› Diocesan Safe Environment Policy
The Diocese of Pittsburgh has created a Safe Environment policy for all adults who encounter children while volunteering at our parish. The purpose of this policy is to:
Take reasonable measures to assure that Church Personnel comply with all required certifications and background checks to permit the necessary assessment of suitability for contact with children with the purpose of providing a safe environment for children.*
As of May 1, 2008, the Diocese has explicitly defined the ministries whose members qualify as Church Personnel and must comply with the Safe Environment policy. They include the following:
- Bereavement Volunteer
- Child Care Giver
- Choir Member
- Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion
- Usher/Greeter/Minister of Hospitality
If you wish, you may read Bishop Zubik's letter to people required to join the database here.
N.B. Several of the requirements, such as the FBI report (fingerprinting) and the online training for mandated reporters, are required by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
The policy requirements are as follows:
1. Obtain a Pennsylvania State Police Criminal Report
- Please obtain a request form from the parish office, fill out the "Subject" area and sign. The volunteer version of the form is also available in PDF here.
- Please submit the form to the parish office.
2. Submit a form for a Pennsylvania Department of Human Services Report (Child Abuse)
- Complete a Pennsylvania Child Abuse History Certification form and submit it in an unsealed envelope to the parish office. The form is available in PDF here.
- Submit a release form to the parish office to allow the parish to receive the Department of Human Services Report. The release is available here.
- The parish will pay the processing fee.
3. Obtain an FBI Criminal History Report (Fingerprinting)
- Contact the parish office to obtain a form for fingerprinting. The parish will pay the fee.
- Go to an approved site for your fingerprinting. A list is available at the CogentID site here (+).
- A volunteer may be excused from the FBI Criminal History Report requirement if he or she has been a Pennsylvania resident continuously for the previous 10 years, has not been convicted of a “Disqualifying Offense” as listed on pages 8 and 9 of the Safe Environment Policy (available in PDF here) and signs a Volunteer Disclosure Statement Application to this effect. The Application is available in PDF here. Volunteers who are current residents of Pennsylvania (but have not been residents for the entire 10 years prior) need only obtain an FBI Criminal History Report once at any time since establishing residency in Pennsylvania and, thereafter, must complete a Volunteer Disclosure Statement Application Form.
4. Complete an application on the Diocesan Centralized Database:
- Visit the diocesan website here (+).
- Fill out the New User Registration online form.
- The access code is “PROTECT.”
- An instruction card is available in PDF here.
5. Read the Code of Pastoral Conduct (CPC) and sign the back page
- The CPC booklet is available in the parish office and in PDF here.
- Please read and become familiar with the booklet. Then complete the back page “Acknowledgement of Receipt,” and return it to the parish office.
6. Read "Reporting of Child Abuse and the Child Protective Services Law of Pennsylvania" and sign the back page
- The brochure is available in the parish office and in PDF here.
- Please read and become familiar with the brochure. Then complete the back page “Acknowledgement of Receipt,” and return it to the parish office.
7. Attend a "Protecting God’s Children" for Adults Session (PGC)
- All Church Personnel are to complete the Virtus® training program, "Protecting God’s Children," at either a diocesan-sponsored class or through the Virtus® online training course within 90 days of commencement of service. PGC educates adults about how to protect children from child sexual abuse.
- PGC is offered frequently throughout the Diocese and requires 3 hours of your time.
- PGC workshops are listed on the diocesan website here (+). The online training is available here (+). Please submit your certificate to the parish office.
8. Complete an online training course if you are a Mandated Reporter
- All clergy, all school employees, all school volunteers and all other employees and volunteers who are responsible for the welfare of a child or have regular contact with children (including, at a minimum, those individuals or their equivalent as named in Appendix D of the diocesan Safe Environment Policy here) must complete the online course, "Recognizing and Reporting Child Abuse: Mandated and Permissive Reporting in Pennsylvania" within 90 days of commencement of service.
- The Training Course is available on the University of Pittsburgh website here (+). Please submit a copy of your certificate to the parish office.
All of the information above is available online at www.diopitt.org. A list of links to essential documents may be found on the diocesan website here (+). The Safe Environment Policy is available in PDF here.
If you have any questions regarding any of these requirements, please:
Contact: Amy Condosta, St. Scholastica Safe Environment Coordinator
Phone: (412) 781-0186 x11
*From the Diocese of Pittsburgh, "Policy: Safe Environments for Children," Revised October 1, 2015.
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