Changes to improve and simplify the Diocese of Little Rock’s safe environment program will be made starting March 1.
Bishop Anthony B. Taylor issued a Decree of Changes to Diocesan Safe Environment Policies and Procedures Feb. 5 for all diocesan, school and parish employees and volunteers.
“Our children and youth are our most precious gifts, for they truly are the future of our families, our communities and our Church,” the decree stated.
Under the direction of Matt Glover, chancellor for canonical affairs, the policies that were put in place following the adoption of the U.S. bishops’ 2002 Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People were re-evaluated.
Four changes will be made:
With the new system, adults will enter their information into a new background check system through the Virtus site and “certain key databases” will be rechecked automatically four times a year. The diocese will then be notified if there are any changes in the databases. The decree noted that this will be more secure since the diocese won’t have to store personal information on employees and volunteers.
For anyone currently with a Virtus account, there is no need to resubmit background check information now, Bishop Taylor said. Melissa Jackson, safe environment coordinator, is going to determine when the five-year background check is due and contact the employees and volunteers to input their information online through their Virtus account.
Jackson will also be offering in-service training to the clergy, youth ministers and religious educators about safe environment topics.
“I do believe these changes are for the best — not only for our diocese and our safe environment program but also (and most importantly) for our children and youth whom we aim to protect and keep safe,” the decree said.
For more information, contact Jackson at (501) 664-0340.
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