Persons aged 17 or younger who are enrolled in parish religious education program or family formation group are required to complete a Bishop-approved, age-appropriate safe environment lesson, unless the child is opted-out by their parent/guardian. Note: Persons who are 18 or 19 years of age and enrolled as a student in a religious education program may complete the minors program IF they are not an employee, or a volunteer with minors or vulnerable adults. If they are an employee, or a volunteer with minors or vulnerable adults, they will complete the adult program.
Minors who are employees or volunteers are required to complete the Youth Assistant Training. The local coordinator or hiring authority presents the training to the minor. If the minor turns 18 before December 1, they will complete the adult safe environment program in CMG Connect and not be included in the minor audit. Minors who are an employee or volunteer cannot be opted out of the safe environment program by their parents. Minor employees and volunteers cannot be in positions of authority, such as a supervisor or lead teacher; cannot be left alone to supervisor other minors (an adult must always be present), and cannot drive on behalf of a parish, school, or other diocesan agency (drivers must be 21 years or older).
There are three approved curriculums for minors: Circle of Grace, Made in His Image, and Called to Protect. Supplements or substitutions are not allowed unless approved by the Bishop.
Circle of Grace
Circle of Grace was developed by the Archdiocese of Omaha, Circle of Grace aims to empower children and young people in grades PK-12 by arming them with the essential knowledge and skills grounded in the richness of the Catholic faith. The program helps children and young people to identify uncomfortable situations; how to seek help from a trusted adult; and to understand dignity in mind, body, and spirit.This curriculum is discussion based with worksheets
Made in His Image
Made in His Image was written and illustrated by Joseph and Christine Schmidt, and is being used with permission from the Diocese of Steubenville. Made in His Image focuses on the fundamental belief that each person is made in the image of God and therefore deserves to be respected. This curriculum is rooted in a Catholic understanding of the human person, which includes human sexuality. This curriculum seeks to promote the sacred relationship between parents and their children, encouraging both parents and children to develop, maintain, and deepen their communication. The Youth Catechism of the Catholic Church (YOUCAT) is referenced within some lessons. This curriculum is discussion based with worksheets.
Called to Protect
Called to Protect was developed by Praesdium, Inc. Lessons focus on teaching children about protecting their bodies and what to do if someone tries to break the rules. Middle and high school students will learn how to protect their physical, emotional, and behavioral boundaries from being violated and how to tell their parents or another trusted adult if someone is abusing them or one of their friends. This curriculum is discussion based with worksheets; grades 6-12 also view a DVD.
Frequently Asked Questions
Employees, volunteers, and clergy/religious at a parish, Catholic school, or agency who suspects abuse or has been approached by a minor who discloses abuse is obligated to report the abuse (more information).
Employees, volunteers, and clergy/religious at parish, Catholic school, or agency who have experienced sexual harassment from another employee or volunteer should report the harassment to the appropriate staff person (more information).
Can I be present when the lesson is presented to my child? Yes.
Why are the lesson plans not posted online? A couple of the curriculums are copyright protected and cannot be publicly posted online.
Can I receive a copy of the lesson being presented to my child? Yes, you may receive a paper copy from your local coordinator.
Can I opt-out my child from the lesson? Yes; the opt-out form is located on the notification letter you receive from the parish or school.