The goal of the Safe Environment Program is educate parents in how to keep their children safe from sexual abuse and to ensure that parish and school volunteers have clear expectations in how to interact with children, youth and vulnerable adults.
The Archdiocese of Seattle uses VIRTUS. The diocese will send emails to all current employees and volunteers to access their records to make sure they are up to date. Any new volunteers must get their own background check, sign up for foundational class and sign off on safe environment policies – all through VIRTUS. One major change is that current volunteers do not have to do the annual online class. If you are a new volunteer, then register by going to the Virtus web site: www.virtusonline.org
Safe Environment Class is normally online or will be scheduled when the need arrises. The three year refresher courses are done online.
The Safe Environment Program has three basic requirements:
1. Criminal Background Check
2. Safe Environment Training
3. Abuse Prevention Polices
When a volunteer registers with Virtus, online, he/she will have a background check. The background check is good for three years. Please note, volunteer does not have to provide his or her social security number for a background check.
Then sign up for Virtus' "Protecting God's Children" class. This class is being offered online and/or as needed locally.
Finally, as part of the registeration process, each volunteer must read the Abuse Prevention Polices and sign a form that basically states that the person has read them.
All three requirements are stored with Virtus. If the volunteer is active for more than three years, Virtus will automatically do a background check. In the third year, volunteers may be required to do a refresher class. This required refresher class is online. Virtus and the Parish will contact you when you need the refresher.
The Archdiocese of Seatle is very clear that any volunteer who does not meet these requirements, he or she cannot volunteer. There are no exceptions.
For greater details, please see the the Archdiocese page on the Safe Environment program.