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Safe Environment Tools and Resources
Safe Environment/Charter Compliance Requirements
All individuals (over the age of 18) who are either paid parish, school or diocesan personnel, regardless of position, or volunteers who have regular contact with children and youth must 1) receive Virtus training 2) undergo a background check prior to commencing their work or service, and 3) sign the Standard Code of Conduct as a condition of their employment or volunteer participation. Examples of volunteers who must meet these requirements are catechists, CYO coaches, boy/girl scout troop volunteers, field trip/retreat chaperones, etc. No one who has admitted to and/or been convicted of sexual misconduct or abuse involving a minor may serve in the Diocese of Albany as a professional or volunteer in any capacity with children or youth. Older teens who work or volunteer and who are under the age of 18 are not required to undergo a background check or to attend Virtus training, but must sign a Youth Code of Conduct.
Checklist for Charter Compliance
Employee or Volunteer Application
All employees and volunteers must complete an application form, which requires references and acknowledgement of any prior conviction of a crime.
Employment Application | Volunteer Application | Catechist and Youth Ministry Volunteer Application
All employees and volunteers who have regular contact with children or youth must undergo a criminal background check. The diocese has contracted with Summit Securities to handle background checks. Applicants give their name and email to the parish/school. Applicants will receive an email from Summit to begin screening. Employees and volunteers must have a cleared check before commencing employment or volunteering. Parishes and Schools will be notified via email within 48 hours regarding clearance.
Instructions for Background Check
Additional Recommendation for Background Screening
All church volunteers who minister to the homebound, nursing home residents, etc. should be thoroughly screened for suitability through a review of their volunteer applications, personal interviews, reference checks, etc. It is also recommended that those who seek to volunteer in this capacity who are new to the parish or these ministries should undergo a criminal background check. Additionally, training materials and written guidelines for those working in these ministries are available through the Pastoral Care Ministry Office, Harley McDevitt, Director, (518) 641-6823. Please note, these volunteers do not have to be identified in the annual safe environment Charter compliance reporting via the Notitiae.
Virtus Training for Adults
All employees and volunteers who are subject to Charter compliance mandates are required to receive training in child sexual abuse awareness and prevention. Our Diocese uses the program Virtus: “Protecting God’s Children”, a training presentation which teaches adults the nature and scope of Sex abuse and the five basic steps of child sexual abuse prevention. The Diocese trains volunteer facilitators each year who are available to provide training at parishes and schools. To arrange a training please contact the Office of Human Resources and Safe Environment.
- All participants should register online for the training.
- Virtus Online
Codes of Conduct
All employees and volunteers 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 or school.
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.
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 | Korean | Spanish | Vietnamese
Children and Youth Training
At this time, all parishes in the Albany Diocese are expected to do the following:
For Parents: Each year, parents must be advised of the parish plans for safe environment training and are given the opportunity to opt their children out if they wish. Parents are given supplementary Parent Data Sheets (in English
), and parishes are encouraged to make other parent materials available to families. Families are encouraged to review the scripts of the diocesan DVDs. A parent meeting plan and a parent-child session plan are included in the Safe Environment curriculum materials (available from our “resources” section below) if a parish or cluster wishes to enhance their interaction with parents.
Office of Safe Environment and Catholic Formation Curriculum, Diocese of Albany (2014 Revision) contains a general overview of the training program and requirements for parish implementation, lesson plans, strategies for implementation at the parish level, resources and appendix.
Liturgical Ministry Policy for known sex offenders
Faith Formation Programs - Registered Sex Offender Guidelines
Albany Diocesan School Board Policy Regarding Sex Offenders
Checklist for Parish Charter Compliance
Checklist for School Charter Compliance
Poster: How to Report Sexual Abuse
Brochure: Working Together to Prevent Child Sexual Abuse
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