By Paul Fisher, Chancellor, Safe Environment Office
For the Umatuna Si Yu’os
“I’m just a volunteer; why are they making me complete all this safe environment bureaucratic red tape?” This is a frequent complaint I hear about the required Archdiocese of Agaña Safe Environment training and screening process.
First of all, it is not a lot of red tape—it’s relatively easy. We will walk through it below. Second, as discussed in part 1 of this series, it empowers you to identify risky behavior and risky situations.
Third, as discussed in part 2 of this series, it allows the parents to have a level of confidence that their children are being well cared for. To the extent that your ministry involves children, parents have a right to expect the Church, through you, to provide a safe, protective and nurturing environment.
The training helps you to better understand your relationship with the children in your care and better perform your ministry. In short, your compliance protects our children, our Church, and yourself.
Registration is Easy
The registration process takes about 10-15 minutes online at —
www.virtusonline.org. You will have to create a username and a password. Remember (and record) this information so that you can return to your account after you log off.
During the registration process, you will be asked about your role (for example, educator, employee, or volunteer), and your ministry (for example, catechist, youth facilitator, babysitter).
You will then be asked two questions about how your ministry relates to minors (children under 18 years of age, or adults who lack the use of reason). Based on your answer to these questions, the system can determine whether you must be screened by a background check.
If a background check is required, you will be prompted to provide additional information. You have now completed the registration for both the training and the background check. All that is left for you to do is complete the online training.
The registration process will go faster if you prepare beforehand by going online to the archdiocesan website and downloading the following documents:
Safe Environment Program;
Appendix 01 – Interactions and Behavioral Chart;
Appendix 02 Code of Ethics;
Appendix 08 Employment Application (for employees) or 09 Volunteer Application (for volunteers)
These documents can be found at https://aganaarch.org/ on the home page. Click on the “Safe Environment Policies” icon just to the right of the “VIRTUS Online” icon. You will then see a menu of available documents.
The “Safe Environment Program” document is the fourth document down under the heading “Safe Environment Policies.” The appendices are listed in numerical order under the heading “Appendices.”
During the VIRTUS Online registration process, you will be prompted to download and read the above listed documents. Note, that you will see this several consecutive times but for each separate document.
You will also be asked to check the box acknowledging that you have downloaded and read each document. It will be helpful if you have downloaded and read them prior to starting the online registration.
Background Check is Confidential
Do not panic about the background check. It does not look up your credit rating, your driving record, or your medical history. It consists of three parts. It verifies your Social Security Number, checks police and court records for any criminal convictions, and clears you through the sex offender listings.
The results of the background are confidential; only one person in the archdiocese has access, the chancellor. You are entitled to a copy. Simply indicate that you want a copy when prompted during the registration process and it will be e-mailed to you.
What if something shows up during the background check?
“I am now 35 years old, but when I was 18 I was picked up for shoplifting.” As long as the matter does not relate to the safety of the children, it will not prevent you from performing your ministry.
How long is the training?
The training consists of 13 lessons of about 10-15 minutes each. You can complete them all at one sitting, or during as many log-in sessions as you like. Once you complete a lesson, it is saved in the system.
If you log off and come back later, the system will take you to the next uncompleted lesson.
However, current employees of the archdiocese and its volunteers should complete the training by Feb. 28, 2018.
You may direct any questions to your parish/school Safe Environment Coordinator, to the Archdiocesan Safe Environment Coordinator at 562-0029, or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.