Safe Environment Office
What We Do
The Safe Environment Office educates clergy, employees and volunteers of the Archdiocese of Chicago on how to prevent sexual abuse, recognize grooming behaviors and create safe environments for children and young people in our parishes, schools and community. In addition, the Safe Environment Office is responsible for tracking the screening of clergy, employees and volunteers.
You have the right to report your story, and we are here to help, listen and connect you to the right services. To ensure the best resources and investigation practices are engaged, we encourage all allegations concerning the abuse and/or neglect of minors are reported to the DCFS Hotline (1.800.25.ABUSE) and/or the local police department first before reaching out to the Office of the Protection of Children and Youth (OPCY). If you need to report historical abuse, please contact OPCY at 312.534.5254.
The following are required trainings for clergy, employees and adults who volunteer of the Archdiocese of Chicago:
Protecting God’s Children for Adults™/Virtus Training
Protecting God's Children for Adults is a training 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. Please click here to register and for more information.
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. This requirement includes school personnel, clergy, DREs/CREs, catechists, youth ministers and coaches. Please click here to register and for more information.
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 to children and youth in schools and programs annually. Please click here for current programs, requirements and forms.
Site Administrator Training
Every parish and school is required to hire a Site Administrator, an onsite 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 responsibilities and expectations to ensure that every employee and volunteer has complied with requirements.
Registration is required for training. Please register at least five business days prior to the scheduled training. To register please click on the following link: https://www.signupgenius.com/go/30e0a49adaf29a1f49-site4.
Please contact Maricela Gonzalez at [email protected] or call 312.534.5254 if you have any questions. Classes may be canceled due to low enrollment.
Virtus Facilitator Training
Each parish and/or school should have a trained, certified Virtus Facilitator. All Virtus Facilitators are required to participate in this two-day training hosted by the Office for the Protection of Children and Youth (OPCY). Please click here to register and for more information.
The Safe Environment Office abides by the USCCB Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People. The charter requires that all dioceses/eparchies have clear and well-publicized standards of behaviors and boundaries, maintain safe environment programs for all children and adults and evaluate the background of all lay employees, clergy, and all volunteers who have contact with children.
Safe Environment Principles
With our schools and religious education programs rising to the challenge of providing education remotely, questions about safe environment have surfaced. Our safe environment guidelines can be applied in any situation by using specific principles. Caring adults can prevent child sexual abuse by keeping their eyes and ears open to suspicious activity and knowing how to report suspicious activity. Click here to read more.
Mayra Flores, BA
Safe Environment Coordinator