Employment and volunteer applicants who are subject to Charter compliance mandates must complete an application form, which requires references and acknowledgement of any prior conviction of a crime. They must also undergo a Social Security verification and criminal background check, which includes a check of the National Sex Offender Registry.
A new criminal background check should be performed for any employee or volunteer who moves to another parish, and new Code of Conduct should be signed and kept on file.
Tools for Parishes:
Virtus Training for Adults
Adults Who are subject to Charter compliance mandates are required to receive training in child sexual abuse awareness and prevention. Our Diocese uses a program entitled VIRTUS® “Protecting God’s Children”, a training presentation which teaches adults the five basic steps of child sexual abuse prevention. The Diocese trains volunteer Virtus facilitators each year who are available to provide this training at parishes and schools.
Codes of Conduct
Individuals who are subject to Charter compliance mandates should review the Guidelines for Appropriate Conduct and sign the Standard Code of Conduct, which should be kept on file at the parish.
An important aspect of creating a safe environment for children is ensuring responsible use of the computer. The Diocesan Technology policy should be distributed to employees and volunteers authorized to use the computer. They should sign the Review and Acceptance section which should be kept on file.
Training for Children
Child sexual abuse prevention includes empowering children by teaching them personal safety skills that help keep them safe from dangerous and abusive situations, including internet safety awareness. The Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany provides an age appropriate curriculum for Safe Environment training to be used by parish faith formation programs. Parishes are provided with training DVD’s for K - 2, and grades 3 - 5 as well as a DVD for middle through high school aged children, and are directed to present these DVD’s each year. Information on the training materials provided by the diocesan Office of Evangelization, Catechesis and Family life
Parishes advise parents each year that Safe Environment training will be presented. They encourage parental involvement in reinforcing what their children learn by providing information and materials so that parents may fulfill their role as the “primary educators” of their children. Parishes should also provide the opportunity for parents to “opt-out” of this training for their children, and must keep a written record of these op-outs.
Safe Environment Materials
Fact Sheet English | Spanish
For information and guidance relating to safe environment procedures and tools for parish catechetical programs, call the Diocesan Office of Evangelization, Catechesis and Family Life: (518) 453-6630.
Additional Recommendation for Background Checks
The Diocese is recommending that church volunteers who minister to the homebound, nursing home residents, etc. should undergo background checks. Additionally, training materials and written guidelines for those working in these ministries are being developed and will be made available through the Office of Pastoral Care, Harley McDevitt, Coordinator, (518) 4641-6823. Please note, these volunteers do not have to be identified in the annual safe environment Charter compliance reporting via the Notitiae.
Liturgical Ministry Policy for known sex offenders
Checklist for Parish Charter Compliance
Poster: Responding to Allegations of Abuse
Brochure: Working Together to Prevent Child Sexual Abuse English