2021-2022 Safe Environment Training Program
For the safety of our children and prior to volunteering for a SPES project/event on campus, the Diocese requires all faculty, staff, parents and other volunteers to complete the “Safe Environment Training Program for the Protection of Children and Young People.” Initial certification requires a two-hour in-person session on child abuse, the completion of paperwork for a criminal background check and a reference check. Upon completion of these requirements, the faculty/staff member will be Safe Environment-certified for the Diocese of Lafayette. Parents completing certification requirements may volunteer for any parent-based committee or program within the Diocese and at SPES.
St. Pius Elementary School follows all required procedures associated with this diocesan program. Initial training sessions for new faculty and staff members are scheduled by the Safe Environment Coordinator prior to the start of the school year and at other times during the year (i.e. prior to start of athletic seasons for new coaches and prior to start of employment for aftercare workers) Multiple initial training sessions are also offered for parents at the beginning of each school year. Additional sessions may be scheduled, if needed, at the discretion of the principal. SPES parents may choose to attend these sessions at St. Pius or elsewhere within the Diocese. If certification is obtained at a non-St. Pius Elementary School session, a copy of all paperwork including a copy of the sign-in roster for the training session and the completed reference forms must be returned to St. Pius Elementary School’s Safe Environment Coordinator.
Annual Safe Environment recertification is required by the Diocese of Lafayette.
Recertification classes are offered through the Virtus Program at www.Virtus.org at the start of each school year. Notification to all personnel will be sent by the SPES Safe Environment Coordinator as to when the recertification period begins and ends.
Assistance for Victims of Abuse
Victims of abuse may be referred to the Victim’s Assistance Coordinator for the Diocese of Lafayette, Mr. Joseph Pisano, Jr. who may be contacted by calling 337-298-2987.
- The Victim Assistance Coordinator shall minister to the victim, victim’s family or other person affected. The Victim Assistance Coordinator shall identify professional and other resources and make them available to aid in the care of a victim or other person(s) affected.
- The Victim Assistance Coordinator shall make certain that persons recommended to victims/survivors and their families for counseling and/or spiritual direction are highly qualified for such assistance.
What To Do If You Suspect Abuse (Reporting Procedures)
You must follow all applicable civil laws for reporting instances of suspected abuse. As a diocesan employee/volunteer, you must also report to your immediate supervisor and your Pastor/Principal/Administrator. It is then your responsibility to make a report to the Office of Community Services/Law Enforcement.
Within five (5) days of oral report, mandatory reporters are required to complete the following form and submit to Office of Community Services:
- Department of Social Services, Office of Community Services: Written Report Form for Mandated Reporters of Child Abuse/Neglect
Also, if suspected perpetrator and/or abuse is related to a diocesan/church/school program, a report must also be made to the diocesan Victim Assistance Coordinator, Mr. Joseph Pisano, Jr., 337-298-2987 as well as to the Chancellor, Maureen Fontenot.
To Report Abuse/What To Do If You Suspect Child Abuse or Neglect
CALL 855-4LA-KIDS (855-452-5437)
One number, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to speak to a trained child welfare worker to report possible abuse and neglect.
Information Needed for Report Abuse:
If known, provide:
- Name, address, age, sex and race of child
- Nature, extent and cause of child’s injuries or endangered condition including any previously known or suspected abuse to the child or to the child’s siblings
- Name and address of child’s parent or caretaker
- Child’s family composition
- Names and ages of all other members of the child’s household
- Account of how this child came to the reporter’s attention
- Any explanation of the cause of the child’s injury or condition offered by the child, caretaker or any other person.
- Any other information which the reporter believes might be important
- The report shall also name the person or persons who are thought to have caused or contributed to the child’s condition, if known, and the report shall contain the name of such person if he is named by the child.
- Your report is a request for an investigation, not an accusation.
- Information you share is confidential.
- You should report EACH incident of suspected abuse.
Diocese of Lafayette
INTRODUCTION: The Church celebrates and promotes the value, worth, dignity and life of every child and seeks to foster a safe environment for all children, especially those entrusted to Her care. The abuse of minors is not acceptable and will not be tolerated. All clergy and those in clerical formation, religious and those in consecrated life, employees and volunteers who supervise or work with children (hereafter referred to as eligible adults) are subjects of this policy.
IMPLEMENTATION OF POLICY:
Programs and Procedures:
1. The Office of Safe Environment of the Diocese of Lafayette has programs and procedures to insure a safe environment for all children.
2. A Victim Assistance Coordinator, designated by the Bishop, shall respond promptly to any allegation where there is reason to believe that sexual abuse of a minor has occurred by any cleric.
3. The Diocese of Lafayette has a Code of Conduct for eligible adults.
4. The Diocese of Lafayette has a program of screening and evaluation techniques to determine the fitness of candidates for ordination.
5. Letters of suitability and testimonial letters must be provided by bishops and superiors of those clerics who wish to practice temporary ministry in the Diocese of Lafayette. It is the responsibility of the pastor to provide copies of letters for priests to the Chancellor of the Diocese and letters for Deacons and Religious Brothers and Sisters to the Office of the Permanent Diaconate.
6. Any eligible adult who has actual knowledge of, or who has reasonable cause to suspect that an incident of child abuse has occurred (unless to do so would violate the priest/penitent relationship of the Sacrament of Reconciliation), must follow all applicable civil laws for reporting such instances and then shall immediately report to the diocesan authorities.
7. The Diocese of Lafayette shall follow all applicable Louisiana civil laws for reporting to public authorities when allegations and/or suspicions of sexual abuse of a person who is a minor are made against any eligible adult:
8. A diocesan review board shall function as the Bishop’s confidential consultative body in matters of sexual abuse of a minor.
9. Diocesan policy provides that for even a single act of sexual abuse of a minor, the offending cleric or person in formation will be permanently removed from ministry, not excluding dismissal from the clerical state, if the case so warrants.
Parish and Catholic School Requirements:
1. Pastors/Principals/Administrators are responsible for ensuring that all eligible adults under their authority are given a copy of this policy.
2. All Eligible Adults shall:
a. Undergo required background screening, including a criminal history check (fingerprint check for Catholic school employees) and reference checks.
b. Participate in an initial safe environment education session prior to working with minors. Each year thereafter, those adults shall be required to participate in a continuing education session. If an individual has five continuous years of no continuing education, he/she will be required to recertify through initial training.
3. All diocesan-sponsored educational programs (catholic schools and parish programs) are required to provide age-appropriate safe environment education for all students annually.
4. All diocesan-sponsored education programs (catholic schools and parish programs) are required to offer safe environment education sessions for parents annually.
5. All parishes and schools of the Diocese of Lafayette shall have a Safe Environment Coordinator, however it is ultimately the Pastor/School Chancellor’s responsibility to ensure that the diocesan safe environment program is implemented and adhered to.
1. The Diocese of Lafayette cooperates to the fullest extent with the National Office of Child and Youth Protection.
2. The Diocese of Lafayette fully cooperates and is in compliance with the U.S. Bishops’ policies regarding the transfer of any priest or deacon and cooperation with religious communities.
3. The Diocese of Lafayette shall not enter into any confidentiality agreements in cases of sexual abuse where the victim is a minor, except for grave and substantial reasons brought forward by the victim or the parent or guardian of a victim who is still a minor, and which reasons shall be clearly noted in the text of the agreement.
Failure to comply with any of the provisions of the Safe Environment Policy will be grounds for discipline, up to and including termination or removal from position. The Diocese of Lafayette reserves the right to make changes to this policy at any time, at its sole discretion, and interpret and administer the policy in light of changing circumstances and events.
Diocesan Social Media Policy:All Faculty and Staff members must be familiar with the terms set forth within the Diocese of Lafayette Social Media Policy