Safe Environment

Safe Environments Policy (taken from the Archdiocese of Detroit Safe Environments Policy, April, 2006)

Purpose:

The Archdiocese of Detroit is committed to providing safe environments and fostering continuous improvement in every organization that sponsors activities and/or provides services to children and youth. The Archdiocese intends to create communities of informed adults who model appropriate behavior, are vigilant to the warning signs of abuse and take action to prevent abuse and improve safety. Likewise, the Archdiocese is determined to ensure that facilities, grounds and procedures promote optimal safety.

General Policy:

All adults who are paid or volunteer personnel (clergy, religious and lay) shall:

  1. Have a criminal history background check* and have been provided the Pastoral or Volunteer Code of Conduct before starting work in any capacity, and
  2. Participate in a Protecting God’s Children workshop within 6 months of a staff or volunteer assignment, if the potential exists for contact with children or youth.
  3. Numbers 1 and 2 above apply to incumbent staff and volunteers. However, their participation in a PGC workshop shall be required within 6 months of the issuance of this policy.
  4. Volunteers under 18 should be paired with an adult or another teen and regularly supervised by an adult. Employees or volunteers, aged 16 and older, will attend the Protecting God’s Children Workshop and will have a criminal history background check. Staff and volunteers age 16 to 18 are required to have parental permission to attend the workshop and to have the criminal history background check.
  5. All parents/guardians are urged to attend a Protecting God’s Children workshop.
  6. Contractors or personnel provided by public school districts cannot be required to attend PGC workshops. However, it is required that background checks be done by the contractor of the employees working in facilities when children or youth are present.

Requirement:

Each organization shall maintain a database of all staff and volunteers with the dates of each person’s criminal background check, receipt of the Code of Conduct and Safe Environment Policies and participation in a Protecting God’s Children workshop.  Each organization shall require a copy of the PGC certificate from each participant. An organization shall accept proof of attendance at a PGC workshop completed outside the Archdiocese or an equivalent training approved by the Office of Safe Environments.  Confirmed attendance at a Protecting God’s Children Workshop is a condition for employment or volunteering. Non-compliance with this policy will result in the loss of employment or volunteer position, until requirements are met. Thi may include, but is not limited to, the following:

This policy applies to, but is not limited, the following:

  • Parish Staff (all)
  • Choir Director
  • Altar Server Coordinator
  • Scout Leaders – Boys, Girls, Campfire
  • Religious Education (catechists, assistants, hall monitors)
  • Vacation Bible School Volunteers
  • Youth Group Director and volunteers
  • School Staff – faculty, administrative, custodial, substitute teachers
  • School Volunteers - Room Parents, Office Volunteers
  • Field Trip Chaperones & Drivers
  • Retreat Chaperones & Drivers
  • Camp Counselors, Chaperones & Drivers
  • Part-time or Supply Clergy
  • Athletic Directors, Coaches and Assistants
  • Knights of Columbus
  • Parish Festival Chairpersons
  • St. Vincent de Paul Society
  • Soup kitchen or domestic shelter staffs and volunteers in locations where children are present

CODE OF CONDUCT FOR VOLUNTEERS (As outlined in Section IV of the Archdiocese of Detroit Code of Pastoral Conduct for Priests, Deacons, Pastoral Ministers, Administrators, Staff and Volunteers)

Our children are the most important gifts God has entrusted to us. A volunteer must strictly follow the rules and guidelines in this Code of Conduct for Volunteers as a condition of providing services to the children and youth of our archdiocese.

A volunteer must: 

  • Treat everyone with respect, loyalty, patience, integrity, courtesy, dignity and consideration.
  • Avoid situations where he or she is alone with children and/or youth at Church activities.
  • Use positive reinforcement rather than criticism, competition or comparison when working with children and/or youth.
  • Refuse to accept expensive gifts from children, youth or their parents without prior written approval from the pastor or administrator.
  • Refrain from giving expensive gifts to children and/or youth without prior written approval from the parents or guardian and the pastor or administrator.
  • Report suspected abuse to the pastor, administrator or appropriate supervisor and the local Child Protection Services agency. Failure to report suspected abuse to civil authorities (by required reporters) is, according to the law, a misdemeanor.
  • Cooperate fully in any investigation of abuse of children and/or youth.

A volunteer must not: 

  • Smoke or use tobacco products in the presence of children and/or youth.
  • Use, possess or be under the influence of alcohol at any time while volunteering.
  • Use, possess or be under the influence of illegal drugs at any time.
  • Pose any health risk to children and/or youth through fevers or other contagious situations.
  • Strike, spank, shake or slap children and/or youth.
  • Humiliate, ridicule, threaten or degrade children and/or youth.
  • Touch a child and/or youth in a sexual or other inappropriate manner.
  • Use any discipline that frightens or humiliates children and/or youth.
  •  Use profanity in the presence of children and/or youth.

A volunteer working with children and/or youth is subject to a thorough background check, including criminal history. Any action inconsistent with this Code of Pastoral Conduct or failure to take action mandated by this Code of Pastoral Conduct may result in removal as a volunteer with children and/or youth.

When volunteering, please make sure you have an up-to-date Criminal Background Check on file at St. Hugo.  These are done every 5-7 years.  If you have not had one done or it has been longer than five (5) years, please click on the form below and return it to the St. Hugo Parish Office.

AOD Criminal Background Check Form

Protecting God's Children Workshops will be offered at St. Hugo of the Hills Parish on:

Tuesday, September 24, 2013 and April 8, 2014 from 6:30 to 9:30 pm in the Parish Hall (light dinner included)

To register for Protecting God's Children, visit www.virtus.org.