Keeping God's People Safe
If you see something, say something.
If you witness or suspect abuse occurring in your parish, report it to your rector or to the Diocesan Director of Ministries. If you are a mandated reporter, you must report suspected or known abuse. The State of Illinois considers clergy and other professionals who work with children in the course of their duties to be mandated reporters. Please refer to the state's Manual for Mandated Reporters (rev. May 2015) for those specific guidelines.
In addition to reporting to the appropriate state authorities, church personnel are required to report any suspected or known abuse of children or youth directly to the rector/vicar, the program supervisor, the church wardens, or the Office of the Bishop. Phone calls, meetings, faxes, or notes --signed or unsigned-should be investigated in a manner and extent consistent with the spirit of these policies.
The Diocese of Chicago, including all churches/agencies, schools, and other institutions within this diocese, will cooperate, to the fullest extent appropriate, with any investigation of sexual misconduct by state or federal authorities. Authorities will also be informed by the Office of the Bishop that the Diocese of Chicago will direct a concurrent internal investigation.
Illinois Department of Children & Family Services' anonymous abuse reporting hotline is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Keeping God’s People Safe Training
The Diocese of Chicago is committed to doing everything in its power to maintain a safe and supportive atmosphere for the children and adults who are members of its congregations, attend its programs or participate in its ministries.
To foster a secure environment, we have developed Keeping God’s People Safe, a two-level workshop training program that sensitizes all of those who serve in our church to the dangers of child sexual abuse, sexual exploitation, and sexual harassment, and teaches them to recognize and prevent situations in which abuse or exploitation might occur.
Level One, called Protecting God's People, is required for all clergy, paid employees, those who provide pastoral services, and all persons – volunteer or paid – who work with children or youth or vulnerable adults. Church and agency volunteers who have routine access to the facilities and grounds where children or youth gather or who serve on vestry or perform other pastoral ministries must also complete this training.
Level One training must be renewed every five years and is offered online. Visit the Safeguarding Website to self-enroll using the registration code: diochicago312. For help enrolling please use this Quick Start Guide.
- Online Modules to Complete for Level One Certification:
- Meet Sam
- It Happened to Me
- Keeping Your Church Safe
Level Two, called Leading & Caring for God's People, is required of all clergy, paid staff, church personnel, and volunteers who administer programs, lead programs for adults, perform pastoral ministries, serve as wardens, or are members of a vestry or bishop's committee. Level One training is a prerequisite for Level Two training.
Level Two must also be renewed every five years and is offered online. The training consists of two or three online modules, depending on employment status. Each module takes 30 – 40 minutes to complete. Visit the Safeguarding Website to self-enroll using the registration code: diochicago312. For help enrolling please use this Quick Start Guide.
- Online Modules to Complete for Level Two Certification:
- All of the modules listed in Level One and:
- Preventing Sexual Exploitation In Communities of Faith – For Ministries
- Preventing Sexual Exploitation In Communities of Faith – For Congregations
- Preventing Sexual Harassment of Church Workers – For Workers (only required if you are a paid staff member)
- All of the modules listed in Level One and:
For further guidance determining what level of training and/or background investigation is required of yourself or someone ministering at your congregation, consult this requirements matrix, which lists common positions in Diocese of Chicago parishes and their associated requirements. If you have further questions, please contact Karin Gutierrez.
In addition to completing Keeping God’s People Safe, all clergy, paid employees, child and youth program volunteers, pastoral and eucharistic visitors, and participants in a handful of other ministries without exception undergo screening interviews and background checks. To conduct a background check, please contact Anna Stefaniak, Associate for Human Resources, via email with the name and email of the person who requires the background check. Please inform Anna as to whether they need a basic background check and/or a motor vehicle record check and/or a credit check. To see if your ministry position requires a background check, please consult this table.
View the background check information and consent form in Word or PDF format. If you do not provide the email to Anna Stefaniak, you may have your applicant fill out this form and send directly to Anna Stefaniak.