Procedures for Volunteers
All volunteers, ages 14 and over, must complete the Archdiocese of Baltimore Application for Volunteer Service, review a copy of A Statement of Policy for the Protection of Children & Youth, and review the Code of Conduct for Church Personnel in the Archdiocese of Baltimore. Particular Covered Entities may have additional requirements for volunteers to complete before they are able to begin serving.
If a volunteer will have Substantial Contact with children, then the following must be completed before he/she begins to serve in the Archdiocese of Baltimore:
- Application for Volunteer Service completed
- Names of references provided and checked
- VolunteerSelect Criminal History Screening completed
- Training received regarding child abuse and protection of children, including STAND video
The Responsible Administrator and Screening Coordinator will confirm that these procedures have been completed by all volunteers. If an application fails or refuses to complete any part of the screening procedures, then he/she cannot serve as a volunteer. The Responsible Administrator informs the individual that he/she cannot begin or continue his/her volunteer service until he/she has complied with all procedures.
- 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.
- The Responsible Administrator will designate at least one staff member to serve as the Screening Coordinator. Larger entities may find it necessary to designate more than one Screening Coordinator.
- The Responsible Administrator will designate one staff member to serve as the custodian of volunteer files. This person may be the Screening Coordinator. The files are to be kept 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.
Processing All Volunteers
1. All volunteers must complete the Archdiocese of Baltimore Application for Volunteer Service.
A staff person reviews the application form to determine that it is complete and that the volunteer has the qualifications required.
If the volunteer applicant refuses to complete the application, then he/she cannot serve as a volunteer. The Responsible Administrator informs the applicant that he/she cannot begin or continue volunteer service until he/she has complied with all requirements.
If the applicant responded, “yes” to any of the following questions, the application must be reviewed by the Office of Child and Youth Protection prior to proceeding with the screening process:
Have you ever had your volunteer services or employment terminated by any parish, school, or institution?
Have you been terminated from volunteer service or employment due to suspected child abuse?
Have you ever been accused of physically, sexually, or emotionally abusing a child?
The completed application is placed in the personnel file of the volunteer applicant. The files are to be kept in a confidential, safe and secure location with controlled access. Minimally this would be a locked file cabinet with access limited. Files can be reviewed by the appropriate supervisory personnel, but cannot leave the offices where they are maintained.
A minor volunteer, 14-17 years old, must complete the Application for Volunteer Service. The application must be signed by his/her parent or guardian. The signature may be placed beneath the applicant's signature.
2. The volunteer applicant reviews A Statement of Policy for the Protection of Children & Youth and acknowledges his/her responsibility to protect children and youth and provide a safe environment. Also, the applicant reviews the Code of Conduct for Church Personnel in the Archdiocese of Baltimore.
A signature on the Application for Volunteer Services indicates that the applicant has read the policy and agrees to comply.
3. Volunteer applicants responsible for regularly driving others as part of their volunteer duties or operating a parish, school, and/or Archdiocesan owned or leased vehicle must complete a Driving Record Check Consent form authorizing a driving record check. The applicant may not drive others until the Responsible Administrator is informed that the volunteer has a satisfactory driving record.
Processing Volunteers Who Have Substantial Contact with Children
1. Volunteers who have substantial contact with children must complete the VolunteerSelect Criminal History Screening Consent form. Criminal history screenings will also be required for any other volunteer roles identified by the Responsible Administrator.
Volunteer applicant’s service is contingent upon favorable results of the VolunteerSelect Criminal History Screening.
Minor volunteers, 14-17 years old, do not receive a VolunteerSelect Criminal History Screening.
Note: 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 and the VolunteerSelect 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.
After obtaining the signed VolunteerSelect Criminal History Screening Consent form, the Screening Coordinator will submit the volunteer applicant’s information to the VolunteerSelect Criminal History Screening service.
Internet access is necessary to submit requests for on-line criminal background checks. The computer system should be kept in a secure location, accessed by password.
The Screening Service website must be monitored for screening results.
Volunteers will need to repeat this process every five (5) years. This would include completing the VolunteerSelect Criminal History Screening Consent form and submitting information to the screening service.
Volunteer Criminal History Screening Process (View Form)
2. Three (3) references must be checked for the volunteer applicant by the Screening Coordinator or designated staff person. 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 VolunteerSelect Criminal History Screening.
Three references must be checked, and the responses documented, and filed in the personnel file.
A written record must be maintained of each reference contacted, even if the individual contacted refused to provide reference information. The record must include the date and result of each effort to contact the reference. If a reference refuses to provide information or the reference cannot be reached, the applicant must supply a substitute reference.
Three (3) references for minor volunteers, 14-17 years old, must also be checked. A teacher, principal, pastor, etc. may provide the "Professional Reference."
3. Each volunteer applicant will be provided training on protecting children and youth from sexual abuse. Training includes viewing and discussing the STAND video.
Training participants should receive a Training Attendance Verification Form.
Training records will be kept in the volunteer’s personnel file.
Minor volunteers, between the ages of 14 and 17, must receive age appropriate child and youth protection training. It is recommended that young people view and discuss the training video, Worthy of the Call. It is available through the Office of Child & Youth Protection.
Children under 14 are considered to be doing Christian service and need not follow the volunteer requirements.
Training offered by other organizations; i.e. Boy Scouts of America, Little League, area public schools, etc. may not be substituted for the Archdiocesan children and youth protection training.
STAND and Worthy of the Call videos may be obtained from the Office of Child and Youth Protection.
STAND and Worthy of the Call video Facilitators' Guides (View Guide)
Training Attendance Verification Form (View Form)