"Promise to Protect”
A comprehensive child safety and child sexual abuse prevention program, which creates a network of prevention and protection for the children entrusted into the Archdiocese’s care.
The Archdiocese has established the Safe Environment Program. The mission of this Program is to oversee the training of and background checks for all Archdiocesan clergy, employees, and volunteers who have regular contact with children. It also disseminates the Archdiocesan standards of behavior for individuals working with children and young people, provides safe environment training for children, young people and adults, and trains parish and school staff to monitor compliance with archdiocesan policies and the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops (USCCB) Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People as well as compliance with mandatory reporting laws. Compliance Guidelines have been created outlining what is required of school and parish employees, school and parish volunteers, priests, deacons, seminarians, and pastoral center employees (see USCCB Charter and Norms).
Safe Environment – How to obtain your clearances
As clergy, staff or volunteers of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, you are the first line of defense in the Archdiocese’s commitment to keep the children entrusted in its care safe from abuse. Archdiocesan policy requires all clergy, as well as all parish, school and Archdiocesan staff to obtain background checks. Volunteers who have any possible contact with children must also obtain background checks.
The following guidelines are reflective of the 2015 changes to Pennsylvania Child Protective Services Law and Archdiocesan Policy for the Protection of Children and Young People effective July 1, 2015.
Archdiocesan policy requires all Church personnel, including priests, religious, deacons, pastoral ministers, employees, school employees, parish employees, contract employees, to obtain clearances, as required by Pennsylvania law. This includes any individual 14 years of age or older applying for or in a paid position as an employee responsible for the welfare of a child or having direct contact with children, as well as all volunteers (unpaid) who may have any possible contact with or responsibility for children.
Archdiocesan compliance guidelines state that clearances should be submitted prior to the commencement of employment or volunteer service. There are certain circumstances under which provisional status might be approved.
The following clearances must be obtained by volunteers living in PA for less than 10 years:
NOTE: If you are going to be a 1-time chaperone on a school field trip - you just need your background checks. If you are going to be a chaperone for more than 1 school field trip - you need your background checks and training.
Obtaining Required Background Checks
Safe Environment Part I: Protecting God's Children, provides basic facts about child sexual abuse and adults’ roles in prevention. Attendance is expected within 90 days of hire. To register hold Ctrl and click here.
See 1. below for more detailed instructions.
Mandated Reporter Online Component
Safe Environment Part II: Mandated Reporting of Suspected Child Abuse, provides an overview of Archdiocesan reporting procedures for suspected child abuse and Pennsylvania Child Welfare Laws. This training is mandatory for all new clergy, as well as staff and volunteers who began service after December, 2011 or did not take the training in person.
Mandatory Reporting of Child Sexual Abuse, is available in English and Spanish. Hold Ctrl and click here to login to the Training Institute and begin the training.
Please note that if you began service before December, 2011, but did not attend the Mandated Reporter training, you are out of compliance and must complete the online training.
See 2. below for more detailed instructions.
Review of the Technology Addendum
This training module is only pertinent to those staff and volunteers who attended the Safe Environment/Protecting God's Children Training before July 1, 2011. From this date forward the addendum has been included in the new Safe Environment Foundational Training.
See 1b. below for more detailed instructions.
1. Classroom Component - Virtus
“Safe Environment Part I: Protecting God’s Children” (Virtus)
provides basic facts about child sexual abuse and adults’ roles in prevention.
· Go to www.virtusonline.org to register for a class
· On the left, click on ‘registration’
· Select, ‘view a list of sessions’
· Select, Philadelphia PA (Archdiocese)
· Complete registration
· This class is attended in person and takes approx. 2-1/2 hours
· A certificate will be mailed by the Archdiocese to the “Place of Service” you entered on your “Standards for Ministerial Behavior form”. (You should enter your parish - St. Titus, as place of service).1a. Signed “Standards for Ministerial Behavior”
“Safe Environment Part II: Mandated Reporting of Suspected Child Abuse”
provides an overview of Archdiocesan reporting procedures for suspected child abuse and Pennsylvania Child Welfare Laws. This training is mandatory for all new clergy, as well as staff and volunteers who began service after December, 2011 or did not take the training in person.
· Once you receive your certificate of completion, forward it to St. Titus’ Parish Office or scan and email it to: firstname.lastname@example.org to complete your clearance packet.