Our Safe Environment Program

All members of the Church are called upon to ensure the safety of children and vulnerable adults in our parishes, schools, families, and local communities.  In an effort to respond to this responsibility, the Diocese of Sioux Falls requires all adults and minors who are active in a diocesan organization to complete a safe environment program that teaches how to recognize and report abuse, and how to maintain proper boundaries. The safe environment program follows the guidelines and policies outlined in the USCCB Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, and the Diocese of Sioux Falls Sexual Misconduct Policy.

Please pray a Rosary for Healing those affected by abuse and to protect those who have not.

Who is required to complete the program?
 ADULTS: All active parish, Catholic school, and/or other diocesan organization adults (aged 18 or older) who are currently or will be active as:

  1. Clergy/Religious Personnel: includes all pastors, priests, candidates for ordination, deacons, deacon candidates, religious sisters, and visiting clergy
  2. Employees: includes all paid personnel (full-time, part-time, seasonal, and temporary)
  3. Educators: includes certified teachers, substitute teachers, and student teachers
  4. Volunteers w/minors: includes all volunteers whose duties include contact with minors (such as parish religious education teachers/substitutes, chaperones and etc)
  5. Homebound Ministers: includes all individuals who visit the homebound to administer Holy Communion

MINORS: All minors enrolled in a religious education program, Catholic school, or family formation program, are presented a Bishop-approved, age-appropriate safe environment PK-12 Curriculum. Parental guardians may choose to opt-out their child from the safe environment program lesson, and if requested, be provided with a paper copy of the safe environment lesson being presented to their child.

Minors who are an employee or who volunteer and whose duties include contact with minors must complete the Youth Code of Conduct and an age-appropriate safe environment lesson. Parental guardians of minor employees and volunteers cannot opt-out their child from the safe environment lesson.

What are the program requirements?

Criminal Background Check CurriculumCriminal Background Check is required for all adults upon hiring and/or recruitment and is a condition of new and continued employment and/or volunteering.  The criminal background check must be renewed every six years through the diocesan-approved vendor in CMG Connect. A fingerprint background check is required for all new hires and student teachers in Catholic schools per SDCL 13-10-12. After six years, Catholic school employees can renew their criminal background check through the diocesan-approved vendor in CMG Connect. Criminal background check results completed by other schools or vendors are not accepted.

Annual Curriculum imageThe Annual Awareness Curriculum w/Code of Conduct is required for all adults who have contact with minors, and all adults who are employed by a parish, Catholic school or other diocesan organization. This curriculum must be completed upon hire or recruitment. This curriculum must be renewed every year after July 1.

curriculum imageThe Vulnerable Adult Curriculum w/Code of Conduct is required for all adults who serve as a Homebound Minister. If an adult is also an employee or volunteers with minors, he/she will also complete the Annual Awareness Curriculum. The Vulnerable Adult curriculum is completed every three years.


Summer Events, Camps, Missions: The annual awareness curriculum resets every year on July 1. Adults who are hired or recruited for a summer program, camp, or mission that is only active during July and August, will complete the awareness curriculum that is available at the time they are hired/recruited; it will then expire at the conclusion of the summer program. This means if the person plans to be active as a volunteer or employee of the parish, Catholic school, or other diocesan agency after the summer program ends, he/she will need to complete the annual awareness curriculum that began after July 1 to remain compliant.

When do I complete the program requirements?
Adults must complete the safe environment program requirements upon hire or recruitment, then every year after July 1 or before volunteering with minors and/or vulnerable adults. For best practices, current employees and volunteers should complete before October 1.
Where do I complete the program requirements?
Requirements for the safe environment program are completed through CMG Connect, the diocese’s online learning platform (see tutorial). All curriculums that the adult is required to complete will appear under “Required Training” except for the Criminal Background Check curriculum which appears under “Optional Training”. NOTE: Each adult needs only one CMG Connect account; if an adult is active at multiple locations, he/she will use the same account.

to an existing account   OR   Create a new account

How do I know if I completed the program requirements?
 After you have completed the curriculum in CMG Connect, the button below the curriculum will be green and read “Completed”. In addition, you will have the option to download a Certificate of Completion by clicking on the gray “Download Certificate” button beneath the green “Completed” button. 
Frequently Asked Questions


What is safe environment web address? sfcatholic.org/safe-environment

How do I create a new account? Go tohttps://siouxfalls.cmgconnect.org

How do I sign-in to my old account? Go to https://siouxfalls.cmgconnect.org/users/sign_in

Do I create a new CMG account every year? No, each adult should have only one CMG account.

This program isn’t working on my computer! This program works best in Google Chrome; however, some issues may be the result of your internet speed. Please contact your local coordinator to schedule a one-on-one training or go to https://siouxfalls.cmgconnect.org/support for more information.

I do not have a computer or internet! Please contact your local coordinator to schedule a one-on-one training


Who pays for the criminal background check? Employee background checks are paid by the employing parish, school, or agency. Volunteer background checks are usually paid by the parish, school, or agency; however, some locations may charge. A donation towards the cost of the background check is always appreciated.

I just turned 18, do I need a background check? If you will be an employee or volunteer at a parish, school, or agency, then yes.

Can I volunteer without completing a criminal background check? No, exceptions to this requirement will not be granted.

I just had a background check for my employer or other organization, can you use that one? No, we can only accept background checks submitted online through your CMG Connect account. Catholic school teachers should contact their local coordinator for special instructions.

Does the diocese review my credit report? No, only the criminal history is reviewed.

What is reported on my background check? Criminal charges and convictions. Our vendor, Selection.com, searches local, state and federal law enforcement agency’s criminal databases.

Can I request a copy of my criminal background check? If the background check was authorized through our vendor, Selection.com, then yes, you may request a free copy by calling (800) 325-3609.

I know there will be an offense on my results, what should I do? Past criminal convictions do not necessarily prevent an individual from employment or volunteer ministry in the Church.  The Diocese takes into consideration the nature of the offense, how much time has passed since the conviction, and other factors when determining one’s suitability for ministry. If you are aware of an offense that may/will appear on your results, you are invited to self-disclose the details of the offense to the parish’s pastor or the local hiring/HR representative.

Why does the background check require the use of my Social Security Number (SSN)? A background check is required before any adult can volunteer or work on behalf of the parish, school or diocese. The CMG platform is secure and encrypted.  The vendor, Selection.com, is a professional company bound by federal laws regulating investigations into criminal histories.  Your SSN is safe when entered into this platform.  Your SSN will not be used for other purposes.  Using an individual’s SSN to review a criminal history increases the search’s accuracy and reduces costs to the Church.