Calling All Adults
St. Joseph Parish Family!
Please take a moment to read this important information regarding the requirements for all volunteers working with children and youth within the Diocese of Allentown and the State of Pennsylvania.
In the state of Pennsylvania, all persons, both employees and volunteers, who come into contact with children at any time in the course of their work are considered mandated reporters of child abuse and are required by Pennsylvania State Law to report to law enforcement authorities all cases of suspected child abuse. In order to further protect the youth of our community, PA State Law requires that all employees or volunteers who come into contact with children complete a PA State Police Criminal Background Check, PA Child Abuse History Clearance, FBI Criminal Background Check, National Sex Offender Registry Check, and to attend Mandated Reporter Training.
Additionally, the Diocese of Allentown requires these persons to attend a Protecting God’s Children Workshop, and to read & acknowledge the Diocesan Code of Conduct, Sexual Abuse Policy and Child Protective Services Law sheet. In 2022, the Diocese of Allentown also added a policy on social media and electronic communications. In some cases, volunteers may also be asked to read monthly educational bulletins on the Virtus Online Training/Tracking Platform. All actions taken by the Diocese of Allentown in regards to Youth Protection are based on the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, established by the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops in June 2002. The norms resulting from the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People require dioceses to work with parents, civil authorities, educators, employees and volunteers to establish and maintain the safest environment for minors.
“Churches, schools, and youth organizations must ensure that children and youth who worship, study, or participate in activities sponsored by a parish can do so in the safest and most secure setting possible.” - United States Conference of Catholic Bishops on Child and Youth Protection
Any other individual or group running or assisting at a child/youth activity, or, using Parish buildings during school/PREP hours may be required to complete the clearance process. This may include members of any of our Parish Social and/or Spiritual Activities. Check with the Parish Safe Environment Coordinator for details.
Every employee and/or volunteer in our parish must complete the 11 steps on the Diocese of Allentown “Safe Environment Requirements Checklist”. This list includes the items required by the State of Pennsylvania as well as the Diocese of Allentown. Details on how to complete these steps can be found on our Volunteer Requirements webpage.
Safe Environment Requirements Checklist
Diocese of Allentown Background Authorization form
Federal Bureau of Investigation Criminal Background Fingerprint Check (DHS only)
PA Child Abuse History Clearance
PA State Police Criminal Record Check
National Sex Offender Registration Check
Signed Acknowledgement Form for the Diocese of Allentown’s Sexual Abuse Policy
Signed Acknowledgement form for the Diocese of Allentown’s Code of Conduct
Protecting God’s Children Workshop
Mandated Reporting Training -
Child Protective Services Law Policy
Social Media & Electronic Communications Policies
When applying for the clearances required by Pennsylvania State Law - PA State Police Criminal Background Check, PA Child Abuse History Clearance, National Sex Offender Registry Check and the FBI Criminal Background Check - individuals will be required to provide personal identifiers including, but not limited to: applicant’s Full Name, Date of Birth, Address, Phone Number, Social Security Number, Email Address and Driver’s License Number. Under Pennsylvania Law pursuant to § 6344 (b.1), the employer, administrator, supervisor or other person responsible for employment decisions or acceptance of the individual to serve in any capacity requiring clearances, shall maintain copies of the required information. Your personal volunteer file will be located in the parish Rectory and may only be viewed by the parish Safe Environment Coordinator, and/or the parish priest if deemed necessary. Additionally, the Diocesan Safe Environment Coordinator’s office keeps secure files of all Diocese of Allentown employees and volunteers. Protecting your personal identity is a priority in the clearance process, so please do not be concerned about providing this information.
If you have completed any/all of these items, please submit the documentation to the Rectory. You have a few options for how to submit your completed paperwork to the Rectory: In a sealed envelope addressed to PARISH SAFE ENVIRONMENT COORDINATOR, which can be placed in the offertory basket at any weekend Mass; personally delivered to the Rectory during normal business hours (typically, Monday-Friday 10AM-3PM); or, mailed to the Rectory at 5050 St. Joseph’s Road, Coopersburg, PA 18036. Please indicate if you need any of the papers returned to you.
Questions can be directed to the Parish Safe Environment Coordinator, Janessa Lanning O’Donnell, at the Rectory office: 610-965-2877, or via email: email@example.com.
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