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Safe Environment Policy


POLICY, EFFECTIVE 2012
Recognizing that each individual is created by God, the Archdiocese of Miami is committed to the safety and well-being of its children and vulnerable adults and implements procedures to minimize risk and barriers and to build and foster a culture of safe environment. The Archdiocese does not tolerate abuse or neglect of anyone. It will comply with all obligations of civil and canon law; it will promote healing where it is needed, provide education, training and guidance when it is appropriate, and endeavor to prevent any abuse of minors or vulnerable adults with firm justice and mercy towards all.


PREVENTION
In an effort to guard the safety of Vulnerable Persons under the care of the Archdiocese, all Church Personnel, ages 18 and older, will be required to submit a completed Criminal Background Check Form as well as a complete set of fingerprints so as to facilitate a criminal background investigation. Eligibility for employment, volunteer work, or ministry will be contingent and conditioned upon a satisfactory background investigation. This background investigation will be updated every five (5) years. This policy applies even if an individual has been cleared through an FBI or FDLE check conducted by their employer or another entity.

Volunteers under the age of 18 are not allowed to have unsupervised access to children, youth or vulnerable adults. This includes youth ministers, coaches, mentors, scout leaders, babysitters, etc. These individuals who may assist with children, youth and vulnerable adults must be supervised by a volunteer or employee who has been VIRTUS trained and has successfully completed a Level 2 Background Check.

Because volunteers under the age of 18 are not allowed to have unsupervised access to children, youth or vulnerable adults, they are not screened for criminal history. VIRTUS training for volunteers under the age of 18 is optional.


Safe Environment Education – VIRTUS
All Church Personnel, including applicants offered a position, independent contractors and volunteers working with Vulnerable Persons are required to successfully complete safe environment training through the VIRTUS program. For new Church Personnel, VIRTUS training must be completed within 45 days of hire.

Background Screening/Persons or Roles Requiring Screening
All Church Personnel will be required to submit a completed Criminal Background Check Form as well as a complete set of fingerprints to facilitate a criminal background screening.

All Archdiocesan employees and covered volunteers including clergy, religious, seminarians, principals, instructional personnel, school and parish employees, directors of religious education, catechists, youth ministry directors and volunteers, coaches (whether paid or volunteer), music/choir directors, counselors of children or vulnerable persons, Boy/Girl Scout Troop Leaders, independent contractors working as substitute teachers or temporary school office personnel, and child care center employees and volunteers will be background checked every five years through the FBI/FDLE screening process described later in this policy. For all individuals, this policy supplements requirements of any federal or state policy.


Not all volunteers need to be screened for a criminal history. Those volunteers that do not have regular contact with children or vulnerable adults and those volunteers that are not entrusted with the care or supervision of children or vulnerable adults need not be screened for a criminal history. Some examples of volunteers that do not need to be screened for a criminal history are:

Volunteer Parish Roles Not Requiring Fingerprinting (VIRTUS Training is Optional)

1. Sacristan duties
2. Altar dressers; persons responsible for washing and maintaining altar linens
3. Lectors
4. Adult choir member
5. Cantor
6. Extraordinary Minister of Eucharist (if at Masses only)
7. Bereavement Group Leader
8. Parish Council members; Finance Council members
9. Ladies’ Guild, Council of Catholic Women, Bible Study Groups, Ministry groups that do not have unsupervised or regular contact with children
10. Men’s and Women’s adult organizations that do not have unsupervised or regular contact with children

Volunteer or Vendor School Roles Not Requiring Screening (if accompanied by an Employee or Covered Volunteer at all times)

1. Presenter at meeting or event
2. Career Day type events (participant or person staffing a booth)
3. Repair person

It is anticipated that the above-listed volunteers’ duties will not involve the supervision or care of children or vulnerable adults and will not involve regular contact with children or vulnerable adults.




Responsibility of Chancellor, Pastor, Principal or Administrator
The background investigation of Church Personnel shall be the responsibility of the Chancellor, Pastor, Administrator, or other person responsible for managing the Church Personnel subject to this policy. All information reported is considered confidential; the responsible administrator shall preserve confidentiality to the fullest extent possible.