Frequently Asked Questions
A. RESPONSIBLE ADMINISTRATORS & SCREENING COORDINATORS
1. Who is a Responsible Administrator?
Each Covered Entity has one Responsible Administrator. This individual is accountable for the proper implementation and compliance with policy and procedure at his/her location. This should be the pastor/pastoral administrator, pastoral life director, principal, or agency director.
2. Who is a Screening Coordinator?
A staff member, designated the Responsible Administrator, to check references of employees and/or volunteers. This person must be able to process confidential information discreetly and must be able to interpret information received.
3. Who will train new principals and pastors, etc?
New principals and pastors should contact the Office of Child and Youth Protection to request training on policies and procedures.
4. What provisions will be made when parishes and schools change Screening Coordinators?
When a change is made regarding the Screening Coordinator, the Responsible Administrator should contact the Office of Child and Youth Protection. This office will then send the administrator an Account Set-Up Request Form. The administrator should fill out the form indicating any changes (additional coordinators, change of coordinators, etc.) and fax the form to the Office of Child & Youth Protection. The Volunteer Services Coordinator will then process this request and provide the new (or additional) coordinator with an ID number which he/she will need in order to process criminal history screenings through VolunteerSelect .
5. How will screeners be educated regarding the need for confidentiality?
All personnel will be trained by their Responsible Administrators/Screening Coordinators on confidentiality.
6. When parishes/schools set up their child protection training for volunteers and employees, is it possible to collaborate with neighboring parishes/schools to offer multiple options for the sessions or must the participants attend training at their particular site?
It is encouraged for neighboring parishes/schools to work together to conduct training sessions. It is the responsibility of those parishes/schools hosting the trainings to complete the Training Attendance Verification Forms at the time of the training and return them to the volunteers in attendance. The location hosting the training may wish to use a sign-in sheet to facilitate this process. It is the responsibility of the individual volunteer to present the completed verification form to the Screening Coordinator at his/her "home" site. The form should then be placed in the volunteer's file. If a parish/school plans to host a STAND training, they should contact the Office of Child and Youth Protection at 410-547-5425 in order to have their information posted on the Archdiocesan website.
7. How often must we have a CJIS/Fingerprint check done?
A CJIS/Fingerprint check must be done each time an employee transfers to a new Covered Entity.
8. How long will CJIS keep trying to process fingerprints that are returned?
CJIS will attempt to process the fingerprints 2-3 times. After that they may do a name and date-of-birth screening.
9. How do schools handle substitute teachers?
They must complete an Application for Employment, obtain and check references, and obtain a CJIS/Fingerprint Check.
10. What needs to be done for visiting priests?
Any priest that is participating in or providing services, on a regular basis, in the Archdiocese of Baltimore MUST have a CJIS fingerprint check completed by the Archdiocese of Baltimore. Background/Fingerprint checks from another Diocese do not satisfy this requirement. The Pastor or PLD should ask if faculties have been granted and if a CJIS check has been completed. Please call Clergy Personnel at 410-547-5427 with questions about the Clergy.
11. Should application and CJIS report be on file at site for weekend priests?
Priest must have faculties. CJIS report should be on file with Clergy Personnel.
12. If an employee works at two Covered Entities, then will they need to have the CJIS/Fingerprint Check complete twice?
13. Who must complete the Volunteer Application?
All volunteers, ages 14 and over, must complete the Archdiocese of Baltimore Application for Volunteer Service. If a volunteer applicant refuses to complete the application, then he/she cannot serve as a volunteer.
14. Do youth, 14-17 years old, need to go through the same process as adult volunteers, age 18 and over?
Volunteers between the ages of 14 and 17 years of age must receive age appropriate child and youth protection training, Worthy of the Call. A minor volunteer must complete the Application for Volunteer Service which is to be initialed by his/her parent or guardian. References must be provided. It is suggested that a teacher or pastor be listed under "Professional Reference." The video for youth, Worthy of the Call, is now available through the Office of Child and Youth Protection. It is available in both VHS and DVD format. Children under 14 do not need to do anything. They may assist adults in providing childcare and any other volunteer service. Children under 14 are considered to be doing Christian service.
15. If a volunteer began serving before September 1, 2002 but never had references checked, are they required now?
No. Reference checks are not required for those volunteers who were actively providing service before September 1, 2002. Those volunteers must comply with all other screening procedures, including the Volunteer Criminal History Screening.
16. Do references need to be checked on all volunteers?
Three (3) references must be checked for a volunteer applicant who will have substantial contact with children. This should include a personal, family member/other personal, and professional/civic. If the volunteer applicant has served or worked at another Covered Entity, then the supervisor of the most recent site must be used for the personal reference. All volunteer and employment experience in the Archdiocese of Baltimore must be listed on the Volunteer Application. Reference checks are not required for those volunteers who were actively providing service before September 1, 2002. Those volunteers must comply with all other screening procedures, including the Volunteer Criminal History Screening.
17. Can references for minor age volunteers be minors?
18. Do references have to be completed before a volunteer can start service?
Yes. References do need to be checked before a volunteer can start service.
19. Does a new volunteer have to receive training before they can begin service – e.g. view the STAND or WORTHY OF THE CALL video?
Yes. Each volunteer must receive training on protecting children and youth from child sexual abuse. Training includes viewing and discussing the STAND video or the WORTHY OF THE CALL video.
20. Are the Volunteer Covenant Forms that were filled out prior to the STAND Conference still valid or do we need to get all volunteers to complete the new form?
The Volunteer Covenant Forms that were completed are valid. As of September 1, 2003, the Archdiocese of Baltimore Covered Entities must be using the most recently updated Application for Volunteer Service.
21. Do volunteers need to complete a new application every three years?
No. A volunteer's application is valid as long as the person is volunteering at the same site. If the volunteer moves and would like to serve at another site, then they must complete a new Application for Volunteer Service.
22. Do volunteers need to be fingerprinted and apply for a CJIS check?
In most circumstances, volunteers do not need to be fingerprinted and have a CJIS check completed. If a volunteer functions as a staff member of a Covered Entity, then he/she is required to follow the same screening procedures that apply to paid employees. This would include the CJIS/Fingerprint Check, rather than the Volunteer Criminal History Screening. Such volunteers include, but are not limited to, those who function as the director/coordinator/administrator of religious education or the youth minister/director/coordinator.
23. If I am a volunteer at a parish/school, what do I have to do to volunteer at another Archdiocese of Baltimore location?
All volunteers having substantial contact with children must present their verification cards when serving at another Covered Entity.
- A. For Occasional Service at Another Site
A volunteer may present his/her card for occasional service at another site. A copy of the card will be kept on file at the second location.
Example -- a parent completes requirements through a parish site. The parent wishes to attend a field trip with his/her child who attends an Archdiocesan school. The parent may present his/her card in order to accompany the child on the field trip
- B. For Regular Service at a Second Site (or a Transfer to a Second Site)
A volunteer must complete an Application for Volunteer Service and include references. One reference must be the original Covered Entity site. The references must be checked by the Second Covered Entity and a copy of the Volunteer Policy Compliance card must be obtained from the original Covered Entity site and kept on file.
Example -- A parent completes requirements through a parish site. The parent wishes to coach at his/her child's Archdiocesan school. Since this situation entails more than "occasional service", the parent would be required to follow the above procedures.
24. If volunteers for national organizations, such as Knights of Columbus, Knights of Peter Claver, and Catholic Daughters, have substantial contact with minors, then will they have to have the procedures for volunteers with substantial contact with children completed?
25. Do parents need to complete the requirements for Volunteers who Have Substantial Contact with Children if they are going on a field trip for the day with their own child and with other children whose parents will not be present?
26. How long must Volunteer files be kept?
Minimum of 5 years after termination of service.
27. Has the video and application been translated into Spanish?
The following items are available in Spanish: Application for Volunteer Services, Application for Employment, Employee Acknowledgement of Receipt and Review, Driving Record Check Consent Form, Volunteer Criminal History Screening Consent Form, STAND Instructor's Video Guide, Written Reference Check for Volunteers, Telephone Reference Check for Volunteers, and the STAND video.
28. Why is it necessary for the volunteer to release from liability others who provide information to the Archdiocese and those who evaluate the application?
The Application and related screening procedures such as references are designed to insure that volunteers have appropriate qualifications for their volunteer work. Specifically, the Archdiocese wants to make sure that those apply to work with children have no known history of behavior that would preclude their working with children, such as being terminated for abusing a child. References can provide valuable information but only if they are truthful. In our society, many individuals and entities are concerned about being sued simply for providing information. For example, many employers will not provide a substantive reference on a former employee if the former employee does not sign a release. The Archdiocese wants to encourage all those involved in the application process to be as truthful as possible without fear of litigation. We believe this is the best way to receive relevant information about the applicant's qualifications.
Some applicants have indicated a desire to sue references if they provide false, damaging information. The Archdiocese is very interested in learning whether references have concerns about the applicant and wants the references to feel free to share their concerns. We believe that the risk of references providing maliciously false information is low. Although there is always some risk that the Archdiocese will decline to let someone volunteer because of false information provided in a reference, obviously the Archdiocese would prefer this to allowing someone to volunteer who has a history of abusing children. The Archdiocese must balance the risk of obtaining false information with the need to protect children through obtaining truthful information. Quite simply, if the release is not signed the Archdiocese might not be provided with critical, truthful information about an applicant's past abusive conduct. This would be unacceptable. The Archdiocese is committed to protecting children and the release is an important element in encouraging complete truthfulness in the reference process.
29. Why should the volunteer waive any right to inspect information provided in connection with the application?
In fact, the applicant has no legal right to inspect the information provided in connection with his application. This "waiver" operates more as an acknowledgement that the covered entity might not be able to share all information in the applicant's file with the applicant. At times, the covered information should be kept confidential. For example, a former supervisor might have sent a reference letter requesting confidentiality. Assuring the reference that we can maintain confidentiality encourages the reference to be truthful. Also, if concerns of prior abusive conduct have been raised there could be identifying information that a victim or governmental agency has requested be kept confidential. Archdiocesan policy or applicable law might require that certain information be kept confidential. Sometimes, it may be proper for an administrator to share information with the applicant, and the waiver does not prevent the administrator from doing so when appropriate.
30. Can our parish/school use our own forms to document the child and youth protection policy requirements?
No. All documentation must be recorded on the Archdiocesan Child and Youth Protection forms. These forms are located both online and in the Procedures for Implementation and Compliance binder.
31. Why isn't Megan's Law sufficient enough? With that law in place, why the need for the criminal history screening of volunteers?
Some of the information obtained from VolunteerSelect will pre-date Megan's law. Also, criminal offenses will show up that are problematic but will not appear on the sexual offender registry.
32. How often do we have to have volunteer criminal history screening done?
A volunteer criminal history screening must be done every five years for a volunteer. A new consent form must be completed each time.
33. What is included in VolunteerSelect search?
- Social Security Number verification
- Search of National Criminal File
- Sexual Offenders search of state registry
- County Criminal search
- Motor Vehicle search (if applicable)
34. Why do I have to give my social security number?
A social security number is necessary for the Volunteer Criminal History Screening. It should only be written on the consent form. All sites are instructed to keep files with the social security numbers in a confidential, safe and secure location with controlled access, such as in a locked file cabinet. Files may be reviewed by the appropriate supervisory personnel, but may not be copied or removed from the offices where they are maintained unless authorized by the Responsible Administrator.
35. Why do I have to complete an application form and a consent form?
When volunteers complete an application form, it allows an Archdiocesan Covered Entity to keep track of those who participate in the ministry of the Church. It assists the parishes and/or schools in recognizing the skills and talents of the volunteers. It is necessary to complete a consent form, including the volunteer applicant's social security number and signature, for the Volunteer Criminal History Check.
36. Will parishes and schools be given two account numbers and passwords?
If a site has more than one Screening Coordinator, then they will be given additional user names and passwords. There is one VolunteerSelect account number given per site.
37. If a parishioner is a parent of one of the youth attending an overnight activity, is the parent required to have the "Volunteer Screening"?
38. If a parish/school does not have Internet access, can the Volunteer Criminal History Screening be done by phone?
If Internet access is not available, the site should call the Office of Child and Youth Protection at 410-547-5567.
39. What does the red lettering mean on VolunteerSelect?
When an applicant's Completed or Pending status is colored RED, additional information or action is required. In the event that this occurs, a member of the Archdiocese's Office of Child and Youth Protection will contact Responsible Administrator to address the additional requirements and/or actions needed.
40. How do the leaders address parents when a Volunteer Criminal History Screening report comes back and there is a conviction that involves a child offense?
The Office of Child and Youth Protection will work with the Covered Entity very closely if this situation should occur.
41. Where can I find the procedures for the Driving Record Check?
The Driving Record Check is now part of the VolunteerSelect screening process.
See Appendix for Volunteer Criminal History Screening Process
E. OFFICE OF CHILD AND YOUTH PROTECTION POLICIES
42. When volunteers and employees have questions about the policies and procedures for the protection of children and youth, whom do they call?
For questions, comments, and concerns related to the Archdiocese of Baltimore's policies, procedures, and training for the protection of children and youth, please contact Alison D'Alessandro, Director, at 410-547-5348 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
43. How are Boy Scouts' and Girl Scouts' volunteers handled?
Boy Scouts' volunteers must provide written verification that they have had a criminal history screening for a history of child abuse or criminal convictions. Because they are chartered, the Boy Scouts' volunteers must also attend STAND training, which includes the STAND video. Girl Scouts' volunteers must provide written verification that they have had a criminal history screening. A Covered Entity may choose to offer assistance with the screening.
44. If a scout leader has completed a child and youth protection program through the scouting program, do they need to complete the volunteer requirements of the Archdiocese if they plan to volunteer at a Covered Entity?
Training offered by other organizations: i.e. Boy Scouts of America, Little League, area public schools, etc. may not be substituted for the Archdiocese protection of children and youth training.
45. How are home school groups, Knights of Columbus, etc. handled?
Groups that are a part of the parish/school and have volunteers that have substantial contact with children need to complete the requirements of those volunteers that have substantial contact with children.
46. When other leaders from out-of-state schools visit several days to conduct an accreditation process, what screening needs to take place?
They have full access to all children. Their sponsor will need to show that they have been screened. We are currently working with Middle States to ensure their compliance with the Archdiocesan policies.
47. How is "accused" defined on the applications for volunteers and employees?
It is interpreted in the broadest sense of the word. Any accusation will be examined.