Safe Environments


(taken from the Archdiocese of Detroit Safe Environments Policy)


The Archdiocese of Detroit is committed to providing safe environments and fostering continuous improvement in every organization that sponsors activities and/or provides services to children and youth. The Archdiocese intends to create communities of informed adults who model appropriate behavior, are vigilant to the warning signs of abuse and take action to prevent abuse and improve safety. Likewise, the Archdiocese is determined to ensure that facilities, grounds and procedures promote optimal safety.


All adults (18 years of age or older) who are paid or volunteer personnel (clergy, religious and lay) shall:

  1. Have a criminal history background check every year if the potential exists for contact with children/youth, elderly, or disabled, or every seven years if the potential for contact with children/youth, elderly, or disabled is not unsupervised. (See CRIMINAL HISTORY BACKGROUND CHECKS for more information below.)
  2. Have been provided the Pastoral or Volunteer Code of Conduct before starting work in any capacity.  (See CODE OF CONDUCT FOR VOLUNTEERS for more information below.)
  3. Participate in a Protecting God’s Children workshop within 6 months of a staff or volunteer assignment, if the potential exists for contact with children/youth, elderly, or disabled. (Those who have not taken a PGC workshop but anticipate participating in one within six months of beginning their assignment MUST be paired with an adult who has completed the PGC workshop.) (See PROTECTING GOD’S CHILDREN for more information below.)

Additional notes regarding these policies:

  •  Volunteers under 18 should be paired with an adult or another teen and the pair regularly supervised by an adult. Staff and volunteers age 16 to 18 are required to submit a Teen Background Certification Form. (See CRIMINAL HISTORY BACKGROUND CHECKS—TEEN BACKGROUND CERTIFICATION below for link.)
  • All parents/guardians are urged to attend a Protecting God’s Children workshop.
  • Contractors or personnel provided by public school districts cannot be required to attend PGC workshops. However, it is required that background checks be done by the contractor of the employees working in facilities when children or youth are present.



  • Each parish shall maintain a database of all staff and volunteers with the dates of each person’s criminal background check, and participation in a Protecting God’s Children workshop.
  • Each parish shall require a copy of the PGC certificate from each participant.
  • A parish shall accept proof of attendance at a PGC workshop completed outside the Archdiocese or an equivalent training approved by the Office of Safe Environments.
  • Confirmed attendance at a Protecting God’s Children workshop as well as a completed background check is a condition for employment or volunteering. Non-compliance with this policy will result in the loss of employment or volunteer position, until requirements are met.

Who Must Comply With These Policies?


A list of employees/volunteers needing to comply with these policies may include, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Parish Staff
  • Choir Director
  • Altar Server Coordinator
  • Scout Leaders – Boys and Girls
  • Religious Education (catechists, assistants, hall monitors)
  • Vacation Bible School Volunteers
  • Youth Group Director and volunteers
  • School Staff – faculty, administrative, custodial, substitute teachers, lunchroom supervisors, playground monitors
  • School Volunteers – Room Parents, Office Volunteers, Lunchroom Volunteers, Playground Monitors, library volunteers, technology center volunteers
  • Adults volunteering in the school building with St. Mary’s home school program
  • Field Trip Chaperones & Drivers
  • Before & after school daycare program leaders
  • Retreat Chaperones & Drivers
  • Camp Counselors, Chaperones & Drivers
  • Part-time or Supply Clergy
  • Athletic Directors, Coaches and Assistants
  • Eucharistic Ministers to the homebound
  • Parish Festival and Fish Fry Chairpersons
  • Soup kitchen or Food Pantry staff and volunteers


(As outlined in Section IV of the Archdiocese of Detroit Code of Pastoral Conduct for Priests, Deacons, Pastoral Ministers, Administrators, Staff and Volunteers)

Our children are the most important gifts God has entrusted to us. A volunteer must strictly follow the rules and guidelines in this Code of Conduct for Volunteers as a condition of providing services to the children and youth of our archdiocese.

A volunteer must: 

  • Treat everyone with respect, loyalty, patience, integrity, courtesy, dignity and consideration.
  • Avoid situations where he or she is alone with children and/or youth at Church activities.
  • Use positive reinforcement rather than criticism, competition or comparison when working with children and/or youth.
  • Refuse to accept expensive gifts from children, youth or their parents without prior written approval from the pastor or administrator.
  • Refrain from giving expensive gifts to children and/or youth without prior written approval from the parents or guardian and the pastor or administrator.
  • Report suspected abuse to the pastor, administrator or appropriate supervisor and the local Child Protection Services agency. Failure to report suspected abuse to civil authorities (by required reporters) is, according to the law, a misdemeanor.
  • Cooperate fully in any investigation of abuse of children and/or youth, the elderly or persons with disabilities.

A volunteer must not: 

  • Smoke or use tobacco products in the presence of children and/or youth.
  • Use, possess or be under the influence of alcohol at any time while volunteering.
  • Use, possess or be under the influence of illegal drugs at any time.
  • Pose any health risk to children/youth, the elderly or persons with disabilities through fevers or other contagious situations.
  • Strike, spank, shake or slap children/youth, the elderly or persons with disabilities.
  • Humiliate, ridicule, threaten or degrade children/youth, the elderly or persons with disabilities.
  • Touch a child/youth, the elderly or persons with disabilities in a sexual or other inappropriate manner.
  • Use any discipline that frightens or humiliates children/youth, the elderly or persons with disabilities.
  • Use profanity in the presence of children/youth, the elderly or persons with disabilities.

 Click the link below for a printable copy of the Volunteer Code of Conduct. 



Criminal History Background Checks

All paid Church personnel (clergy, religious and lay)—including those paid by stipend, whether they provide services to the Archdiocese, parish, school, early childhood center, or other diocesan institution—who have unsupervised or regular contact with a child/youth, the elderly or persons with disabilities shall have a criminal history background check every year.

Volunteers who regularly are entrusted with unsupervised or regular contact with a child, the elderly, or persons with disabilities shall have a criminal history background check every year.

Please attach a copy of your driver’s license to the background check form.  (The copy of your Driver’s License will be shredded after the background check has been entered.)  All completed background check forms should be placed in a sealed enveloped marked “Confidential—Background check enclosed” and brought to the Religious Ed. office or to the rectory.

Please click the link below for the





Please click the link below for the





Protecting God’s Children



What is VIRTUS® Protecting God’s Children training?

The Protecting God’s Children program is the VIRTUS program for protecting children from child sexual abuse. Protecting God’s Children is a 3-hour awareness session for adults in the faith community who interact with minors.

Participants are taught to identify situations that could leave a child vulnerable, the methods of sexual offenders and critical steps to help prevent abuse.

Who is required to attend Protecting God’s Children workshops?

  • All clergy working in the Archdiocese of Detroit
  • All adult paid employees of Central Services, Parishes, and Catholic Schools
  • All adult volunteers who have regular and/or unsupervised contact with minors

Not our Compliance, but our Calling

Often when we hear about the efforts of the Church in regard to sexual abuse, we hear about the importance of compliance with the USCCB Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People. From a faith environment perspective, the importance is not in our compliance, but in our calling. As Catholics we are called to respect the life and dignity of every human person from conception to natural death. The Charter guides us in action to our calling. Our calling furthers the Gospel message of Christ.


To register for a Protecting God’s Childrenworkshop, click on the following link.



Called to Serve

What is Called to Serve training?

Called to Serve is an interactive safe environment training program for teens in our Catholic High Schools and Parishes. Participants leave empowered to:

  • Use talents to effectively & responsibly serve others
  • Work with and be role models for children
  • Communicate and partner with adult supervisors
  • Interact appropriately with peers
  • Recognize and respond to inappropriate behavior
  • Who is required to attend Called to Serve workshops?
  • All tenth grade students in Catholic High Schools
  • Teens grades 9-12 who are church and/or Catholic School employees
  • Teens grades 9-12 who volunteer with children
  • All other teens in grades 9-12 are welcome and encouraged to attend.

What is Circle of Gracetraining?

Circle of Grace is the approved, safe environment training program for elementary and high school students enrolled in religious education in the Archdiocese. The goal of theCircle of Grace program is to educate and empower children and young people to actively participate in a safe environment for themselves and others.

Circle of Grace is neither a sex education nor stranger-danger course. It is a Catholic course that helps children understand the sacredness of who they are and how to seek help through relationships with trusted adults, reinforcing God’s presence in their real life struggles.

Circle of Grace is meant to supplement and be integrated into our religion classes. It aims to equip children with essential knowledge and skills grounded in the richness of the Catholic faith. This program helps children to understand their own (and other’s) dignity in mind, body, and spirit. Our teachers are to assist our students in recognizing each of us lives and moves within a circle of grace.

A parent may opt their child(ren) not to participate in the Circle of Grace lesson by informing the DRE or principal of their choice.

For more details about the Circle of Grace program, please click the link below.