Volunteer Approval Process for Working with Children

The help of parents and other community members is needed to provide quality Christian formation, service, and fellowship opportunities for young people of Old St. Mary’s Parish.  Some examples of parish and school volunteers who are needed and who must complete a volunteer approval process are:  All adults volunteering or working in the school, parish catechists, preschool aides, Liturgy of the Word, coaches, concession stand help, room parents, children’s choir volunteers, mission trip volunteers, companion ministers and youth group leaders.  The volunteer approval process used in the Archdiocese of Chicago is called “Protecting God’s Children”


Child sexual abuse is a worldwide public health issue. Child abuse, particularly child sexual abuse, is reprehensible–especially when the wrongdoer is affiliated with the Church. The VIRTUS® programs assist the Church in being a safe haven for children and a messenger for preventing child sexual abuse within the Church and society in general.   We seek to educate and prevent abuse via the Protecting God’s Children program.  This is a 3 step process.  It consists of attending a training session, a background check, and commitment to a code of conduct and training bulletins.

Step One:  Attend the Virtus training session.  All adult volunteers age 18 and older in this Archdiocese of Chicago who have ongoing contact with children, young people and vulnerable adults need to attend a “VIRTUS: Protecting God’s Children for Adults” session.

The 2 ½ (two and one-half hour) VIRTUS session consists of a presentation of printed materials, videos, and group discussion. Among other things, VIRTUS attendees will learn to recognize the signs and symptoms that indicate a child is being abused or exploited in some way, environmental factors to be aware of in the physical space of the parish or school, how abusers operate, and things parents can do to help educate their children about how to respond to inappropriate behavior toward them.

To register for a session please visit www.virtusonline.org. It is very important that you pre-register to make sure your attendance is counted. It also lets the Archdiocese contact you if your session is canceled. There are dozens of sessions scheduled throughout the archdiocese, and you may register for any session outside your home parish or school that’s not listed as “only for employees or volunteers of the hosting institution”.  See the step by step registration instructions at the end of this page.

Step Two:  Complete a background check.  The Chicago Office for the Protection of Children & Youth has streamlined the Virtus registration process by including the background check as part of your registration process.  Now all volunteers are asked to visit: http://www.virtusonline.org where you will register for a Virtus session called Protecting God’s Children for Adults. When you do, volunteers will also be asked to submit their background check in the Virtus System as well as digitally sign your Code of Conduct and CANTS form.

To become an approved volunteer go to www.virtus.org and follow the steps below.

  1. Select First Time Registrant on the far left side of the page.
  2. Select Chicago, IL
  3. Create a user ID
  4. Create a password
  5. Fill out personal information
  6. Location: Old St. Mary’s
  7. Choose: Volunteer
  8. Answer additional questions
  9. Electronically sign and print DCFS/Code of Conduct forms (submit to Old St. Mary’s parish or Old St. Mary’s School office)
  10. Complete online background check
  11. Choose: Attend Virtus class
  12. After attending the Virtus session DON’T FORGET to submit your Virtus certificate to Old St. Mary’s parish or Old St. Mary’s School office