Safeguarding in the Diocese of Texas requires a partnership between the Head of Organization (whether a congregation, schools, or other organization in the diocese) and the EDOT Wellness and Care Team in the Safeguarding Office. The Safeguarding Office provides a process and ongoing support for screening and training staff, volunteers, and vendors, but the Head is responsible for carrying out Safeguarding requirements in each organization, aided by persons appointed by the Head to assist with the tasks involved. Below is information to help Heads of Organizations understand the process and carry out these responsibilities.
Overview of Safeguarding Certification Process
There are three sets of diocesan Safeguarding policies: Safeguarding God’s Children: Policies for the Protection of Children and Youth (SGC), Safeguarding God’s People: Policies for Safe Ministry with Adults (SGP), and Safeguarding God’s People in the Workplace: Policies Prohibiting Sexual Harassment (SGP-H). See Policies and Help Sheets. The policies change periodically in response to changing circumstances and to the actions of the General Convention of the Episcopal Church. The purpose of the policies is to create safe environments that protect the vulnerable and allow all members to experience a community of love and respect.
In the past, individuals had to go through distinct processes to be “certified” in SGC and/or SGP, based on the role that they played in the organization. For example, someone who had been certified in SGC would need to go through a separate screening and training process in order to be certified in SGP. Beginning in the fall of 2023, individuals are screened only once every five years, even if they play multiple roles in an organization. All employees and most volunteers will be required to take an online Universal Training that includes a recorded policy review of both SGC and SGP policies. Some, but not all, of those individuals will require a single Live Engagement training, either in person or on a virtual platform.
In addition, all employees and some volunteers will be required to take one or more Specialized Trainings (online videos) that particularly apply to their role or roles in the organization. For example, all employees are required to take a training on preventing sexual harassment in the workplace, and volunteer youth ministers must take a course on abuse and neglect. For a more detailed introduction to Safeguarding requirements, see the Overview of Safeguarding Screening and Training.
Responsibilities of Head of Organization
- Be familiar with the three sets of Safeguarding Policies
- Set an example by being current in certifications and following the Safeguarding rules of conduct
- Create a Safeguarding Team to implement policies and see that appropriate personnel are screened and trained under the Safeguarding policies
- Communicate Safeguarding requirements before inviting individuals into staff or volunteer positions
- Review and consult with Safeguarding Office on problematic Background Checks
- Ensure members of governing boards receive a SGP policy review
- File Safeguarding Annual Status Report (see below for links)
- Promptly address all Safeguarding violations and report them to the Safeguarding Minister
- Create culture of safety and mutual respect by enforcing Safeguarding rules throughout the organization
- Display the Report Misconduct Poster and otherwise communicate a commitment to providing ministry spaces that are free from all types of abuse, neglect, and harassment
- Contact the Safeguarding Minister when engaging with people with poor boundaries or disruptive personalities or with Registered Sex Offenders in the community Participation of Registered Sex Offenders
The EDOT Wellness and Care Team, headed by the Safeguarding Minister, the Rev. Canon Lisa S. Burns, is always ready to provide support, training, and guidance. Additional resources can be found under Trainer Resources, SRA and Coordinator Resources, and Other Information and Resources.
Will not be collected for 2023. More information coming soon.
Policies, Help Sheets
Safeguarding Policies and Help Sheets
Overview of Safeguarding Certification Process - Help Sheet
Who Needs Certification or Other Training
Guidelines for Participation of Registered Sex Offenders
Background Checks (provides information about when criminal background checks are required, how they are conducted, and how to interpret the results)