency and solutions.


Students are expected to produce a concise description of Act 15, PYN’s implemented strategies, and the programmatic impact based upon data, accompanied by recommendations for clear communication strategies to help partners easily understand the effect of Act 15 in PYN’s system of programs. Additionally, students will provide a comparative overview of similar policies and best practices from other states and any recommendations for increased efficiency in PYN’s strategies.

Spots Available: 
Executive; Full-Time
To Apply: 

To apply for this project, please contact Cassie Tomkins at ctomkins@upenn.edu.

Penn LPS

The lifelong learning division of Penn Arts & Sciences

3440 Market Street, Suite 100
Philadelphia, PA 19104-3335

(215) 898-7326

Facebook   Twitter   YouTube