Safe Environment Program

SEP

St. Patrick Catholic Church supports the Diocese of St. Petersburg Safe Environment Program

St Patrick Catholic Church and the Diocese of St. Petersburg must ensure that children and youth who worship, study, or participate in activities sponsored by the Parish and the Diocese can do so in the safest and most secure setting possible. Parents and caretakers must have confidence in Parish and  the Diocese before they will allow their children to become involved in Parish activities. The Safe Environment Programs of the Diocese of St. Petersburg are designed to instill that confidence and are encouraged by insurance and risk management companies as well.

This same concern applies to our vulnerable adults. A vulnerable adult is an individual who is 18 years or older whose ability to perform the normal activities of daily living are extremely limited or whose ability to provide for his or her own care or protection is impaired due to a mental, emotional, physical, developmental disability dysfunction, brain damage, or the infirmities of aging.

In accordance with the US Conference of Catholic Bishop’s (USCCB) Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People and the Florida Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Diocese has established safe environment programs under the Diocese of St. Petersburg Policy for the Protection of Children and Vulnerable Adults. The Diocese cooperates with parents, civil authorities, educators, and community organizations in its effort to provide education and training for children, youth, parents, ministers, educators, and others about ways to make and maintain a safe environment for children and vulnerable adults.

All Clergy, Staff and anyone entrusted with the care, responsibility, and or supervision of children, youth, or vulnerable adults or who wants unsupervised access to these vulnerable populations must successfully complete a Level 2 FBI/Florida Department of Law Enforcement background check performed by the Diocese of St. Petersburg based on electronic fingerprinting. In addition, one must successfully complete a three-hour Safe Environment Program (SEP) training course tailored to adults who want unsupervised access to children and youth or adults who want unsupervised access to vulnerable adults (this   training is also known as Eucharistic Ministers of Holy Communion to the Homebound/Pastoral Care Providers SEP training).


Ministry Volunteer Resource Center

We are happy to have you join our Parish Ministry Family. Welcome!

On behalf of St. Patrick Catholic Church, I want to thank you for your interest in giving your time and talent to serve as a volunteer for our parish. As a volunteer, you will need to fill out a Diocese of St. Petersburg volunteer application for St. Patrick Catholic Church in Tampa, FL.

If you are volunteering for a ministry, which specifically works with children, youth, and/or vulnerable adults, there are special requirements, which we must follow. Both the Diocese of St. Petersburg and our Parish takes very seriously the importance of protecting all those who are most vulnerable. Before a volunteer can be allowed to serve children, youth, and/or vulnerable adults, an application form must be completed, and compliance with background screening and the Diocesan Safe Environment Program is required.

Please do not hesitate to contact Anne Marie Kearney with any questions or concerns you may have, at 813-839-5337, ext. 114. Thank you for your time and attention to this important matter.

Important Resource Links

Required for Parish Ministry Volunteers working with Children, Youth and Vulnerable Adults and Parish Employees

COVERED VOLUNTEER APPLICATION

ELECTRONIC FINGERPRINTING

S.E.P. TRAINING ONLINE CERTIFICATION/RE-CERTIFICATION INSTRUCTIONS

or you may choose a live session location in the Diocese of St. Petersburg

S.E.P. TRAINING WORKSHOP Diocesan Calendar

 

Other Resources

DIOCESE OF ST PETERSBURG SAFE ENVIRONMENT WEBPAGE (All links located on this page)

VOLUNTEER APPLICATION (For Non-SEP Ministry Volunteers) Required for ALL Parish Ministry Volunteers 


Diocese of St. Petersburg Safe Environment Program

Bishop Lynch has authorized Safe Environment Training Programs to protect the vulnerable populations of the diocese as follows:

Anyone who may have the care, responsibility, and or supervision of a child , youth, or vulnerable adult must attend Safe Environment Program Training

Children and Youth

In accordance with the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People and the Diocese of St. Petersburg Policy for the Protection of Children and Young People, adults (18 years of age or older and post high school) who wish to have unsupervised access to children and youth must receive Safe Environment Program Training and receive a FBI/FDLE (AFRNP) Level 2 Criminal History Background Check. 

It is important to note that individuals under the age of 18 and post high school cannot have unsupervised access to children or youth – this includes all youth ministers .  When minor aged youth act in leadership positions over younger children, SEP-trained and background screened adults must be physically present

Safe Environment Program (SEP) training for those who wish unsupervised access to children and youth must attend a 3-hour SEP training workshop.  These workshops teach caring adults: (1) to watch for signs of predatory behavior in adults, (2) to watch for signs of abuse in a child, and (3) to report it to the police (911) or to the Florida Department of Children and Family’s Abuse Hotline (800- 96ABUSE).  These training sessions are presented throughout the diocese in various locations and can be found on the diocesan website SEP calendar at by clicking on the “SEP training workshop” link above.

Persons attending a SEP training session/workshop will be issued a SEP Training Attendance Certificate Safe Environment Program Training which is good for five years.  Individuals who wish to keep their certification active must be re-certified every 5 years by completing an online recertification course at www.shieldthevulnerable.org or by attending another live training session.

The Diocese of St. Petersburg uses the Girls and Boys Town Family Center for Adolescent and Family Spirituality child safety program.  The Diocese of St. Petersburg does not accept SEP training from any other dioceses or archdioceses.   Even though the basic child protection information is generic, there are other differences that do not address local conditions.  These conditions pertain to such things as diocesan policy, local or state law, jargon, notification procedures and telephone numbers, etc.

If previously SEP trained and background screened individuals serve in more than one volunteer or combination volunteer/employee position, or who may be relocating to another parish or school within the diocese wish to transfer their training and background screening information, please contact the diocesan Safe Environment Program Office at 727-344-1611, Ext. 377 to facilitate the transfer process.

Vulnerable Adults

Church Personnel who provide ministry  and support services to vulnerable adults are subject to the Diocese of St. Petersburg Policy for the Protection of Children and Vulnerable Adults.   A Vulnerable Adult is a person 18 years or older whose ability to perform the normal activities of daily living or to provide for his or her own care or protection is impaired due to a mental, emotional, physical, developmental disability dysfunction, brain damage, or the infirmities of aging.

At his May 17, 2006 meeting with pastors, Bishop Lynch announced that according to Florida law the safe environment program is to be extended to all Church personnel who minister to vulnerable adults.  Church personnel who minister to vulnerable adults must have their backgrounds screened for criminal history .  In addition, these individuals must attend Safe Environment Program training for adults who wish unsupervised access to vulnerable adults.