Safe Environment Policies & Procedures

Following are the safe environment expectations for parish catechetical and youth ministry programs:

I. Directors of religious education and youth ministry, and all other parish staff, will be subject to a criminal background check, will read and sign a code of ethical standards and mandatory reporting statement, will attend a safe environment training session, and will continue their education through a periodic newsletter.

II. Catechists and other volunteers will be subject to a criminal background check, will read and sign a code of ethical standards and mandatory reporting statement, and participate in a safe environment training session.

III. The parish will offer age-appropriate abuse prevention education for children and youth enrolled in catechetical programs.

IV. The parish will offer abuse awareness and prevention education for parents and others in the parish community.

V. The parish will provide safe environments for children and youth by ensuring safe and secure facilities, providing adequate adult supervision, and implementing suitable program procedures.

 

For explanations and resources related to each of these policies,see below.


For complete information and resources related to Safeguarding All of God's Family, click here.


I. Directors of religious education and youth ministry, and all other parish staff, will be subject to a criminal background check, will read and sign a code of ethical standards and mandatory reporting statement, will attend a safe environment training session, and will continue their education through a periodic newsletter.

This pertains to all priests, parish directors, deacons, Directors of Religious Education and Directors of Youth Ministry (whether paid or unpaid), school and parish staff, and other paid or unpaid Church employees who have any contact with children or youth.

  1. A criminal background check will be completed prior to beginning employment and at least every five years thereafter.
  2. The individual must read and sign the "Mandatory Reporting Responsibilities" and the "Code of Ethical Standards for Church Leaders." A copy of the signed document will be kept on file at the parish.
  3. The individual must attend a Safe Environment Education session - a three-hour training session in sexual abuse awareness and prevention.
  4. Each staff person is required to continue their education regarding Safeguarding All of God's Family in the form of a quarterly Newsletter published by the Office of Sexual Abuse Prevention and Response Services.

 


II. Catechists and other volunteers will be subject to a criminal background check, will read and sign a code of ethical standards and mandatory reporting statement, and participate in a safe environment training session.

This pertains to catechists, group leaders, chaperones for field trips and overnight activities, and other adult volunteers who have regular contact with children or youth (including any individual who works, volunteers, or has contact with minors more than once a year; or who goes on an outing away from the parish with minors even once a year).
 

  1. A criminal background check will be completed before beginning their volunteer service and at least every five years thereafter.
  2. The individual must read and sign the "Mandatory Reporting Responsibilities" and the "Code of Ethical Standards for Church Leaders." A copy of the signed document will be kept on file at the parish.
  3. The individual must attend a Safe Environment Education session - a three-hour training session in sexual abuse awareness and prevention - before beginning their volunteer service. (If completion is impossible in a given case, the parish must contact the archdiocesan Safe Environment Coordinator for assistance and guidance.)

Related Resources:
Code of Ethical Standards
Mandatory Reporting Responsibilities

 


III. The parish will offer age-appropriate abuse prevention education for children and youth enrolled in catechetical programs.

It is expected that in each classroom, every year, there will be at least one presentation to assist children in acquiring and enhancing skills to prevent abuse.

There is not a single prescribed curriculum; however, the archdiocesan office provides several resources:

  1. A listing of relevant topics and concepts for various age groups. (Topics related to interpersonal skills and "safe environment" presentations can be included in the Family Life curriculum.)
  2. An archdiocesan curriculum, featuring age-appropriate lesson plans for catechists or other individuals to present, in English or Spanish.
  3. A list of agencies from whom a parish may request a speaker to make a presentation.

Presentations, educational materials & media must be consistent with Catholic morality and church teaching on the human person.

Related Resources:

Educator Resources

Recommended Concepts for Children & Youth

Safe Environment Curriculum (English)

Safe Environment Curriculum (Español)

Agencies Providing Sexual Abuse Awareness Education

 


IV. The parish will offer abuse awareness and prevention education for parents and others in the parish community.

This pertains to parents of children in religious education and youth ministry programs, as well as in schools.

The quarterly Safeguarding All of God's Family Newsletter is an appropriate means of educating parents. It is published by the archdiocesan Office of Sexual Abuse Prevention and Response Services and is available online. It may be printed out and sent home with students, or distributed at parent sessions, or e-mailed to parents. The Newsletter should also be made available in locations in the parish or school buildings.

Other educational programs or materials may also be offered for parents.

Related Resources:
Current and past issues of the Newsletter

 


V. The parish will provide safe environments for children and youth by ensuring safe and secure facilities, providing adequate adult supervision, and implementing suitable program procedures.

Parish Facilities
The parish must provide safe and appropriate facilities for catechetical and youth ministry programs. Classrooms, meeting rooms, recreation areas and other gathering spaces must be appropriately furnished and free of foreseeable hazards, must permit effective supervision, and must not be isolated or hidden from view. Buildings must enable entrances to be secured and monitored, must provide access to rest rooms, and must allow safe exit in emergencies.

Supervision of Children and Youth
When involved in parish events, minors must be supervised at all times. Only responsible adults, age 21 or older, shall be allowed to function in an independent supervisory capacity. Adults age 18-21 may assist when in a joint relationship with an adult supervisor over 21. Any parish/school event for minors requires the on-site presence of at least two responsible adults. The number of adult supervisors should be appropriate for the attendance, normally with a ratio of not more than 10 minors per supervisor (8 for overnight). If an event has both male and female minors in attendance there must be both male and female adults present. Overnight and extended stay activities must provide for the safety of minors at all times. Responsible adult supervisors must be on-site 24 hours a day and be accessible to minors at all times.

Safety Procedures
Parish staff must provide procedures for the safe drop-off and pick-up of children for parish programs. They must also develop procedures for responding to various emergency situations.

Home-based Programs
When groups meet in homes as part of a parish program, it is important to ensure a safe environment for young people, just as it is at the parish.
Standards for Small Groups in Homes gathers into one place various guidelines related to supervision and safety in the home.

Field Trips, Community Service and Retreats
When field trips, service experiences, or retreats are part of a program, the parish is responsible for ensuring the safety of the young people through advance preparation and investigation of the location/organization, adequate adult supervision, informed parental consent, suitable transportation, and clear guidelines for student behavior.

Parental Consent
Parents or guardians must have explicit knowledge of the details of any event or program involving their minor children and must give specific permission for their child's participation. Written consent of a parent or guardian is required for every child participating in a field trip, community service activity, or retreat. No student may participate unless a signed parent permission slip is on file.

Reporting
Any allegations of sexual misconduct which arise on parish, school, or archdiocesan events for minors should be taken seriously and reported to the Director of the Archdiocesan Response to Sexual Abuse and to appropriate civil authorities.

Contacts: Child Protective Services for each County (right-hand column )
Contacts: Archdiocesan Sexual Abuse Response Office


For complete information and additional resources related to Safeguarding All of God's Family, click here.

Safeguarding All God's Family
Contacts
 

Patti Loehrer
Coordinator, Safeguarding All of God’s Family program
414-758-2230
loehrerp@archmil.org

  • Questions about Safeguarding All of God’s Family
  • Scheduling an awareness session at your parish
  • Responsibilities of pastors, DREs, DYMs and principals
  • Individual registration problems
  • Mandatory reporting questions


Jane Budney

Director, Parish & School Personnel Services
414-769-3370
budneyj@archmil.org

  • Criminal record background checks
  • Code of ethical standards and mandatory reporting procedures


Gary Pokorny
Director, Catechesis & Youth Ministry
414-758-2242
pokornyg@archmil.org

  • Religious education classroom packet and curriculum issues
  • Verification of education requirements for children, youth and parents
The Archdiocese of Milwaukee

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PO Box 070912
Milwaukee, WI 53207-0912
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Phone:  (414) 769-3300
Toll-Free: (800) 769-9373
Fax:  (414)  769-3408

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