Diocese of Joliet

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Safe Environment

Office of Child and Youth Protection
(Find overview, VIRTUS sessions, volunteer forms, policies to distribute to employees, volunteers and new families)

QUICK REFERENCE GUIDE for Parish Leaders

Parents/Guardians

Child Instruction (For DREs: Public Schools Documentation)

Employees/Volunteers
See all policies and forms at the link above. These documents are the responsibility of the diocesan Office of Child and Youth Protection. Please direct any questions to Molly Fara. 815-221-6116 mfara@dioceseofjoliet.org 

SPECIAL NOTE: Volunteers must have a completed name-based background check and have participated in Protecting God's Children before they are in a classroom with minors. A limited extension is available for extenuating circumstances, by request from the REO.

Child/Youth Instruction Reporting Form

2017-2018 Reporting Form (PDF)  (Word)  - Religious Education/Youth Ministry (Grades K-12) Please submit one form per parish only.

ALL Parish RE and YM Programs must report to Religious Education Office by Monday, March 2, 2015. (Even if students receive this instruction in public schools)

Policies
All Catholic schools, parish religious education and youth ministry programs in the Diocese of Joliet must offer instruction for children, grades K-12, and their parents to prevent child sexual abuse, or provide evidence that such instruction is  provided by local public schools to fulfill this requirement. Parish leaders must annually report statistics on enrollment/participation to the diocese for purposes of the USCCB audit. Parents may elect to "opt-out" of parish or school instruction but must be provided with materials to undertake such instruction at home. The Parent Guide to Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse fulfills that requirement.

Proof of local public school district instruction must be in the form of a signed letter from the district superintendent and is to be on file in the Religious Education Office as documentation that the parish program is excused from providing child/youth training.

Parish Record-Keeping for USCCB Audit
Please keep (together in one file) all parent opt-out/permission forms for each year. Do continue to try to get a signed form from all families who do not participate in training. If, after diligent effort, a family still does not return a form, a record of that is required by the auditors. Please generate a list of all children/youth who did not participate in training and whose parents did not return a form, note that they did not respond, and sign that list. Retain this list with any signed opt-out forms for at least 2 years in the designated Safe Environment compliance file where all records are kept. The parish may be asked to produce this list when audited.

Religious Education programs are required by the USCCB to provide age-appropriate safe environment training to their students. This requirement may be waived if the school district a student attends provides sufficient training in its own curriculum. Please see this list of compliant school districts to see if your students may be covered.

General Guide to Record-Keeping for Programs with Minors
Certain records pertaining to ministry with minors, such as attendance, permissions for events, etc. must be retained in the event that a parish is part of a future lawsuit claiming abuse or negligence.  Download this handy one-page guide to recordkeeping that you can share with your parish support staff.

Electronic Distribution of Safe Environment Documents to Parents and Catechists
If your parish staff wishes to begin electronic distribution of some documents for parents, please read the policies on electronic distribution carefully.