Recognizing that children are a precious gift, Knights of Columbus has always made their safety and well-being the highest priority in the Order’s programs and activities. In partnership with Praesidium, an organization that has worked to provide knowledge and tools that safeguard against sexual predators for more than 20 years, the Order continues its strong tradition of maintaining the highest standards regarding the protection of young people. Through this partnership, the Order provides youth leaders with access to the most up-to-date resources to keep children safe, including Praesidium’s Armatus® online training, background screenings, and an exclusive hotline to report child safety concerns.
Safe Environment Program: Under Faith in Action, certain state and council officers/chairmen are required to take safe environment training and may also be required to provide authorization for a background check. Some positions also have access to Praesidium’s ARMATUS Administration dashboard to view member compliance within their council or jurisdiction.
If members in certain positions are not compliant within thirty (30) days of notification, they are subject to removal from those positions. As the Service Program Personnel Report (#365) is being completed, ensure that all member email addresses are accurate. Praesidium, the Knights of Columbus’ safe environment partner, will use these email addresses to send email notifications to the program directors and chairs required to complete safe environment training and to provide authorization for a background check. Directors and chairs should look for email notifications from Praesidium in their inbox or spam folder for their assigned username and password to complete the required training and the link necessary to provide their background check authorization. Knights of Columbus covers all costs associated with these requirements. Email notifications are unique to each recipient and cannot be forwarded or used by another director or chair and are also time sensitive. The recipient must complete the training and background check authorization within thirty (30) days of notification.
NOTE: The council Family Director and Community Director must authorize background check.
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Requirements to Become a Youth Leader:
Members who are elected/appointed to a Knights of Columbus Youth Leader position will be notified of their appointment and online training requirements via email by the Knights of Columbus Supreme Office. To become a youth leader the following procedure must be completed: At this time there is no charge for the training and background check and NO fingerprint requirement.
- Complete a Youth Leader Application (#4348) found online at:
- For state level youth leader positions, complete the State Council Youth Leader
Application (#4369) found online at:
- Submit the completed application, along with three references, of which one is a
familial relation, to grand knight or faithful navigator
- Complete in-person interview
- Complete background check authorization form as emailed by the Knights of Columbus Supreme Office
Upon approval, Youth Leaders will be mailed a youth leader certificate from the Supreme Office.
The Supreme Office conducts background checks on each applicant for youth leader positions that may include, among other things, the following:
- State and federal criminal background check.
- National Sex Offender Registry check.
- Social Security number trace.
- Alias search.
Youth leaders must complete their background check authorization within 30 days of appointment.
If a Knights of Columbus background check reveals any form of child abuse, sexual misconduct or other violent crime, the applicant and his Grand Knight and/or Faithful Navigator will be notified and the applicant will be given the opportunity to respond. If the applicant responds, his response will be taken under review pending a final decision. If there is no response, the application will be rejected.
Safe Environment Training:
All youth leaders are required to complete online training on how to prevent and detect signs of child physical, emotional, sexual abuse, and neglect, as well as on how to report suspected child abuse. This training must be completed within 30 days of receiving email confirmation of an appointment to a youth leader position. Grand knights and faithful navigators must ensure that youth leaders complete all training within the 30 days.
Youth leaders are ineligible to serve if the background check authorization and online training are not completed within 30 days of appointment.
Youth Leaders Must Comply With Diocesan Requirements
Youth leaders must comply with any and all safe environment/youth protection training and background check requirements for the diocese and parish in which they volunteer.
Youth leaders Must Re-Train Every Two Years
Youth leaders are required to renew their Knights of Columbus Safe Environment Program online training and background check every two years from date of their initial training. Youth leaders will receive an email reminder of this re-training requirement.
Procedure for Reporting Allegations of Abuse
All members of Knights of Columbus, especially youth leaders, grand knights and faithful navigators, are required to report any suspicion of sexual, emotional, physical abuse or neglect of a child participating in Knights of Columbus programs. If you have direct or indirect knowledge of or have reasonable cause to suspect abuse or misconduct against a minor participating in any Knights of Columbus program, including Columbian Squires, regardless of whether the incident occurred recently or in the past, report any and all information immediately to: 1-844-KOFC-SAFE (844-563-2723)
All information submitted is maintained in strict confidence. Knights of Columbus prohibits retaliation against those who have direct or indirect knowledge of or have reasonable cause to suspect abuse or misconduct against a minor and who make a good faith report of such abuse or misconduct.
Youth Leader Guide:
GK Safe Environment Guide: http://www.kofc.org/un/en/resources/membership/Safe_Env_Guide_GK_FN_Layout.pdf