Safe Environment Overview

In response to the Charter for the Protection of Children as adopted by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in Dallas in June 2002, the Diocese of Sioux City has created a safe environment program that includes:

  • A strict Code of Conduct that all clergy, parish and school employees and all volunteers must adhere to.
  • Comprehensive background checks on all existing and new employees of the Diocese and entities associated with the Diocese, and all existing and ew volunteers who have contact with children
  • “Protecting God’s Children”: An education program that teaches how to recognize and report child sexual abuse, and how to recognize potential abusers.

All employees of the diocese, parishes and/or schools as well as volunteers who have contact with children are required to participate in and comply with all aspects of the Safe Environment Program.

All records of compliance for the Safe Environment Program are kept at the Central Catholic Offices in Sioux City, Iowa.

If you are an adult who suffered abuse by a member of the clergy or someone who works for the Catholic Church, contact Angie Mack, Victim Assistance Coordinator at 1-866-435-4397 or 712-279-5610.

“The Charter for the Protection of Children & Young People”
This policy is designed to reach out to victims of sexual abuse with compassion and sensitivity and to assure the safety of minors in the church community.
Equally important, this policy provides a framework for reporting and responding to allegations of sexual abuse of a minor by a member of the clergy, an employee or a volunteer of the Diocese.
Read “The Charter For the Protection of Children and Young People”

Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People

Child Protection Brochure

“Safe Environment Code of Conduct”
This Code of Conduct establishes a set of ethical standards for church leaders, including all who minister on behalf of the Church as employees or as volunteers.
Violation of the Code will result in disciplinary action by the appropriate authority up to and including termination of employment or removal from ministry.

Code of Conduct (English)

Code of Conduct (Spanish)

Employee / Volunteer Background Checks
Offers of employment and continued employment shall be contingent upon obtaining a signed authorization for the procurement of an investigative consumer report (including a criminal background check) for employment purposes and a satisfactory report.
Current employees will be required to authorize and undergo annual investigations.

How To Initiate A Background Check

VIRTUS–Protecting God’s Children
“Protecting God’s Children” is a program developed by The National Catholic Risk Retention Group (TNCRRG) at the request of Monsignor Kevin McCoy, past board chairman of TNCRRG.

‘VIRTUS’ is a series of training programs whose name is derived from the Latin word that means valor, moral strength, excellence and worth.

The initial awareness training is a 3-4 hour classroom session consisting of video presentations and discussions facilitated by trained volunteers and Diocesan staff. The training is extended for selected employees and volunteers through the use of monthly online training bulletins.

All employees of the Diocese, parishes or schools, as well as volunteers who work with children, are required to attend a “Protecting God’s Children” training class within 90 days of the start of their service.

Regular training sessions are conducted throughout the Diocese. You will find a schedule for all update Virtus training classes HERE. After creating your online profile and selecting a class to attend, you will see a link to our background check form that can be completed and signed online.

If you suspect that a child is being abused, immediately notify the Child Abuse Hotline:
Iowa: 1-800-362-2178
Nebraska: 1-800-652-1999
South Dakota: 1-866-847-7338

Upcoming VIRTUS Training Sessions
Registration is required for all classes.

Please click HERE to view and register for classes.

How to Report Child Abuse
If you suspect that a child is being abused, immediately notify the Child Abuse Hotline:

IOWA: 1-800-362-2178
Nebraska: 1-800-652-1999
South Dakota: 877-244-0864
Minnesota: 1 800 369 7994

If you are an adult who suffered abuse by a member of the clergy or someone who works for the Catholic Church, contact Angie Mack, Victim Assistance Coordinator at 1-866-435-4397 or 712-279-5610.

How To Report Abuse

Field Trip Information

Student Waiver

Adult Waiver

Medical Waiver

Field Trip Guidelines Checklist

Chaperone Guidelines

Zero Tolerance Policy

Zero Tolerance Policy

Training for Children
The Diocese of Sioux City has implemented “Teaching Boundaries and Safety”, a comprehensive training program for Catholic school students that teaches them to protect themselves from victimization. This program meets the guidelines set by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, which mandates that:

  • An effective safe environment training program should help children understand that abusers can be anyone – friends, family members, or persons they trust.
  • Effective programs should teach students to identify warning signs and grooming behavior that could lead to abuse.
  • Effective programs should explain that abuse is never the fault of the youth.
  • All safe environment programs should include Catholic teaching and integrate faith into the subject of abuse.
  • An effective safe environment program should include lessons that begin in kindergarten.
  • Programs should include tips for how to be safe on the internet, social media, or while using other technology.
  • Effective programs should help students identify the difference between appropriate and inappropriate touch.
  • Effective programs should help students develop skills and language to say no to an abuser, and to know who is a trusted adult.
  • Programs should help students identify appropriate personal boundaries.
  • All safe environment training programs should use age and developmentally appropriate, research-based materials.
  • Programs should include active, systematic, and specific skills training, and model best practices of how to respond to potential abusers and uncomfortable situations.
  • Programs should include group discussions on best practices that were modeled, and use role play to practice skills that were learned.
  • Safe environment training programs should be a comprehensive part of the curriculum, and should include a minimum of four lessons per year, and should include training over multiple years.
  • Sufficient lesson time should be dedicated to the training, so that students can learn and apply all the concepts taught.
  • Safe environment programs should include a parental component that includes a preview of the program for parents and homework for students and parents to complete together.
  • Programs should be evaluated periodically to measure student learning as well as ease of use by teachers, and to ensure programs are being implemented according to publisher guidelines.

Teaching Boundaries and Safety Guide (English)

Teaching Boundaries and Safety Guide (Spanish)

Protecting Children from Pornography
Click on the link below to watch a video to protect your children from porn and other internet dangers.

www.cmgparent.org/app

For more information about our diocesan Safe Environment Program, contact:
Colleen Sulsberger
Diocesan Safe Environment Coordinator
(712) 233-7517
colleens@scdiocese.org