Diocese Launches Web-Based Training CourseSeptember 07, 2007
The Diocese of Gaylord is pleased to announce it has completed creation of an online safe environment training program for adults to compliment its existing programs. The project actually took approximately three months to complete following several months of discussion and review of potential providers.
“Our primary goal continues to be to make training accessible and convenient to anyone,” stated Candace Neff, coordinator of activities related to the Charter for the Protection of Children. “We have partnered with Shield the Vulnerable to create a program which is available anytime via the Internet and meets our requirements for training those who wish to work with minors in our diocese.”
Shield the Vulnerable is a collaborative effort between the Diocese of Gaylord and LawRoom, a web-based company started by Walnut Creek lawyer Ralph Yanello over ten years ago to provide computer trainings for employees around human resources topics.
The program becomes one of several options available in the diocese for training adults with respect to child abuse and neglect issues. All Catholic parishes and schools previously received materials to conduct personal training to groups locally which include a DVD along with a variety of hand-outs. Further, personnel from local Department of Human Services offices have offered presentations at parishes and schools, as have other professionals. These programs will continue to be utilized in addition to the online course.
“We have been so blessed to have many experts in the field eagerly respond to our requests for assistance in training and we are always looking for people who are willing to volunteer to conduct trainings in their area,” Neff stated. “We encourage person-to-person training whenever possible, but the online course allows those whose schedules limit their availability another alternative to complete the requirements. It also makes the information available for those who simply want to become better informed about the issue for their own knowledge,” she added.
The “Shield the Vulnerable” program is law-based, state specific, and includes courses for both mandated and non-mandated (ethical) reporters. The self-paced course is user-friendly and is compatible for those using a PC or MacIntosh system. It takes about 90 minutes to complete but participants do not have to complete the course in one sitting. Individuals may exit and resume the course as necessary.
The course includes a variety of case scenarios as well as occasional quizzes on the material presented relating to child abuse and neglect. Policies of the Diocese of Gaylord for those working with minors are also covered. In addition, if there are any questions along the way, a simple click of the mouse allows users to ask their question and receive a timely answer, usually within 24 hours.
At the end of the course, users can print out a certificate indicating they have successfully completed the course and present it to the parish, school or diocese in order to work with programs involving minors.
“We are now working on Spanish language version of the course,” Neff noted.
Currently for each person who takes the course, the diocese pays $5.00. The cost is cared for through gifts to the annual Catholic Services Appeal (CSA). In the near future, this fee will allow participants access to a course on sexual harassment at no additional charge.
Shield the Vulnerable is also working on online training courses for students. One for high school students is expected to be available before the end of this year.
Currently twelve other Catholic dioceses in the country as well as one Episcopal diocese have similar courses through Shield the Vulnerable including Ohio, Hawaii, Vermont, and several in California.
“We invite all adults connected to the diocese who are interested in learning more about child abuse and neglect issues to take the course,” Neff said. “It is one more tool we now have to help raise awareness on these issues as we work to protect children.”
To take the course, log on to Shield the Vulnerable and sign up. Be sure to choose the course listed for the Diocese of Gaylord.
Questions or comments may be directed to Candace Neff at the diocese or by phone at 989.732.5147.