Diocese of Lafayette-in-Indiana
Background Check Policy
As a Church, we value the safety of children in our care, the people whom we serve and our employees and volunteers. We want to take prudent measures to attempt to safeguard people from potential harm. Therefore, the diocese has implemented a policy on background checks for our priests, seminarians, religious and lay employees, and volunteers who have contact with children.
Parts of a Background Check Include:
1. A review of the Indiana State Police criminal history database (county repositories may be checked as well to verify convictions or provide more information about convictions);
2. A review of state and county criminal history databases in other states for employees or volunteers who live out-of-state or who have recently moved to Indiana;
3. A review of the Indiana Sex Offender Registry;
4. A check of driving records through the Indiana Department of Motor Vehicles (only for employees who drive as part of their job responsibilities and is indicated on the job description);
5. A credit check (only for employees who have access to over $1,000 in funds and whose job description requires access to funds); and/or,
6. Professional assistance in verifying convictions obtained though criminal history reports and researching details of convictions to allow for informed decisions on suitability for employment or volunteer service.
Background checks are conducted by a local firm, Barada, Inc., which specializes in obtaining criminal histories, driving records, and credit reports.
It is the policy of the Diocese of Lafayette-in-Indiana to conduct background checks on the following individuals:
1. All seminarians;
2. All diocesan priests in active ministry;
3. All religious order priests in ministry assignments within the diocese;
4. All priests who are extern to the diocese and wish to have ministry within the diocese;
5. All new religious and lay employees
6. All current religious and lay employees;
7. All new volunteers who have contact with children (as described below); and
8. All current volunteers who have contact with children (as described below)
Background checks do not need to be conducted on lay employees or volunteers who are under 18 years of age since criminal records are not available for juveniles.
Contact With Children
It is our policy to conduct background checks on volunteers who have contact with children and to require attendance at a Safe Conduct Protocol In-service. A regular volunteer is any person who functions in the name of the Church in a capacity of chaperoning, mentoring, supervising, teaching or training minors (those who are under the age of 18). Positions may include: athletic director, catechist, chaperone for overnight events, clerical/office help, crossing guard, custodian (school or parish), day care/extended care worker, instructional assistant, library assistant, maintenance (school or office), playground monitor, "room" mother or father, sacramental prep, scout volunteer (if not already checked), server trainer/sacristan, tutor/private instructor, youth choir director, youth ministry commission member, youth ministry activities team member, youth ministry program leader, youth ministry retreat team member.
Process for Employees and Volunteers Who Have Contact With Children
1. A diocesan background check form is completed online through Safe & Sacred, the Diocesan Safe Environment training program. The online program prompts the applicant to complete questions about personal and criminal history;
2. The individual cannot start work or volunteer service until the background check has been completed;
3. If there is no criminal history, Barada Inc. will send a report to the parish, school or agency within 2-3 business days verifying that a check has been completed. (Out-of-state checks may take longer.)
4. If there is a criminal history, Barada Inc. will send a report to the designated pastor, principal or business manager within 2-3 business days, and they will immediately contact the Director of Human Resources. A conviction for a crime does not automatically preclude employment or volunteer service and individual circumstances will be considered, such as the nature and severity of the crime, the number of convictions, how long it has been since the convictions occurred, and the duties of the position.
5. Completion of Diocesan required safe environment training modules in Safe & Sacred are also required prior to employment or volunteerism.
Process for Current Employees and Current Volunteers Who Have Contact With Children
1. Every three years a new diocesan background check form is completed online through Safe & Sacred, the Diocesan Safe Environment training program. Current employees and volunteers will receive a notification to submit a new background check request through Safe & Sacred prior to the expiration of the existing background check on file;
2. Individuals may not work or volunteer service until the new background check is completed;
3. Barada, Inc. will send a list of persons with no criminal history to the pastor, principal or business manager within 30 days. (Out-of-state checks may take longer.);
4. If one or more persons have a criminal history, Barada Inc. will send a report to the Human Resources Office within 30 days. A conviction for a crime does not automatically preclude employment or volunteer service, and individual circumstances will be considered, such as the nature and severity of the crime, the number of convictions, how long it has been since the convictions occurred, and the duties of the position.
If a record of criminal convictions is found, the employee or volunteer will be given a copy of the criminal history report and asked if it is accurate prior to any final decision. If the employee or volunteer disagrees with the accuracy of the report, the employee or regular volunteer may (at the discretion of the pastor, principal or business manager) be placed on administrative leave until the information on the criminal history report can be verified. The employee or volunteer may choose to provide other information about his/her criminal history that may be helpful in understanding the circumstances of what occurred. The final decision about new or continued employment or volunteer service will be made by the pastor, principal or business manager in consultation with the Director of Human Resources and, when necessary, the Vicar General and legal counsel. In the event of a disagreement regarding new or continued employment or volunteer service, the final decision rests with the Vicar General. A similar process occurs when issues of concern are raised by credit reports or driving record checks.
The privacy of the information obtained by the diocese through the background check will be respected and held strictly confidential. Information will be shared only on a need to know basis.
A fee will be charged to the parish, school or agency for a criminal history check. There is may be additional charges for any follow-up that is needed to obtain more information about convictions. Driving record checks and credit checks cost additionally. Parishes, schools and agencies may choose to allocate some or all of this cost to employees and volunteers or to program participants through fees.
Questions or comments about this policy can be directed to the Office of Human Resources at (765) 269-4604 or (800) 942-2397 Ext. 604; or to the Office of the
Vicar General at (765) 269-4605 or (800) 942-2397 Ext 601.