Frequently Asked Questions
- I am a new Parish Screening Coordinator, how do I begin this task of screening at my parish?
- What are the steps involved in screening under the Safe Environment policy?
- What is a Vulnerable Sector Search?
- If I am the Parish Screening Coordinator, do I need to be screened?
- Should all youth leaders in Youth Ministry be screened?
- Should all prep assistants be screened?
- Must I screen the 14 year old who assists a prep teacher?
- I have a Grade 10 student teach a grade 3 class. Is that ok?
- Who should sign the Code of Conduct?
- Does a volunteer, who currently works or volunteers in a parish, need re-screening all when he/she volunteers in another parish?
- Can I delegate my responsibilities to another parishioner when I am away on vacation or am unable to carry my responsibilities for a short time?
- How often would the Archdiocese like an update as to the screening process?
- If a police record check is returned with indications of charges, discharges or convictions, what do I do?
- Can a third party be used to attain police record checks on our behalf?
This website, www.rcav.org/safe-environment, is where you would read current policies, download and print all forms and documents. Please note that the 2009 manual is outdated. The date of revisions is at the bottom of each document. Please ask your pastor for a list of all existing ministries and groups in the parish so you can ask which reasonably could involve minors and vulnerable adults. Contact each ministry to introduce yourself, discuss your role and be familiarized with what they do so you can assist your pastor in risk assessment for all positions.
The steps are:
- A screening interview to determine suitability to work with minors or vulnerable persons in that ministry;
- Two reference interviews, by phone or otherwise, to verify candidate’s suitability;
- A signed Code of Conduct; and
- A criminal record check and Vulnerable Sector Search (VSS) by the B.C. Ministry of Justice or local police.
If a person works or volunteers with vulnerable persons (includes minors) the police will look into additional databases that will show serious matters where a conviction may not have been recorded, offenses by minors and offenses that have been pardoned. A regular police search would only list unpardoned adult criminal convictions.
Yes, you should be screened by the pastor.
Only youth leaders who independently run programs without any supervision are in a position of high trust and have to do police checks/vulnerable sector search and have their references checked. All volunteers who work with minors and vulnerable adults should sign a Code of Conduct regardless of their role or responsibilities.
If prep assistants are teaching children in a classroom without supervision from a screened adult, they would have to be screened.
It is advised that minors should not ordinarily be given onerous responsibilities and high risk positions. If assisting a prep teacher means that he/she is constantly supervised, and not teaching children independently, the 14 year old would not have to be screened as a high risk case. As a low risk one, he or she has to sign a Code of Conduct. At times, it may be more appropriate for the parent to go through the Code with their child. A parent should co-sign the Code of Conduct and be present when the Code is being explained to the minor.
If deemed mature enough by a pastor to teach a class independently, he/she would be screened like an adult except that a police record check may not be required but would remain optional. The Ministry of Justice can provide record clearances for anyone over the age of 12. Supervision and support by a screened adult is recommended.
All adults who work with minors whether in a high or low risk role should understand, sign and abide by the Code of Conduct (COC). The COC was drafted with adults in mind and is not intended for use with younger minors. Minors who are 16 to 18 years of age may be mature enough to review and sign it. In this case, parents of these minors have to also co-sign the COC. While it is important that minors help out in activities, they should not be given unsupervised high risk positions. The ministry coordinator and screening coordinator, with approval of the pastor, may create and use an age appropriate version of the Code of Conduct to set clear boundaries and expectations for younger helpers.
10. Does a volunteer, who currently works or volunteers in a parish, need re-screening all when he/she volunteers in another parish?
While screening cannot be delegated, we understand that parishes may rely upon a pastor/parish screening coordinator’s letter that a volunteer has been screened according to the RCAV policy and that the volunteer is in good standing. That may suffice for the references. A copy of the Police Record Check and vulnerable sector search may be retrieved upon the written permission by the volunteer to the first parish to release screening information and documents to another parish. The Ministry of Justice online system will do this directly on request.
11. Can I delegate my responsibilities to another parishioner when I am away on vacation or am unable to carry my responsibilities for a short time?
Due to the sensitive and responsible nature of the position the pastor remains accountable for compliance with both our policy and legal requirements, such as privacy legislation. We are urging parishes to properly appoint assistants so that parishes will have more than one person handling the screening process. An assistant to the coordinator can continue screening and follow up with the volunteers and employees to complete the process if the coordinator is ill or on vacation.
An official update would consist of a Parish Sign-off of the list of screened individuals, signed by the Pastor and Screening Coordinator. At this point, a list must be sent yearly. If no new volunteers/employees have been screened in that year, please submit a letter stating that your parish do not have new employees/volunteers working with minors or vulnerable adults in the current year. It may include persons who are in the process of being screened, such as waiting for a record clearance which was requested. From the fall of 2012, an Archdiocesan representative will go to the parish to audit the process so as to help facilitate best practices for implementing this policy.
13. If a police record check is returned with indications of charges, discharges or convictions, what do I do?
This is not relevant if parishes send all volunteer applications for a check to the Ministry of Justice who will independently assess suitability should there be charges, discharges, pardons or convictions.
Please note that the pastor can always reject a volunteer whether or not the Police record check is clear. However, the Pastor cannot allow the person to work with minors or vulnerable adults if the Ministry deems the person unsuitable. Please contact the Safe Environment Office if you have any concern over issues arising from in person local police record checks. The Archbishop’s delegate will assist the pastor decide on a proper course of action.
Currently the National Parole Board does not permit third parties to acquire information necessary for Vulnerable Sector searches. A regular police record check is not sufficient for our purposes unless it is only as a renewal up to five years after a clean VSS check was done.
FAQ’s revised 2016-10-24