Jesus with children

Our Safe Environment Programs

Standards of Conduct for Those Working with Children and Young People:
English | Spanish | Youth Working with Youth

Adult Programs

All adults working with children must be trained using the Adult Program described below. In addition, if they are to have "on-going, unsupervised contact with minors", they must also have their background evaluated using one of the two methods described at the bottom of this page.

"Protect Children"

This training was mandated in October of 2006 by Archbishop George Niederauer for all employees and volunteers working with children and youth in the Archdiocese. The curriculum raises awareness regarding recognizing, reporting and preventing child abuse. The Policies and Procedures and the Standards of Conduct regarding sexual misconduct in the Archdiocese of San Francisco are also part of the training. The course is user friendly and available in English and Spanish.

Child and Youth Programs

"Talking about Touching" – Committee on Children – Pre-K through 3rd grade

This is a personal safety curriculum for pre-kindergarten through third grade children. Teachers and parents learn to provide rules and skill-practice in common safety rules. They also teach the children how to ask for help when feeling unsafe or uncomfortable.

"Kid Safety" / "Teen Safety" – Shield the Vulnerable – 4th grade through 8th grade

These are individual, interactive online courses for grades 4-8, with a separate course for each grade level. Kids learn how to identify different types of harm and how to get help, grow in understanding of personal boundaries, and practice safe Internet use. This course is found online at

Parents are encouraged to take any/all of these online training courses with their child, and are not charged for doing so.

Safe Environment Programs are addressed in the USCCB document, Promise to Protect; Pledge to Heal – USCCB – 2002 (Updated 2005 and 2010), Article 12: "Dioceses are to maintain ‘safe environment’ programs which the archdiocesan bishop deems to be in accord with Catholic moral principles. They are to be conducted cooperatively with parents, civil authorities, educators, and community organizations to provide education and training for children, youth, parents, ministers, educators, volunteers and others about ways to make and maintain a safe environment for children and young people. Dioceses are to make clear to clergy and all members of the community the standards of conduct for clergy and other persons in positions of trust with regard to children."

Background Evaluations

The Archdiocese of San Francisco employs two types of background evaluation. The first is Live Scan Fingerprinting. This involves taking electronic images of an individual’s fingerprints and submitting them to both the California Department of Justice and to the Federal Bureau of Investigation to obtain records of criminal activity (financial data is not requested nor provided to us).

The second form of evaluation is a professional background check done by an outside firm specializing in this type investigation. In both cases, the website is used to obtain the required personal data from the individual. The computer determines which type of background evaluation is required (this can be over-ridden) and they order the background check or print the Live Scan form for the individual to use when getting their fingerprint impressions taken. In addition, the website includes blank forms and a list of all sites in California where Live Scan fingerprint impressions can be taken.

Background evaluations are addressed in the USCCB document Promise to Protect; Pledge to Heal – USCCB – 2002 (Updated 2005 and 2010), Article 13: "Dioceses are to evaluate the background of all priests and deacons who are engaged in ministry in the diocese, and of all diocesan parish/school paid personnel and volunteers whose duties include ongoing, unsupervised contact with minors." 

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