Presentation on theme: "Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People Compliance at the Local Level Office for the Protection of Children & Young People Diocese of Savannah."— Presentation transcript:
Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People Compliance at the Local Level Office for the Protection of Children & Young People Diocese of Savannah
In accordance with provisions of the Charter, all dioceses are required to establish & maintain a Safe Environment Program. Explains the role of the Church in protecting our youth Explains the role of the Office for the Protection of Children & Young People Explains your role at the local (parish/school/agency) level This PowerPoint:
The Role of the Catholic Church In June 2002, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops adopted the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People Bishop J. Kevin Boland pledged to implement the Charter provisions here in the Diocese of Savannah. Bishop Gregory J. Hartmayer continues to endorse the implementation of the Charter provisions here in the Diocese of Savannah.
The Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People provides guidelines for establishing Safe Environments. In the Diocese of Savannah this is a 3 step approach. Safe Environments In the Diocese of Savannah Code of Conduct Awareness Training (VIRTUS) Screening
Who is required to comply with the 3 steps? Any adult (age 18 or over) whose duties include ongoing, unsupervised contact with minors (age 17 and younger). Coaches Ushers Eucharistic Ministers Music Directors Altar Server Trainers Youth Ministers & Aides Teachers Religious Education Instructors Paraprofessionals Counselors School Nurses Priests, Deacons, Vowed Religious Sisters and Brothers Seminarians Diaconal Candidates Church or School Sponsored Scout leaders & aides Chaperones Lunchroom & recess volunteers Nursery & other school care staff Any other adult employee/volunteer identified by the pastor/principal/agency director
By requiring this compliance The Catholic Church takes a pro-active step to ensure the safety of its youth. The Church provides valuable education that its members can use not only within church activities, but also in their day to day lives. The Church is making a dedicated effort to restore trust in its faith communities.
The Role of the Office for the Protection of Children & Young People Just as the Office for Child and Youth Protection at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops provides the focus for a consistent, ongoing, and comprehensive approach to creating a secure environment for young people throughout the Church in the United States, the Diocesan Office for the Protection of Children and Young People serves a similar role within the Diocese of Savannah. The Policy on the Sexual Abuse of Minors for the Diocese of Savannah was prepared by the Diocesan Advisory Board for the Protection of Children and Young People, endorsed by the Council of Priests and Board of Vicars, and approved by Bishop J. Kevin Boland.
Who we are Stephen B. Williams, Director (912) Joan B. Altmeyer, Safe Environment Coordinator (912) Other contact info: Catholic Pastoral Center 601 East Liberty Street Savannah, Georgia Telephone: (912) FAX: (912) Toll Free (in GA only): – Website:
By establishing this Office Directly assist its parishes, schools and agencies in establishing and maintaining safe environments Maintain a data base of those employees/volunteers who have completed the requirements for safe environment certification Monitor existing programs to ensure compliance with provisions of the Charter. The Diocese is able to:
Local Level Responsibility Each parish/school/agency is responsible for making sure each employee and volunteer whose duties include ongoing, unsupervised contact with minors has completed the following three requirements: Read and signed the Diocesan Code of Conduct Attended a VIRTUS awareness session and registered online Undergone a criminal background check
Step 1 – Code of Conduct The Diocesan Code of Conduct for Those Working with Minors must be read by all diocesan employees and volunteers. Furthermore, they must sign an acknowledgment that they have read, understand, and agree to abide by the provisions of this Code of Conduct. The signed acknowledgements will be maintained at the local level (parish/school/agency).
Step 2. - Awareness Training Those diocesan employees and volunteers identified as requiring awareness training on Child Sexual Abuse must complete this training and register online prior to beginning their ministry. In the Diocese of Savannah, the VIRTUS program Protecting Gods Children for Adults is used.
The VIRTUS Protecting Gods Children for Adults training session is led by a trained facilitator. The Diocese has facilitators in every deanery. Sessions are in English & Spanish and are presented throughout the Diocese. All who attend the session are required to register their attendance online at This registration builds a data base for each diocesan entity that will be used to help track Charter compliance. If the attendee does not register online, it is impossible to give the individual credit for attendance. Once online registration is confirmed, the attendee has access to additional information available at the VIRTUS website. Certain individuals, in various supervisory positions, will be required to visit the VIRTUS website monthly for bulletin information.
Step 3 - Screening A criminal background check must be completed. The background check must be renewed at least every 5 years. Fingerprinting through law enforcement agencies is preferred; however, the Diocese is also contracted with two commercial vendors, First Advantage and ScreeningONE, for background checks.
The USCCB requires every diocese to be audited by an outside agency each year to determine if the diocese is in compliance with provisions of the Charter.
To ensure the local entity (parish/school/agency) is in compliance, follow these simple steps: Identify an individual at the local entity to monitor/coordinate Safe Environment responsibilities. Make sure every employee and volunteer has completed the 3 requirements before they minister with children. Maintain a record at the entity level for each person with the dates they –Signed the Code of Conduct –Completed the background check –Attended the VIRTUS training and registered online Provide timely information on entity personnel to the diocesan Office for the Protection of Children and Young People in response to the annual request for updated information.
Annual Request for Updated Information Compiling your Records Every year, in preparation for the audit, each diocesan entity is provided with a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet containing information currently on file in the diocesan data base (this data can also be requested by the entity at any time during the year). The spreadsheet on our left is a typical example of what an entity is provided. Master Report, St. Helena Church Last NameFirst NameRolesCode of Conduct Background Check VIRTUS Training AdamsJaneCCD teacherNO8/24/20058/20/2005 BakerJohnUsher7/2/2007 5/1/2008 DurhamThomasPastor8/1/200412/5/200311/1/2003 MarksMichaelCoachNO 5/1/2008 NewtonCamilleScouts- Leader 9/3/2006NO8/15/2006 SmithSarahYouth Chaperone 3/24/2083/20/20083/1/2008
Master Report, St. Helena Church Last NameFirst NameRolesCode of Conduct Background Check VIRTUS Training AdamsJaneCCD teacherNO8/24/20058/20/2005 BakerJohnUsher7/2/2007 5/1/2008 DurhamThomasPastor8/1/200412/5/200311/1/2003 MarksMichaelCoachNO 5/1/2008 NewtonCamilleScouts- Leader 9/3/2006NO8/15/2006 SmithSarahYouth Chaperone 3/24/2083/20/20083/1/2008 The data for the spreadsheet is pulled directly from the VIRTUS website. That is why it is necessary for each person to register online after attending the VIRTUS training session. As an example, St. Helena Church has a paid Youth Director named Joseph Carter. Before Joseph was hired, the parish ran a background check on him. After being hired he signed the Code of Conduct and attended VIRTUS training. However, he neglected to register online at Consequently, Josephs information is not included in the diocesan data base. Joseph Carter, Youth Director
Local Entity Spreadsheet Upon receipt of your corrected report, The Office for the Protection of Children and Young People will have the data needed for the annual audit. Provide missing information Add new employees/volunteers not listed Notate personnel for deletion who are no longer in ministry with children Return corrected copy to the Diocese (maintain copy for local level) Master Report, St. Helena Church Last NameFirst NameRolesCode of Conduct Background Check VIRTUS Training Notes AdamsJaneCCD teacher 8/23/20058/24/20058/20/2005 BakerJohnUsher7/2/2007 5/1/2008DELETE – no longer a volunteer DurhamThomasPastor8/1/200412/5/200311/1/2003 MarksMichaelCoach4/14/2008 5/1/2008 NewtonCamilleScouts- Leader 9/3/20067/28/20068/15/2006 SmithSarahYouth Chaperone 3/24/2083/20/20083/1/2008 CarterJosephYouth Director 11/5/200811/6/200811/17/2008Please check – employee states they are registered online WatkinsHaroldUsher10/1/20031/14/20099/28/2003Please check – volunteer states they are registered online
Remember! The Diocese of Savannah will be in compliance only when all diocesan entities are in compliance. Safety of our Children Entity Compliance Diocesan Compliance Annual Audit
Frequently Asked Questions Sometimes it is not clear if a particular volunteer requires certification because of the unusual nature of their limited contact with minors. If a local entity has a question, contact the Diocese ( /4). A general rule is: when in doubt, always certify. A major purpose of the Safe Environment Program is to educate people. The more adults who are aware of the dangers, the more effective the local program. Why do ministries such as Eucharistic Minister and Usher require certification? Eucharistic Ministers may occasionally visit a home where there could be both a vulnerable adult and a minor. In some parishes, rest rooms are not located in the church, but in an adjacent building and an usher might accompany a young child. Educating adults may actually protect the adults as much as the children. I have an employee who has completed Safe Environment training with a program other than VIRTUS (another diocese, Boy Scouts, etc.). Does this satisfy Diocesan requirements? Because the Diocese of Savannah has contracted with VIRTUS for the basic program and continuing education, it is important that everyone receive the same training. However, if certification of other training is verified, ministry with minors could begin while the individual is awaiting the availability of a VIRTUS training session.
We have a new employee who attended VIRTUS training in another diocese and states they registered online. How do we get their information recorded for our entity? Please have the employee call the VIRTUS Helpdesk toll-free at The Helpdesk can transfer their profile from the original diocese to the Diocese of Savannah and add your entitys information. Who are the individuals who receive VIRTUS training bulletins online monthly? Active priests, seminarians, active permanent deacons, school principals/vice principals, school teachers (including substitutes), school counselors, school nurses, school media specialists, head coaches, directors of religious education, pastoral associates, youth ministry directors, altar server directors, nursery supervisors, scouting troop leaders, social service agency administrators. A volunteer at this parish states that he has already registered online but there appears to be no record. Have the individual contact the diocese ( /4). There are several possibilities as to what has transpired: the individual did not successfully register the first time; the individual originally registered with another entity (i.e., school, not parish).
My volunteer states they do not have internet access. How do they register online? Those individuals without internet access are asked to fill out a form by the facilitators at the time of their VIRTUS training. If they neglected to do so, please contact the diocese ( /4) for the form. My employee/volunteer has a signed certificate showing they attended VIRTUS training but they are not registered online. Shouldnt the certificate be sufficient proof for training? The certificate can help you at the local level keep track of who has attended VIRTUS, but unless someone registers online, the Diocese does not have that information. Each year, during the annual audit, the information provided to the auditors comes from the VIRTUS database. Therefore, if an employee or volunteer did not register on the VIRTUS website after attendance, the Diocese is unable to give that person credit for training. How does the auditor know when a diocesan entity has not registered all of their required employees/volunteers in the Safe Environment Program? The auditors have collected six years of numerical data for each diocese, and when added to supplemental information such as diocesan/parish/school directories, websites, bulletins, published news articles and photos, etc., there are numerous sources to compare against the diocesan VIRTUS database.
Remember, if you still have any questions, please contact us. Stephen B. Williams, Director (912) Joan B. Altmeyer, Safe Environment Coordinator (912) Catholic Pastoral Center 601 East Liberty Street Savannah, Georgia Telephone: (912) FAX: (912) Toll Free (in GA only):