Safe Environment

Safe Environment

Safe Environment Program Coordinator

Mike Hemphill

Email: mhemphill1945@gmail.com
Phone: (469) 388-8449

Home Council

KofC Safe Environment Program

Knights of Columbus > Safe Environment

The Knights of Columbus Safe Environment Program safeguards children and other vulnerable persons, assures members and their families that we maintain a safe environment, protects members from awkward situations, misunderstandings, and appearances of impropriety, builds trust with arch/dioceses and parishes, and protects the good name of the Knights of Columbus.

The Knights of Columbus Office of Youth Protection has stated that the first requirement of our safe environment program is for our members to be aware of and compliant with Diocesan safe environment requirements applicable to members volunteering in activities on parish property.

The Dallas Diocese considers the Knights a Non-Parish Based Organization (NPBO). These NPBO’s are required to maintain their own safe environment records and are subject to audit which requests the last Safe Environment training date (to be complete annually) and the last background check date (completed every 2 years) of all volunteers that are engaged in activities where there is direct contact with youth and or vulnerable persons.

There are two different scenarios which come into play for Knights of Columbus members regarding safe environment training

  1. If a Knight is involved in parish ministry(ies) that require Safe Environment training, then the Council Safe Environment Coordinator should work with the parish Safe Environment Coordinator to see that training is completed. Please see the information further down this page regarding Dallas Diocese Safe Environment Training.
  2. If a Knight is not involved in parish ministries the council is responsible for clearing that volunteer.

The following is required to be safe environment trained.

  1. Review the Knights of Columbus Safe Environment Program for Knights of Columbus Entities and return completed Acknowledgement form to Council Safe Environment coordinator.
  2. Have background check completed and updated every 2 years. The Knights of Columbus Status Consent Form and The Knights of Columbus Volunteer Release Form should be returned to Council’s Safe Environment Coordinator. The Council is responsible for cost of background check ($15.00).
  3. Complete Safe Environment training offered through Supreme, Diocese or other safe environment resources. Check with parish safe environment coordinator.
The links below will provide you with the necessary resources to complete safe environment training as a Knight NPBO.
  • Knights Of Columbus Safe Environment Program For Knights Of Columbus Entities
  • Acknowledgement
  • Knights of Columbus Status Consent Form
  • The Knights of Columbus Volunteer Release Form

Must members comply with applicable Diocesan Safe Environment requirements to volunteer on parish or diocesan property?

YES. Members of the Knights of Columbus must remain informed of, and compliant with, diocesan and parish safe environment requirements generally applicable to all volunteers on diocesan and parish property.

  • All prospective and new members of the Knights of Columbus are strongly encouraged to take an active role in the life of their parish and their council.
  • Prospective and new members should also be promptly advised of any applicable parish/diocese safe environment policy requirements necessary to be eligible to volunteer on parish property, regardless of whether they do so in the name of the Church, the parish, or the Knights of Columbus.

Do knights who volunteer in church and parish ministries (e.g., ushers, extraordinary ministers of the eucharist, lectors, etc.) Do so as knights or as parishioners?

PARISHIONERS. Knights volunteering in church or parish ministries serve in those ministries as parishioners first and witness to their Faith as members of the Knights of Columbus second.

  • Service in church and parish ministries (e.g., ushers, extraordinary ministers of the Eucharist, lectors, etc.) is performed by parishioners.
  • Knights of Columbus encourages its members to volunteer in church and parish ministries.
  • Knights who volunteer in church or parish ministries do so as parishioners.
  • Therefore, Knights serving in church or parish ministries are subject to diocesan requirements specific to those ministries.

If I have already taken another organization’s youth protection training and background check, do I have to complete the requirements of the Knights of Columbus Safe Environment Program?

YES. The Knights of Columbus does not rely on other organizations to fulfil its responsibility for protecting children and other vulnerable persons.

  • The Knights of Columbus is responsible for ensuring that its members know Knights of Columbus Safe Environment/Youth Protection Policies and Procedures.
  • Knights of Columbus conducts and maintains its own original background checks on those members serving in youth leader roles.
  • Knights of Columbus is not allowed to access confidential, privileged, and otherwise legally protected files and records of other organizations.
  • Knights of Columbus protects and preserves each member’s record of completion to protect the member and the Order.

Do members who serve in youth activities sponsored by the Knights of Columbus do so as knights or parishioners or both?

Members volunteering in youth activities sponsored by the Knights of Columbus on parish property serve as both Knights and parishioners.

  • Knights who volunteer in youth activities sponsored by the Knights of Columbus on parish property do so as both Knights and parishioners.
  • Therefore, members volunteering in these youth activities are subject to both diocesan requirements and Knights of Columbus Safe Environment Program requirements.
  • Knights who volunteer in non-youth activities sponsored by the Knights of Columbus on parish property may be subject to diocesan requirements generally applicable to those who volunteer on diocesan and parish property.

Does the council pay for the background check if a Knight is not a volunteer in other parish activities (in which case the Catholic Diocese pays)?

To be updated soon! Thank you for your patience.

Who does a council turn to for running a background check for a new member, the Office of Youth Protection at KofC.org?

To be updated soon! Thank you for your patience.

How much does running a background check cost?

Approximately $15 – $25.

If I’ve taken SEP at Supreme while serving in one of the four SEP required officer roles (GK, Community Director, Family Director, Program Director) do I also have to take Diocesan SEP? and vice versa?

To be updated soon! Thank you for your patience.

Will ALL Knights eventually be required to take both Supreme and Diocesan SEP?

To be updated soon! Thank you for your patience.

Is there a difference in the requirements for SEP for "on premise" events versus "Off Premise" events that may involve children or other endangered groups?

To be updated soon! Thank you for your patience.

Can someone articulate or provide a document for the best method of tracking compliance at the Council level?

Once a year all councils must submit to the DDC SEP Coordinator a record of all Knights who are Diocesan SEP Trained and Diocesan SEP Cleared (background checked). This list can be requested from the Parish’s SEP Coordinator and should include at minimum the following data:

  1. Knight’s Name:
  2. Member Number:
  3. Council Number:
  4. Diocesan SEP Training Completion Date:
  5. Diocesan SEP Cleared (background check) Date:
  6. KofC (Praesidium Academy) SEP Training Completion Date:
  7. KofC (Praesidium Academy) SEP Background Check Completion Date: (may be the same as above)
  8. Member’s Leadership Role for which KofC (Praesidium Academy) SEP Training was required:

The parish SEP Coordinator may send email reminders to all parish volunteers who have an expiring date approaching so they can renew their Diocesan SEP certification.

It is highly recommended that the Council’s SEP Coordinator keep a simple spreadsheet of the above records for each council member (see sample below). It is up to each member Knight to report the dates of SEP completion to the council’s SEP Coordinator by providing a copy of the certificate, either from the Diocese or from Supreme.

FirstName LastName Council# Member# DIOCESAN SEP DATES KOFC SEP DATES
Training Background Check Training Background Check Leader Role
Jorge Ruiz 8157 4570670 2021-09-30 2020-07-17 2021-08-08 2021-08-08 Grand Knight
John Doe 8157 1234567 2022-03-30 2022-04-17 2021-08-08 2021-08-08 Community
Martin De Porres 8157 2234567 2023-07-30 2023-08-10 2021-08-08 2021-08-08 Family
Aurelius Augustinus 8157 3234567 2021-09-30 2020-07-17 2022-08-08 2022-08-08 Program

Are members who pay their dues, but choose not to volunteer on parish property, members in good standing with the Knights of Columbus?

YES. Dues paying members choosing not to volunteer on parish property remain members in good standing.

  • A member who declines to submit to diocesan/parish safe environment requirements remains a member in good standing, although he may be prohibited from volunteering on parish property.
  • Such members remain eligible to volunteer in programs, activities, and events sponsored by the Knights of Columbus that do not take place on parish property.

How to handle "older" non compliant Knights who are not computer literate but want to help?

To be updated soon! Thank you for your patience.

What about the requirements related to Squires Circles (recent note on Counselors)?

  • Each Circle must have at least one SEP compliant counselor for every 10 squires, but a minimum of two compliant counselors are required in every Circle.
  • All counselors must be fully compliant with the training and background check requirements of the Knights of Columbus Safe Environment Program at all times.
  • A non-compliant counselor is one who has failed to complete the Praesidium training and/or failed to provide his consent to a background check within 45 days of initial notice of such requirements.