About the Safe Environment Program

The Safe Environment Program (SEP) is mandated by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Florida Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Diocese of St. Petersburg,  and certain Florida statues to protect children, youth, and vulnerable adults from abuse, especially sexual abuse.

The Diocese of St. Petersburg SEP programs are meant to enable children and vulnerable adults to feel secure and protected in their surroundings.  We want our children and youth to feel free to receive a Catholic education and to experience healthy relationships.  We want to foster a safe environment and to provide a healthy and loving relationship in the image of God for our vulnerable adults who may be sick and or shut-in,  and for our elderly who may be suffering from the infirmities of aging.  Please click here for program details.


All employees are required to comply with diocesan fingerprint policy for background screening and to complete safe environment training program as a condition of employment – no exceptions.

All diocesan volunteers and contractors (aka vendors, licensees, consultants, Memo of Understanding (MOU) personnel, federal/state/county employees) and persons who may have unsupervised access to or who wish to be entrusted with the care, responsibility, or supervision of children, must be fingerprinted by the Diocese.  The FBI does not allow the sharing of their statute-specific background checks for any purpose other than the original purpose.  So, even if you were fingerprinted by the FBI for another purpose or program, that background check and its contents cannot be shared with any another agency or organization.

The diocese continues to perform fingerprint-based FBI/FDLE Level 2 criminal history background checks under the Volunteer, Employee Criminal History System (VECHS) supplemented by the Applicant Fingerprint Retention Notification Program (AFRNP) on all employees as a condition of employment and on all Covered Volunteers.  This requirement applies to all contractors to include state and federal employees who will have unsupervised access to or who may have the care, responsibility, and or supervision of children, youth, or vulnerable adults.

The diocese will also screen individuals for non-diocesan entities by special arrangement.  Please click here for fingerprinting instructions.


The Diocese of St. Petersburg Policy for the Protection of Children and Vulnerable Adults  requires Safe Environment Program (SEP) Training for all adults who wish to have unsupervised access to and or the care, responsibility, and or supervision of children and youth and vulnerable adults.  All employees are required to take this child safety/vulnerable adult training as a condition of employment regardless of said access.

SEP training is also required for all other adults who wish to have unsupervised access to and or the care, responsibility and supervision of children, youth, and vulnerable adults.  “All other adults” includes contractors, vendors, consultants, licensees, Memo of Understanding personnel, state/federal service providers, and others who wish to have access to children, youth, and vulnerable adults.

The online training module consists of child safety training and vulnerable adult training combined.  However, Eucharistic Minister of Holy Communion to the Homebound and Pastoral Care Provider (EMHC/PCP) training will no longer be administered by the Safe Environment Program Office.

Eucharistic Minister of Holy Communion to the Homebound (EMHC)training will now be performed by the parish homebound ministry leader. Pastoral Care Provider (PCP) training will now be provided by the ministry leader charged with providing pastoral care in your parish.

If your parish does not have an EMHC ministry leader or a pastoral care ministry leader, please contact the Office of Worship 727-344-1611, ext. 5418 for assistance.

To access the online training program for access to children and vulnerable adults please click here for details and to register to take the online training course.

Please contact the Safe Environment Program Office at 727-344-1611, Ext. 5303 or Ext. 5377 by phone. To reach us by email please use emh@dosp.org or mjc@dosp.org.   For detailed information on the Safe Environment Program and certification requirements, please go to the following website: https://www.dosp.org/safe-environment/about/.