› Diocesan Safe Environment Policy
The Diocese of Pittsburgh has created a Safe Environment policy for all adults who encounter children while volunteering at our parish. The purpose of this policy is to:
Take reasonable measures to assure that Church Personnel comply with all required certifications and background checks to permit the necessary assessment of suitability for contact with children with the purpose of providing a safe environment for children.*
As of May 1, 2008, the Diocese has explicitly defined the ministries whose members qualify as Church Personnel and must comply with the Safe Environment policy. They include the following:
- Bereavement Volunteer
- Child Care Giver
- Choir Member
- Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion
- Usher/Greeter/Minister of Hospitality
- Youth Ministry Volunteer
If you wish, you may read Bishop Zubik's letter to people required to join the database here.
N.B. Several of the requirements, such as the FBI report (fingerprinting) and the online training for mandated reporters, are required by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
The policy requirements are as follows:
1. Create an account on the diocesan Safe Environment Database
- Visit the diocesan website here (+).
- Fill out the New User Registration online form.
- The access code is: protect
- An instruction card is available in PDF here.
- Filling the online application will automatically run your PA State Police Clearance and allow you to complete the Code of Pastoral Conduct and Child Protective Services Law forms.
- Paper copies of the application are available in the parish office.
2. Submit a form for a Pennsylvania Child Abuse History Clearance
- Complete a Pennsylvania Child Abuse History Certification form and submit it in an unsealed envelope to the parish office. The form is available in PDF here.
- Submit a release form to the parish office to allow the parish to receive the Department of Human Services Report. The release is available here.
- Alternatively, you may submit the form online here (+). Please contact the parish office for a code number that will direct your information to our parish.
- This form is free for volunteers.
3. Obtain an FBI Criminal History Report (Fingerprinting)
- If you have been a Pannsylvania resident continuously for the previous 10 years, you may be excused from the FBI Criminal History Report requirement. This is the case if you have not been convicted of a “Disqualifying Offense” as listed on pages 8 and 9 of the Safe Environment Policy (available in PDF here) and you sign a Volunteer Disclosure Statement Application to this effect. The Application is available in PDF here. Volunteers who are current residents of Pennsylvania (but have not been residents for the entire 10 years prior) need only obtain an FBI Criminal History Report once at any time since establishing residency in Pennsylvania and, thereafter, must complete a Volunteer Disclosure Statement Application Form.
- If you do not meet the requirements above, go to the Identogo website here (+) and use code 1KG6ZJ to register. The parish will reimburse you for the cost.
4. Attend a "Protecting God’s Children" for Adults Session (PGC)
- All Church Personnel are to complete the Virtus® training program, "Protecting God’s Children," at either a diocesan-sponsored class or through the Virtus® online training course within 90 days of commencement of service. PGC educates adults about how to protect children from child sexual abuse.
- PGC is offered frequently throughout the Diocese and requires 3 hours of your time.
- PGC workshops are listed on the diocesan website here (+). The online training is available here (+). Please submit your certificate to the parish office.
5. Complete an online training course if you are a Mandated Reporter
- All clergy, all school employees, all school volunteers and all other employees and volunteers who are responsible for the welfare of a child or have regular contact with children (including, at a minimum, those individuals or their equivalent as named in Appendix D of the diocesan Safe Environment Policy here) must complete the online course, "Recognizing and Reporting Child Abuse: Mandated and Permissive Reporting in Pennsylvania" within 90 days of commencement of service.
- The Training Course is available on the University of Pittsburgh website here (+). Live classes are available here (+). Please submit a copy of your certificate to the parish office.
If you have any questions regarding any of these requirements, please:
Contact: Debbie VanDemark, St. Scholastica Safe Environment Coordinator
Phone: (412) 781-0186 x10
*From the Diocese of Pittsburgh, "Policy: Safe Environments for Children," Revised October 1, 2015.
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