The Official Newspaper of the Diocese of Little Rock

Child protection requirements change for some

Background checks no longer needed for some volunteers

Published: November 20, 2014   

Volunteers who don’t have direct contact with children will no longer necessarily be required to have background checks and read monthly training bulletins as part of the diocesan safe environment program.

Bishop Anthony B. Taylor announced the change Nov. 1 after reviewing the diocesan policies with the Presbyteral Council and diocesan review board. The change will most affect those who have ministries within Mass, including lectors, extraordinary ministers of holy Communion and adult choir members. The change was effective Nov. 1.

All paid employees and volunteers in the diocese must continue to attend a Virtus Protecting God’s Children for Adults training session.  

Any diocesan, parish or school employee or volunteers with direct contact with children will continue to have background checks and will continue to be required to read monthly articles on child protection issues via the Virtus website.

Lazeth Novak, diocesan safe environment coordinator, said “key volunteer positions” must continue to fulfill all the requirements that paid employees do. These volunteers include faith formation directors, catechists, youth directors, altar server trainers, playground and lunchroom volunteers and youth choir directors.

Deacon Bo McAllister, chancellor for canonical affairs, said the diocese has been looking at its policies for the past year and carefully reviewed how to create the best policy to protect children.

“We were about the strictest diocese in the nation,” McAllister said. “We compared our policies, and we realized we were requiring too much of some of our volunteers.”

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