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Implementing Screening Standards

All screening standards must be applied equitably and consistently. Don’t lower the standards, and don’t skip steps. It’s the nature of the position, not the nature of the person holding the position, that determines the standard. The organizational leadership (bishop, churchwardens, director, incumbent, priest-in-charge) is responsible for making sure screening standards are implemented in the parish or organization. The screening standards listed below are also summarized in the Implementing Screening Standards Chart.

Carefully fill out the Screening Checklist, Appendix E, for each person being screened.

Your parish may also want to develop an electronic means of tracking the steps of the screening process. You can use the Screening Steps Worksheet to help with tracking.

Low-risk ministries

It’s recommended that all people in these ministries:

  1. Fill out an application form that doesn’t require a list of references. (Appendix F, Application Form)
  2. Receive a ministry description of the position. (Appendix B, Ministry Description Template, Appendix C, Sample Ministry Descriptions)
  3. Be trained for the ministry.
  4. Meet regularly with a supervisor who will provide support, feedback, mentoring and information about the nature and duties of the ministry.

Medium-risk ministries

It’s required that all people in these ministries:

  1. Be known to the organization or a regular church attender for at least 12 months, or have a good reference from another parish, before they’re assigned to the ministry. (This may not be an appropriate requirement for paid employees.)
  2. Fill out an application form that doesn’t require a list of references (Appendix F, Application Form)
  3. Receive a ministry description for the position. (Appendix B, Ministry Description Template, Appendix C, Sample Ministry Descriptions)
  4. Be interviewed by the senior person responsible for the ministry to discern suitability. The discussion should include a review of the ministry description, the norms of the faith community and expected behaviour and attitudes required for the position. (Appendix G, Interview Questions)
  5. Be trained for the ministry.
  6. Attend a Sexual Misconduct Policy training session at the beginning of the ministry and every three years thereafter. The person responsible for the ministry will make sure the person’s attendance is recorded and kept on file for an indefinite period of time. (Appendix H, Training Attendance Form)
  7. Receive a copy of the guidelines appropriate for their type of ministry. (Appendix I, Ministry Guidelines)
  8. Meet regularly with a supervisor who will provide support, feedback and mentoring.

High-risk ministries

It’s required that all people in these ministries:

  1. Be known to the organization and a regular attender for at least 12 months, or have a good reference from another parish, before they’re assigned to the ministry. (This may not be appropriate for paid employees.)
  2. Fill out an application form and provide a list of three references. (Appendix F, Application Form)
  3. Sign a release on the application form allowing for reference checks. The senior person responsible for the ministry will make sure the reference checks are completed. (Appendix J, Reference Check Questions)
  4. Receive a ministry description of the position. (Appendix B, Ministry Description Template, Appendix C, Sample Ministry Descriptions)
  5. Be interviewed by the senior person responsible for the ministry to discern suitability. The discussion should include a review of the ministry description, the norms of the faith community and expected behaviour and attitudes required for the position. (Appendix G, Interview Questions)
  6. Be trained for the ministry.
  7. Attend a Sexual Misconduct Policy training session at the beginning of the ministry and every three years thereafter. The person responsible for the ministry will make sure the person’s attendance is recorded and keep on file for an indefinite period of time. (Appendix H, Training Attendance Form)
  8. Receive a copy of the guidelines appropriate for their type of ministry. (Appendix I, Ministry Guidelines)
  9. Document all one-on-one visits or meetings that occur with children or vulnerable adults. (Appendix K, One-on-One Record Form) All off-site activities involving children under the age of 16 require a parental consent form signed by parents or legal guardians. (Appendix L, Parental Consent Form)
  10. Meet regularly with a supervisor who will provide support, feedback and mentoring.
  11. Complete a current police record check through the approved background checking service at the beginning of the ministry and every three years thereafter. (Appendix M, Police Records Check Process)

Establish training and supervision

Clear lines of supervision must be established for all ministry positions. All individuals ministering in positions of authority should have regularly scheduled meetings with a supervisor to discuss the ministry and to make sure their actions remain appropriate and that participants are benefiting from the ministry.

When an individual is in doubt about appropriate or inappropriate courses of action, or about the vulnerability of a particular group or individual, or when they believe a boundary may have been crossed in the course of ministry, they must report the situation to the supervisor and seek advice on how to proceed. If the supervisor is unable, unwilling or unavailable to help, advice should be sought from another qualified individual. Identify the supervisor or advisor in advance so there’s no question about who to contact if it becomes necessary.

Because of their responsibilities for children or vulnerable adults, all individuals ministering in medium- and high-risk positions must attend a Sexual Misconduct Policy training workshop at the beginning of their ministry and every three years thereafter. The Diocese supplies training resources to help parishes with this responsibility.

Help & resources

For the full list of resources available to help you implement the Responsible Ministry: Screening in Faith program, see Forms and Resources.