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Level 2 Background Screening

Fingerprinting Requirement for Level 2 Background Check

  • Employees and Covered Volunteers   All employees regardless of age must be Level 2 (FDLE/FBI) background screened using electronic fingerprinting through diocesan resources.  Go to dospsep.org to register. 
  • All covered volunteers (Those persons who may have the care responsibility, and or supervision of children, youth or vulnerable adults) must be screened using the same process. Go todospsep.orgThe diocese will bill the respective employee's or volunteer's parish or school for the cost.
  • Contractors and Vendors  All contractors and vendors who may have care responsibility, and or supervision of children must now be screened. For registration and procedures please visit : dospsep.org


Background Screening Procedures

The Diocese places two rings of protection around its children, youth, and vulnerable adults - a criminal history background check and safe environment program training(It is important to note that covered volunteers must complete a Covered Volunteer Application BEFORE they go online to register to be fingerprinted.  This application form can be obtained from the parish or school office or on this webpage (see right-hand column).  Once completed and accepted by the parish or school, the Volunteer Application Form becomes the authorization document to be fingerprinted and acceptance of the initial cost of the fingerprinting session by the covered volunteer's parish or school.

The first line of defense, then, is a Level 2 Criminal History Background Check  of anyone who wishes unsupervised access to children, youth or vulnerable adults.  A Level 2 Background Check is a check of an individual's background predicated upon an electronically taken and transmitted set of digital fingerprints matched against prints contained in the FBI's National Criminal Information Center (NCIC) database and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement's (FDLE) Volunteer and Employee Criminal History System (VECHS) database. 

A Level 2 criminal history background check gives the diocese access to all arrest records to include: expunged records, sealed records, missing persons records, sexual predator listings, outstanding warrants in all 3,200 counties of the United States and the five U.S. Territories, as well as access to the Interpol criminal records database internationally.  Click here to register to be fingerprinted online once permission from the parish or school has been obtained.

The second line of defense is
Safe Environment Program (SEP) Training.  Both SEP Training and the Level 2 Criminal History Background Check are required before an individual can have the care, responsibility, and or supervision of children and youth or access to vulnerable adults.  The order in which these two requirements is not important, i.e. the training can come first or the fingerprinting session can come first. 

It is important to note that the following classes of adults must have their backgrounds checked for criminal history:

1.  All Employees regardless of age
2.  Adult Covered Volunteers who wish or may have unsupervised access to children, youth, or vulnerable adults (A Covered Volunteer is one who may have unsupervised access to children, youth, and or vulnerable adults).
3.  Vendors and Contractors who wish or may have unsupervised access to children, youth, or vulnerable adults.  (A vulnerable adult is a person 18 years or older whose ability to perform the normal activities of daily living or to provide for his or her own care or protection is impaired due to a mental, emotional, physical, developmental disability dysfunction, brain damage, or the infirmities of aging.  This requirement then applies to those who provide pastoral care in the homes of vulnerable adults and to those Eucharistic Ministers who take Communion to the Sick and Shut-in (Eucharistic Ministers to the Homebound).

Not all volunteers need to be screened for criminal history.  Non-covered volunteers include those individuals with such job titles as Eucharistic Ministers at Mass (not Eucharistic Ministers to the Sick and Shut-In), Lectors, Cantors, money counters, parish council members, etc. who do not have unsupervised access to children, youth, or vulnerable adults do not have to be screened.  However, the pastor does have the authority to screen anyone who he thinks could possibly have unsupervised access to children, youth and or vulnerable adults.

Non-employees under the age of 18 and post high school do not need to be screened for criminal history or Safe Environment Program trained.  Why?  It is because these non-employees under the age of 18 and post high school are not allowed to have unsupervised access to children, youth, or vulnerable adults.  This includes youth ministers, coaches, mentors, scout leaders, babysitters, etc.  These individuals who may assist with children, youth or vulnerable adults must be supervised by a volunteer or employee who has completed a Safe Environment Program Workshop and has successfully completed a Level 2 Background Check.

In an effort to protect our children, youth, and vulnerable adults from abuse and neglect, the Bishop has instituted the Diocese of St. Petersburg Policy for the Protection of Children and Vulnerable Adults as revised.  This policy applies to Church Personnel who may have the care, responsibility, and or supervision of children or unsupervised access to vulnerable adults.  Church Personnel is defined as clergy (priest, deacon, or religious), employee (any lay person who is employed by or engaged in ministry who is given payment for services in any form), covered volunteer (any unpaid person who is engaged or involved in any diocesan institution or parish activity ) or contractor/vendor (This class of person shall be understood for purposes of the policy and in accordance with the VECHS User Agreement to include contractors and vendors who have or may have unsupervised access to children, disabled, or elderly persons for whom the diocese provides care, responsibility, and or supervision).

These Church Personnel must successfully complete a Level 2 Criminal History Background Check.  The Diocese of St. Petersburg Policy for the Protection of Children and Vulnerable Adults (as amended) instituted the Minimum Standards of Moral Conduct as promulgated by the Florida Conference of Catholic Bishops.  Church Personnel who wish to serve in any position of service must meet these Minimum Standards of Moral Conduct, which are now a prerequisite to service in the Church.  Any individual found guilty of one of the 47 crimes contained in the Diocese's Minimum Standard of Moral Conduct cannot be employed by the Diocese or allowed to volunteer in any capacity.  However, the Diocese has instituted an appeal process, which is available through the Office of the Tribunal.

The Diocese of St. Petersburg Safe Environment Program Office is responsible for performing all Level 2 Criminal History Background Checks.  Level 2 Criminal History Background Checks are based an electronic fingerprint search that is processed through the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE)/FBI Volunteer, Employee Criminal History System (VECHS)  fingerprint database.

The Diocese of St. Petersburg does not accept background screening reports from any federal agency, state agency, or private information vendor regardless of the screening organization and regardless of the position that an individual currently holds or may have held in the past - NO EXCEPTIONS.  Fingerprints contained in the FBI database can be used only for the purpose intended and are federal-statute specific.  This means that the sharing of criminal history reports between entities is not allowed.

In order to begin the background screening process, Church Personnel who wish access to children youth, and or vulnerable adults must first obtain and complete a Covered Volunteer Application Form. This form can be obtained form the parish, school, or early childhood center where they wish to work or volunteer.  Secondly, individuals must register online at the following secure website:
dospsep.org, select a time, date, and location to be printed and then keep the appointment. 

Results of criminal history background checks are provided to the pastor of each diocesan entity.  (Note: Every organization within the diocese has a juridic person in charge who is normally the pastor-even for schools and early childhood centers)

A Level 2 Criminal History Background Check costs $51 per session.  This fee covers the costs charged by the Volunteer, Employee Criminal History System (VECHS), the state-wide check by Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE), the national check by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and the processing fees charged by the vendor to cover the cost of equipment, processing, and administrative costs.  Who pays for the cost of keeping the children and vulnerable adults of the diocese safe? Initially the volunteer will pay when registering and the parish will re-imburse you. Please turn in receipt to your ministry coordinator.

Employee costs are covered by the respective employer.  New hire job applicants may or may not pay for these costs depending on the policy of the hiring entity.  For volunteers in the parishes, it depends on the policies of the individual parish.  Some parishes cover the cost of screening their covered volunteers while others charge the volunteer.  A covered volunteer is an individual who may have the care, responsibility, and or supervision of a child, youth, or vulnerable adult regardless of the frequency of the unsupervised contact with children, youth, or vulnerable adults.

For volunteers in the Catholic School system, some schools include the background screening cost in the tuition charged while others charge the volunteers as an additional cost of education like book fees, uniform fees, etc.  Again, it depends on the policy of the individual school concerned.  For vendors and contractors, the cost of fingerprinting is paid for by the employer of the vendor or contractor at the point of service.

Please direct all questions regarding fingerprinting to the Safe Environment Program Manager of the Diocese of St. Petersburg Safe Environment Office at 727.344.1611

The Diocese of St. Petersburg has implemented a state of the art electronic fingerprint/background system which will better serve the needs of our diocesan community by allowing the school/parish to directly receive screening results via a secure site. 
To facilitate this process, On-Line Registration and a scheduled appointment will be required. (we are unable to accommodate walk-ins without appointments). 
Following is an outline of the new process:
  1. Registration must be made on-line at: www.dospsep.org
  2. Step by step instructions are provided - stpetersburg.cmgconnect.org It is important to select the correct parish/school where you volunteer or are employed. 
  3. You will be prompted to schedule an appointment at one of the fingerprinting centers – you will receive an e-mail confirmation. 
  4. Upon completion of all required fields, you will be provided with a “code” - you must have this code number with you at the time of your appointment along with the Government issued Identification card you entered under “Type of Identification”.
  5. Please make every effort to attend your appointment - contact your appointment center if you need to reschedule.
  6. Results will be forwarded to the designated secure site you indicated on your registration and to the Fingerprinting Department at the Diocese of St. Petersburg.

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