Safe Environment Policy for Parish Volunteers
Archdiocesan policy requires that volunteers who may have any possible contact with children complete the following background checks and clearances:
Clearances for Volunteers Living in PA for Less than 10 years:
Clearances for Volunteers Living in PA Continuously for 10 years:
Volunteers who reside in Pennsylvania do not have a provisional period and must obtain clearances as outlined prior to beginning service.
Volunteers who reside in another state or country may serve for no more than 30 days as long as they provide clearances from their state or country of residence.
Volunteers who have regular contact with children (at least one time per week) are required to complete parts one and two of the Safe Environment training within 90 days of beginning their volunteer work.
- Part I: Protecting God's Children (instructor-led), is offered regularly at sites throughout the Archdiocese. The training provides basic facts about child sexual abuse and adults' roles in prevention. To register for this training visit www.virtus.org and click the registration link.
- Part II: The Mandatory Reporting of Suspected Child Abuse (online), is available online at the Office for Child and Youth Protection's website, http://childyouthprotection.org. Their Training Institute is available in English and Spanish. This training provides an overview of Archdiocesan reporting procedures for suspected child abuse and Pennsylvania Child Welfare Laws. The training should take you approximately one hour to complete.
Those who completed the Mandated Reporter Training prior to December 31, 2014, are required to sign and submit an acknowledgement form after reading the updated Mandated Reporter Brochure. These documents may be found below. The form should be submitted to Mary Kate Guerin at the rectory office.
Information about the trainings and copies of the clearance applications can be obtained from Mary Kate Guerin at the Rectory by calling 215-884-4022. The links above will allow you to obtain copies directly online. The State Police and Child Abuse History Clearances are free for volunteers. The FBI clearance must be obtained via the link above and has a nominal fee, which must be paid by the volunteer via Credit Card, and will be reimbursed by the parish once the results are submitted.
Effective July 27, 2015, there is no fee to obtain PA State Police and Child Abuse History Clearances for volunteers. The free clearances ONLY apply to volunteers. Employees must pay a nominal fee of $8.00 for each clearance. The fee for the FBI Clearance, which must be pre-paid when registering for fingerprinting, is applicable to both volunteers and employees.
Clearance Renewal Requirements
All required clearances, including FBI, must be renewed every three years (36 months).
Volunteers who have been a resident of Pennsylvania for less than 10 years must renew their FBI Fingerprint clearance until they reach 10 years of residency in Pennsylvania. Once the volunteer meets the 10 year residency requirement, they must complete a Disclosure Statement Application for Volunteers which must be submitted every three years.
Questions and Additional Information
Any questions concerning the Safe Environment Program should be directed to Mary Kate Guerin at 215-884-4022 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pennsylvania's New Child Protective Services Law
New PA Law concerning the definition and requirements of a Mandated Reporter of Child Abuse went into effect December 31, 2014. The law has been expanded to require volunteers and employees who have direct contact with children to report suspected abuse. Volunteers and employees have been required to report suspected abuse under Archdiocesan policy for some time. The difference now is that all volunteers are now required to report abuse by law, not just Archdiocesan policy. The new definition of a Mandated Reporter applies to all adults over 18 who come into direct contact with children even if it is only a one time occasion such as chaperoning a dance or trip.
While not all volunteers in direct contact with children may have to complete the Safe Environment trainings, all will be required to complete a PA State Police Background Check, PA Child Abuse History Clearance, and the online Mandated Reporter Training Session provided by OCYP. Volunteers will be informed of their particular requirements prior to beginning their role.