As part of the implementation of the Charter for the Protection of Children & Young People, the Archdiocese of Chicago requires its parishes and schools to provide valuable training in sexual abuse prevention to children and youth in schools and programs annually.
This important training is designed to educate children and youth on how to recognize and report abuse, and are age-appropriate, research-based and straightforward. It’s important to note that the below programs are not sex education courses, rather sexual abuse prevention training that encourages children/youth to disclose abuse, neglect or any troubling information to a safe adult, particularly their parent(s).
Praesidium’s Called to Protect
A comprehensive safe environment program for K-12th grade exclusively for Catholic parents, youth and children.
VIRTUS Teaching Touching Safety
A program through which parents, teachers, catechists, youth ministers and other educators give children and young people the tools they need to protect themselves.
National Center for Missing & Exploited Children’s Kids Smartz(not to be confused with Netsmartz)
A child safety program that educates families on preventing abduction and empowers kids in grades K-5 to practice safer behaviors. Information and materials can be downloaded for free here.
RCL Benziger’s Family Life Program
A K-8 religious education program that develops better communication skills and healthy family relationships.
Child Lures Prevention
A program that helps children and teens prevent sexual abuse, harassment, abduction, drugs and bullying/cyberbullying. This requirement helps parents provide valuable educations to their child/children.
Parents are notified by the school or religious education program about scheduling the training session.
Mandated Reporter Training provides adults mandated by state law and Archdiocesan policy to report suspected child abuse and neglect with information on how to recognize and report child abuse and neglect.
The following employees and volunteers are required to complete this training within 60 days of hire:
- School personnel, medical personnel, social service and mental health personnel, law enforcement personnel, coroner/medical examiner personnel, child care personnel and clergy. School personnel are required to recertify every 5 years.
- Catechists, youth ministers, coaches, and pastoral center employees who work directly with children.
- Seminarians must complete this while at the seminary and training is offered to deacons during their formation.
- Online training
The Office for the Protection of Children and Youth (OPCY) has partnered with the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) to use their existing online training: Recognizing and Reporting Child Abuse: Training for Mandated Reporters. At this time, online training is available in English and Spanish. Participants should be aware of the following:
- Training takes at least 60 minutes to complete.
- You must use a computer with a printer to print the certificate at the completion of the training. Only a computer-generated certificate will be accepted.
- The computer used for training must be equipped with speakers or a headset to allow you to hear the audio.
- Employees must have their employee ID number (can be found on a paycheck stub). Volunteers use an email address to create their online training account.
Please click here to access online training.
Protecting God’s Children for Adults is conducted by certified facilitators on the prevention of child sexual abuse. The training educates participants on the signs of child sexual abuse, the methods and means by which offenders commit abuse, and how to prevent it.
Facilitators incorporate Archdiocesan policies and procedures into the training, defining child sexual abuse, addressing the reporting of child sexual abuse, and the screening and selection of employees and volunteers.
- All employees and volunteers who work with children and youth must fulfill this compliance requirement. Anyone employed two months or longer who has not attended are at risk to be suspended from their work or volunteer for the Archdiocese of Chicago until compliance is met.
- Participants must be present for the entire training session to receive credit for attendance.
Please see below for training options. Contact [email protected] with additional questions.
Participate in Training
If you have never participated in this training, click here to find and pre-register for an upcoming training session and create a new account.
Participated in Training with Another Diocese
If you have taken this training with another diocese, please contact VIRTUS at 888.847.8870 to authorize them to transfer your account to the Archdiocese of Chicago. Please note, online trainings of Virtus Protecting God’s Children for Adults do not meet the Archdiocese of Chicago’s requirement.
Unable to Attend a Registered Session
If you have already created an account and pre-registered for a training session, but did not make a session and need to transfer your account to a different training session, click here to view upcoming sessions. Please be sure to use your existing account to transfer your information. If you are unable to transfer your account to another session, email the date and location you would like to attend training along with your VIRTUS user ID to [email protected].
Create a VIRTUS Account Online
If you have already attended a training session, but never created a VIRTUS account online go to www.virtusonline.org and create a new account. Be sure to choose the training session you attended from the drop-down box when asked. When completed, contact us to have your account approved/activated at 312.534.5206 or email [email protected].
If you have already participated in training for the Archdiocese of Chicago, log in to your account at www.virtusonline.org to ensure it is approved, active and updated with your current information.
Every parish and school is required to have a Site Administrator, an on-site employee designated by a pastor or principal at their parish or school, whose qualifications and duties include, but are not limited to, the management of compliance data for their site’s employees and volunteers. Site Administrator Training provides administrators with an understanding of the responsibilities and expectations to ensure and verify every employee and volunteer has complied with Safe Environment requirements.
Click here to sign up for trainings.
Wednesday, May 6, 2020
9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
St. John Brebeuf
8307 North Harlem Avenue
Niles, IL 60714
Limited Seating: 20
Wednesday, June 10, 2020
9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
St. Mary, Star of the Sea School
6424 South Kenneth Avenue
Chicago, IL 60629
Limited Seating: 20
Each parish and school should have a trained, certified VIRTUS Facilitator. Employees/volunteers interested in being certified to train are required to participate in this two-day training hosted by the Office for the Protection of Children and Youth (OPCY). For pertinent information and to obtain the required application form, contact Maricela Gonzalez at 312.534.5388 or [email protected].
It is recommended that each school and/or parish have a certified facilitator to train their employees and volunteers. Applicants must be pre-approved by the pastor/principal to attend the training. Applicants must be in compliance with the Safe Environment requirements prior to taking the training.
The dates listed below are the scheduled dates in 2019 for training to be a facilitator in the Protecting God’s Children for Adults (Virtus) program.
June 19 and 20, 2020
8:30 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Frassati Catholic Academy
316 W. Mill Street,
(Pollone Library both days)
Parking: School lot
Note: Enter through the front door to the school
October 23 and 24, 2020
8:30 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Cardinal Meyer Center
3525 S. Lake Park Avenue
(Lower Level both days)