FAQs About Protecting Youth

PROTECTING GOD’S CHILDREN™ 

Who should attend?
All employees are required to attend this training.  Any volunteer who comes in contact with children must also attend this training.

When is the training given?
Individual parishes and parish organizations may schedule training for members of the school and parish. To do so, please call the Safe Environment Coordinator to arrange a meeting date and receive the paperwork associated with hosting the meeting. Pre-registration is required for all training sessions. Check the calendar for upcoming sessions.

What does the program cost?
There is no direct financial cost to host the program. However, it is appropriate for the host parish to provide snacks for the break during the presentation.

Does the attendee receive verification of his/her attendance at a PGC program?
At the conclusion of the program, all who attend receive a certificate of attendance. The employee/volunteer should retain this certificate.

How does a pastor or principal know that the employee/volunteer has attended?
The employee/volunteer should be able to produce the certificate of attendance to show to the pastor/ principal. If you have misplaced the certificate, you can contact the Safe Environment Coordinator’s office for a replacement.  

At every PGC training session, “sign-in sheets” are distributed. If a parish is not aware of who attended, they may obtain a copy of these sheets from the Safe Environment Coordinator.  If a volunteer attended at another parish, and the volunteer can provide the location where attended, it can be verified by review of the sign-in list.

What paperwork is associated with this program?
Every parish office should have the following information documented and included in the personnel files of staff and volunteers:

  • Federal Fingerprint, PA Criminal Background check, PA Child Abuse Check
  • The last page of the Diocese’s Code of Conduct policy signed by the employee/volunteer
  • The Signature Acknowledgement Form for the Diocese’s Sexual Abuse Policy signed by the employee/volunteer
  • Documentation that the person attended the Protecting God’s Children program
  • Documentation that the person attended a Mandated Reporting Training


Are Boy Scout leaders, coaches and volunteers who are not Catholic required to attend the training?
Yes. Adult volunteers, regardless of faith, must attend the training, if during their scope and duties as a volunteer they come into contact with children.

What should the pastor or principal do if a volunteer refuses to attend a session or to have the background check completed?
The pastor or principal must terminate the adult’s position as a volunteer and not allow the adult to participate as a volunteer in any parish or school sponsored program in the parish or school that involves children. 

Where can I find out more about background checks?
All questions about background checks should be directed to the Charter Compliance Officer. The Safe Environment Coordinator’s office does not keep records or maintain information about Background Checks.

Do all new employees need to complete a background check?
All new employees are to have a FBI fingerprint, a PA criminal background check and a PA child abuse check processed as soon as possible. The forms should be included in the new employee packets.
As of April 1, 2007, Act 114 of 2006 Section 111 of the Public School Code mandates that ALL new SCHOOL employees (including but not limited to administrators, teachers, substitutes, janitors, cafeteria workers, office employees and student teachers) must also provide a Pennsylvania Criminal History Check and a Federal Criminal History Record that cannot be more than one (1) year old.  

May I employ an individual if the background and child abuse checks are not completed?
A diocesan location may employ the individual on a provisional basis not to exceed ninety (90) days provided that the employee has supplied all of the required information, the location has no knowledge of information pertaining to the individual that would disqualify them from employment and the location requires that the individual not be permitted to work alone with children until all results have been received. If the information obtained through the background checks and child abuse check reveals that the individual is disqualified from employment, the individual’s employment will be terminated.

Do all volunteers need to complete a background check?
All volunteers of a childcare service, school or a program, activity or service responsible for a child's welfare, or volunteers having direct contact with children need to have a FBI fingerprint, a PA criminal background check, and a PA child abuse check processed as soon as possible.  Background checks should be performed prior to the person volunteering. These volunteers must also attend a Protecting God's Children™ program and a Mandated Reporting Training.

May volunteers work at my location if the background check is not completed?
The criminal background checks should be performed prior to the person volunteering.