PROTECTING GOD’S CHILDREN (VIRTUS)
St Robert of Newminster Parish complies with the requirements of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and the guidelines of the Diocese of Grand Rapids. Under the requirements of the program, all employees and volunteers of the parish engaged in regular contact with children or young people must undergo a criminal history background check and attend a Protecting God’s Children abuse awareness session.
FORMS TO BE COMPLETED by persons who have regular contact with children and young people:
- Background Check Authorization Form
- Standards of Ministerial Behavior in Dealing with Children & Young People
PROTECTING GOD’S CHILDREN ABUSE AWARENESS SESSIONS
To register for a Protecting God’s Children Abuse Awareness session or see a list of upcoming sessions, visit www.virtus.org, click “Registration.” Click the drop down arrow by “Select Your Organization” and select Grand Rapids, MI (Diocese).
Any person having reasonable cause to suspect sexual abuse of a minor by a member of the clergy (bishop, priest or deacon) or by any person acting under the authority or apparent authority of the church, is urged to contact the Diocese of Grand Rapids Victim Assistance Coordinator. Individuals who believe they were sexually abused as a minor by a priest or deacon are urged to follow the same reporting procedure.
Diocese of Grand Rapids Victim Assistance Coordinator – 616-243-0491
360 Division Avenue S, Grand Rapids MI 49503
Michigan Department of Health & Human Services / Child Protective Services – 855-444-3911
POLICIES & PROCEDURES
CLOSINGS & CANCELLATIONS Faith formation sessions are automatically cancelled when Forest Hills Public Schools cancel classes due to weather conditions. If bad weather starts just prior to session times, a cancellation will be communicated to catechists and families via email, will be posted on the parish website, and will be reported to local media.
FOOD & SNACKS No food or snacks will be allowed in the rooms. Parents are responsible for ensuring their children eat before entering the learning space. (There may be exceptions for lesson-related activities, as approved in advance by the Pastoral Associates.)
PARENT PARTICIPATION There are a number of ways parents may get involved in faith formation and parish activities. Information will be available at the annual parish stewardship weekend in September and as events are planned. Parents are always welcome and encouraged to visit their children’s faith formation sessions.
DROP OFF & PICK UP In order to maintain safety and security, the standard procedure for dropping off and picking up children in the Sunday Preschool-Kindergarten and Elementary programs is for parents or other authorized adults to escort their children to and pick up their children from their learning spaces/rooms. Middle school faith formation students may sign themselves in and out, but parents are encouraged to escort them in and out of the building.
PHOTOS/VIDEOS Participants of St Roberts faith formation activities may have their pictures taken for use in promotion of parish programs. Parents/guardians designate their option for photo release on the Photo Release section on the registration form.
PLACEMENT Because approximately 1200 children participate in faith formation sessions, we cannot take special requests for placement with friends or certain catechists. All placement is done in a practical manner.
In the event of a TORNADO, learners will be escorted to the inner hallway and rooms and be seated facing the wall with a book over their necks and heads. Tornado drills will be held during session times at the beginning of the year.
In the event of a FIRE, learners will be escorted out the nearest exit to the back of the parking lot where attendance will be taken. Parents will meet us at the back of the parking lot and must sign out their children with the catechist before taking their children away. Fire drills will be held during session times at the beginning of the year.
If a student is injured, appropriate FIRST AID will be performed. In the case of a minor injury, faith formation staff will perform basic first aid, and parents will be notified as soon as possible. In the case of an injury requiring professional medical attention, faith formation staff will contact 911 for emergency treatment and will contact the learners’ parents or the designated emergency contact. Medical Treatment Release is obtained through the registration process.
SPORTS & APPOINTMENTS We discourage early dismissal of learners for other activities. If this situation arises occasionally, parents are required to notify the Faith Formation Office.
STUDENT CONDUCT St Robert Faith Formation learners are expected to be respectful of catechists, fellow learners, and church property. Restitution for any damage incurred by a student is the responsibility of the student and/or his/her parents/guardians. If a student is disrespectful to the catechist or fellow learners or damages church property, the following steps will be taken:
- The catechist will give the student a warning.
- If a second correction is needed during the same class session, the student is sent to the office to complete an assigned activity.
- The student will complete a Responsible Action Form and give this to the staff person in charge. A copy of the form may be sent home to parents/guardians. The original will be kept in Faith Formation office files.
- If a student is sent to the office for a second time during a six-week period, parents/guardians will be asked to come in for a consultation with the staff.
TEXTBOOKS Textbooks will remain in the rooms. If a parent prefers to have an additional at-home text, contact the Faith Formation Office.