Risk Management

The key to a successful Youth Ministry program is finding an effective – yet safe – way to connect with kids today. Youth Ministers are charged with the profound responsibility of engaging young people within the Catholic Church, while keeping those who participate safe from harm. Not only are Youth Ministers responsible for safety, but the young person
themselves and their parents must also play a role. The following guidelines have been developed to assist you in your role as a Youth Minister. Please feel free to contact the Risk Management Department or your Claims/Risk Manager if you have any further questions.

Protecting God's Children

Maximizing a church's role as a child-safe environment begins with making adults more aware of the ways children and adults interact with each other. The Protecting God's Children program educates and trains adults (clergy, religious, teachers, staff, volunteers, and parents) about the dangers of abuse, the warning signs of abuse, the ways to prevent abuse, the methods of properly reporting suspicions of abuse, and responding to allegations of abuse.

All VIRTUS training programs, including the PROTECTING GOD'S CHILDREN programs, are comprehensive and multi-dimensional—incorporating proven best practice standards for the prevention of child sexual abuse by clergy, staff, volunteers, and others who interact with children within the church environment. Our training programs incorporate instructor-led training, train-the-facilitator education, awareness videos, and ongoing web-based training through online training bulletins and training modules via our VIRTUS Online system.

NFCYM Technology Guidelines

Keeping this in mind, communication from Youth Ministers through texting, blogs, email, social networking sites, etc. must be appropriate and consistently represent the views/teaching of the Catholic Church. This communication should be constantly monitored.

All communication from a Youth Minister should be open and transparent. Nothing should be communicated that should not be seen by others. Remember, there is no such thing as a private email or instant message.

It is best not to communicate directly with one individual through electronic communication, but sent to all youth within the program. Texting, emailing or chatting with youth through social networking sites should never be done privately with an individual youth. Parents should be copied in on all correspondence that a Youth Minister sends to their child.

Social networking sites established for Youth Ministry must be constantly monitored to ensure any inappropriate material is immediately removed. At least two adults should have administration access to the account site.

For more detailed information in this area, please refer to the Network Security Policy and Usage. (Exhibit L) The National Federation for Catholic Youth Ministry also has valuable information on their website titled Recommended Technology Guidelines for Pastoral Work with Young People.
NFCYM Technology Guidelines
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