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Safe Environment / Charter Compliance


Protecting Children and Young People

The Diocese of Albany is committed to meeting its responsibility of ensuring that our children and young people are safe from harm, especially that of sexual abuse.  We uphold the principles contained in the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, as adopted by the Bishops of the United States, by establishing standards and procedures for our parishes, schools and Diocesan offices. The Human Resources Director of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany serves as the Diocesan Safe Environment Coordinator and works with parishes and schools, to maintain compliance with the Charter.  For information, call (518) 453-6635 or e-mail human resources

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.

Background Screening

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:

  • Employment or Volunteer application
  • Authorization for Background check (keep in locked cabinet)
  • Authorized person at the parish makes an online request for background check to the screening agency and sends list of those to be checked via e-mail to Diocesan HR
  • HR receives the report and sends back confirmation of clean check for the parish to print and keep on file
  • Provide copy of NYS Correction Law Article 23-A to the employment applicant being screened


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.


Safe Environment 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.

Parent Safe Environment Materials

Parent 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: How to Report Sexual Abuse

Brochure: Working Together to Prevent Child Sexual Abuse  English  |  Spanish