Philip Neri, along with the Diocese of Charleston (the “Diocese”) and the Catholic Church, is deeply committed to ensuring that all programs, ministries and operations affiliated with the Parish are conducted in a Safe Environment.
Safe Environment at Saint Philip Neri
Many programs are offered at the church, with St. Philip Neri relying on numerous volunteers and catechists for implementation. Prior to serving as either a volunteer or catechist for selected ministries, parishioners must fulfill several requirements outlined by the Diocese before they are allowed to serve. These obligations include:
- Completion of Safe Environment Training;
- Completion of Background Screening Forms; and
- Completion of Forms from Diocesan Policy.
In addition to the requirements detailed herein, it is also important that, prior to involvement, volunteers and catechists meet with the director or coordinator of the program in which they desire to take part. These meetings ensure that the individual’s effort toward the common goal of imparting the Catholic faith to our youth is built upon a sound relationship with the program’s director.
In addition to the information contained within the St. Philip Neri website about the Safe Environment mandated by the Diocese, additional material may be obtained from its Office of Child Protection Services at 843.853.2130 (Extension 209) or from the diocesan website at www.catholic-doc.org.
Safe Environment Coordinator
803.548.7282 Ext. 226
Safe Environment Training
According to the Office of Child Protection Services of the Diocese, and the latest revision of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People (the “Charter”) that has been established by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, all employees of the Catholic Church, as well as those volunteers with access to children, must complete a course in Safe Environment training. The Charter is available on the diocesan website through the Office of Child Protection Services.
The Safe Environment training mandated by the Diocese is conducted through the VIRTUS® training class entitled Protecting God’s Children. Classes are periodically made available in our area by trained facilitators. If an individual cannot attend a scheduled session at St. Philip Neri, classes offered at other parishes in the local community will also fulfill the training requirement. Volunteers may contact the parish’s Safe Environment Coordinator about upcoming sessions at St. Philip Neri, or log on to www.virtus.org to find other scheduled classes.
After finding a session at a convenient time, the parishioner must register on the VIRTUS® website. The diocesan name and the preferred session must be chosen, and the required registration information then completed and subsequently confirmed. When attending the training, a parishioner must sign the sign-in sheet available at the session so that attendance can be documented. Participation will then be verified by the Office of Child Protection Services, through VIRTUS®, before approval of one’s ability to volunteer and have contact with children is granted by the Diocese.
Background Screening Forms
According to the Office of Child Protection Services of the Diocese, all employees and those volunteers over the age of 18 with regular access to children must complete a background screening packet before they can participate in selected ministries. Individuals interested in volunteering must fill out the necessary forms in their entirety and return them to the Parish Office.
- Background Screening Basic Data Form: This form covers basic information about the prospective volunteer.
- Consent to Release Information Form: With the consent of the prospective volunteer that is granted by this form, the Diocese authorizes the South Carolina Department of Social Services to conduct a search of the Child Abuse and Neglect Central Registry.
- Employee/Volunteer Driver Application Form: A prospective volunteer must complete this form only if the volunteer opportunity requires the operation of a motor vehicle.
- Credit Authorization Form: A prospective volunteer must complete this form only if the volunteer opportunity involves access to funds and/or financial decisions.
- Church Personnel Release Form: The completion of this form is not necessary in most cases. In the event that it is, the volunteer would grant permission to the Diocese to obtain, if necessary, a consumer report about a potential volunteer as part of the background investigation process.
The preceding five forms may be accessed through the single document entitled Background Screening Forms. They are also available through the diocesan’s Office of Child Protection Services. The forms may be obtained under the link entitled “Background Screening Forms” on the aforementioned website.
Forms from Diocesan Policy
The Diocese has also directed that volunteers for selected ministries complete two other forms prior to their involvement. In December 2011, based on the mandate for a Safe Environment within the Church, the Diocese of Charleston enacted The Policy Concerning Allegations of Sexual Misconduct or Abuse of a Minor by Church Personnel and The Code of Conduct for Church Personnel (together, known as the “Policy”). Prospective volunteers must read, fully understand and agree to the mandates set forth in the Policy.
The Policy may be accessed by clicking on the link entitled “Policy Concerning Allegations of Sexual Misconduct” provided at the diocesan website: www.catholic-doc.org. Two forms, both of which must be completed by volunteers interested in selected ministries, are included in the Policy.
Code of Conduct Agreement: The Code of Conduct Agreement may be accessed by clicking on the link entitled “Code of Conduct” on the aforementioned diocesan website. Alternatively, individuals may also obtain the form by clicking on Code of Conduct Agreement.
Acknowledgement of Receipt Form: The Acknowledgement of Receipt Form may be accessed by clicking on the link entitled “Acknowledgement Form” on the aforementioned diocesan website. Alternatively, individuals may also obtain the form by clicking on Acknowledgement of Receipt Form.