St. Francis of Assisi is dedicated to making our parish a safe place for all children, vulnerable adults and families. We follow the Fort Worth Diocesan guidelines with regards to protecting God’s children.
Why is the Training Required?
Creating a safe environment for children and young people is a diocesan priority. Article 12 of the US Bishops’ document, The Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, requires U.S. dioceses to establish “safe environment programs” and gives the necessary elements of these programs. All new volunteers are to be interviewed and screened.
The diocesan safe environment program includes:
- Training for all volunteers regarding the dynamics of abuse and abuse-prevention strategies (required every 2 years)
- Evaluation of the backgrounds of all employees and volunteers including 3 references
- Review and signing of the Code of Conduct and Standards of Behavior
- All programs require the presence of two adults or one adult and two older teen.
This policy extends to:
- All Church-sponsored trainings and events regardless of where the programs or activities are held
- Catholic school events and activities outside of a regular classroom setting
- Religious education classes and programs
- Youth ministry programs and events
- Liturgy of the Word for children
- Rite of Christian Initiation adapted for children
- Babysitting, nursery and child care programs
- Choirs for children and youth
- Altar server training
- Vacation Bible School
Why do all groups and ministries need Safe Environment Awareness?
Safe Environment Awareness training is also required for participation in or volunteering for activities or events that are not specifically designed to minister to children/youth, but for which is reasonable to think that they may at times have contact with children outside the sight or hearing of other responsible adults, (e.g. due to the facilities, location, time, or likely presence of children/youth in the proximity of the activities or events.
Even if someone in volunteer ministry is not interacting with children, Safe Environment Awareness training is extremely important to inform and protect not only children and vulnerable persons, but also to protect volunteers from unintentionally violating policies.
Any questions or need for clarification as to whether a ministry, activity, event or volunteer service may require Safe Environment training should be be directed to the diocesan Director of Safe Environment.
Diocese of Fort Worth Safe Environment Requirements:
(prior to serving in ministry or other volunteer service)
1. Completion of the Volunteer Ministry Application, including the names and contact information of 3 (non-family member) references, who will be contacted.
2. Signed Authorization for Release of Information Form.
3. Completion of the Background Check.
4. Successful completion of the Safe Environment Awareness Training.
5. Signed Code of Conduct Agreement form upon review of the Diocesan Code of Conduct & Behavior Standards for All Clergy, Religious and Lay Ministers.
Becoming a Facilitator:
The selection and training of Safe Environment Facilitators for our parish is an important part of creating and maintaining a safe environment to protect those most vulnerable within our Diocese from abuse. Each Facilitator is certified and authorized to facilitate designated training sessions under the guidance of the Coordinator of Safe Environment.
To become a Facilitator, each applicant must participate in the application/interview process, complete a Safe Environment Facilitator Training workshop, and be willing to fulfill the position description qualifications. The workshop provides context, reality and action items for the Safe Environment Awareness program, and also provides practical tips and procedures for facilitation, along with guidance for assimilation of the materials.
If interested in becoming a facilitator, please:
- Review the Safe Environment Facilitator Position Description.
- Submit the completed application to our Parish Safe Environment Coordinator; Donna Buccino: firstname.lastname@example.org and the diocesan Director of Safe Environment.
- Provide a general idea of weekday availability for a face-to-face meeting, if possible, including times between 8:30 and 5:00 p.m.
If you would like to volunteer with any ministry in our Parish, please contact Donna Buccino, Safe Environment Coordinator at email@example.com or call 817-481-2685 Ext. 229.
Safe Environment Awareness Training is offered by the Diocese of Fort Worth and is called Protecting God’s Children for Adults, a program provided through Virtus. Please click the link below to register for an Adult Safe Environment Awareness Training Session.
For Teen Volunteers
All Teen volunteers, ages 13-17 must complete Teen Leadership Training to comply with the Diocesan Safe Environment Policy. The training is good for 3 years. Please contact Donna Buccino at firstname.lastname@example.org to register for a Teen class. Please click on the Teen Volunteer Application link below to complete, print and either return or email back to Donna Buccino.