Protecting youth certificate now can be renewed online

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Written by ANGELA KESSLER, Chronicle Editor   
Thursday, 06 March 2008 19:00
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A new program to be rolled out this month allows staff and volunteers throughout the diocese to renew their Protecting Youth and Those Who Serve Them certification from the comfort of their own home or office.

Working with Shield the Vulnerable, the Diocese of Toledo now allows those working with youth to renew their certification online.

Until now, all certification renewals were only offered in face-to-face meetings.

Frank DiLallo, diocesan case manager, has been working with Shield the Vulnerable since the summer of 2007 to develop the online course to mirror the content of the in-person programs presented throughout the diocese.

 Shield the Vunerable screenshot
“It is important to note the online certification program is not for CYO coaches,” Mr. DiLallo adds. The CYO program still requires all coaches to complete annual in-person certification for their particular sport.

Approximately 2,000 to 2,500 people attend Protecting Youth workshops annually.

The online recertification course, located at www.shieldthevulnerable.org, is available in both English and Spanish and takes about one-and-a-half hours to complete.

“This online course is convenient for people,” Mr. DiLallo says. “You can do it in parts. If you have a baby crying or something else you have to attend to, you can stop and go back the next day.”

The easy to navigate program guides the user through a series of statements, questions, scenarios and quizzes. All work is automatically saved as users complete each section. Once finished with the course, each user can download and print a certificate of completion.

Thirteen other dioceses are working with Shield the Vulnerable for online courses, including several from California and others in Michigan, Vermont and Hawaii. Toledo is the only diocese participating from Ohio.

The licensing fee for the online program cost $1,500 and an advance of $10,000 was paid to the vendor in anticipation of 2,000 people using the program in the first year, Mr. DiLallo says. The vendor charges the diocese $5 per person certifying online, which will be billed back to individual parishes and schools for their volunteers and employees. Mr. DiLallo suggests parishes and schools pass that cost on to the individual.

The live workshops continue to be offered throughout the diocese to those who prefer not to recertify online or don’t want to pay the online fee. They can still renew certification during any of the workshops offered throughout the year.

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According to Mr. DiLallo, the Protecting Youth workshops have been offered in the Diocese of Toledo since 1995.

In the Diocese of Toledo, people who regularly work with children are to be educated about child sexual abuse, its effects and their legal duty to report it to civil authorities. Depending on their level of contact and involvement with children, volunteers and employees are divided into low, medium and high responsibility categories.

Those with low responsibility are required to sign a form promising to abide by certain behavioral expectations when working with children. People determined to be low responsibility are typically field trip drivers and chaperones who are highly supervised by others who have met additional background screening requirements.

Those determined to have medium or high responsibility are required to sign the same expectations form and complete a Protecting Youth and Those Who Serve Them workshop presented by the diocese.

In addition, those with high responsibility are to be fingerprinted by the Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation.

Examples of people with medium responsibility would include playground or lunch supervisors, or hall monitors with periodic interaction with children for a short amount of time and are supervised by a high responsibility person. People with high responsibility would include priests, deacons, teachers, coaches, scout leaders and the like.

The expectations form is to be reviewed and signed every five years in conjunction with certification renewal in the Protecting Youth Workshop.
Last Updated on Monday, 28 July 2008 08:46