Skip to Main Content

Education Programs

Preventing Child Abuse Through Targeted Training

Training Programs for Children and Adults

Child abuse prevention training is essential for reducing the risk of harm to minors and protecting their fundamental rights. The USCCB’s Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People mandates that Dioceses and Eparchies maintain safe environment programs which offer training in the detection, prevention and reporting of child abuse and neglect. The Diocese of Burlington fulfills this Charter requirement by providing separate, age-appropriate training programs for children and adults to educate them in child abuse awareness:

  1. Safe and Sacred Program for Adults, by Proud to Protect Inc.:

All adult employees or volunteers who have direct contact with children or youth in the diocese are required to complete training annually through the Safe and Sacred program, in addition to fulfilling other safe environment requirements.

  1. Circle of Grace Program for Children, by the Archdiocese of Omaha:

Children and youth in the Diocese must be trained annually in the Circle of Grace program, which is based in the Catholic tradition and fits into a traditional classroom learning model.

Please note: Parishes and Catholic schools may opt to use other programs promulgated by the Bishop for use during the current academic year. But the Circle of Grace program exists as the primary program used to train children and youth in our diocese.


Read Bishop Christopher J. Coyne’s Letter of Promulgation on the use of these programs within the Diocese of Burlington.

Frequently Asked Questions about Circle of Grace, the Safe and Sacred Program and the background check process

Frequently Asked Questions about child and youth protection 


The Safe and Sacred Program


The Diocese of Burlington uses the Safe and Sacred program to train adults in child safety curricula. The Safe and Sacred program was developed by Proud to Protect, Inc. as a training-module system designed to enroll users in child safety courses, assess their knowledge of course concepts and workplace policies, and automatically remind users to remain up-to-date up with their training requirements. The program also offers an exclusive platform for parish and Catholic school administrators to run reports and check the status of all users registered to their location at any time. The Safe and Sacred program can be completed online or offline based on a user’s preference, and the training comes at NO COST to the user or their parish/Catholic school.

The program must be completed by adult employees and volunteers who work with minors in the diocese, including priests, deacons and seminarians; catechists, classroom aides and Directors of Religious Education; Catholic school teachers, aides, administrators, sports coaches, volunteers and other staff; field trip and event chaperones; Diocesan offices staff; youth ministry leaders; camp counselors and more. A new course is required each year, and each course focuses on a different issue in child safety. Users will have a different experience with the program based on whether they are a first-time user or a returning user.

  • First-time Users: Click the “Safe and Sacred Login” button to access the Safe and Sacred login page.On the login page, click the “Create New Account” button and enter the required information. Please note: If you want to complete the training offline by using a course binder, please contact the Office of Safe Environment Programs for further assistance.
  • Returning Users: Click the “Safe and Sacred Login” button to access the Safe and Sacred login page. Enter your username and password. Your username and password can be reset by clicking on the related link. Your username is likely your email address.

Helpful Tips for Safe and Sacred Users

Breakdown of Safe Environment Requirements for Adults Working with Minors


The Circle of Grace Program


The Circle of Grace is a safe environment program for children and youth that is designed for use both in Catholic schools and in parish religious education programs. The program follows a traditional lesson plan format, and it fits in best to a classroom-style learning format. Developed by the Archdiocese of Omaha, the Circle of Grace is the fruit of collaboration among clergy, principals, teachers, school counselors, directors of religious education, catechists, youth ministers and mental health professionals. Sound in content and methodology, the program is designed for kindergarten through grade 12.

Circle of Grace’s curriculum is steeped in the truths of the Catholic faith and provides a holistic approach to the safety, well-being and spiritual formation of children and youth. It was introduced in the Diocese of Burlington in the 2013-2014 academic and catechetical year, and it is used annually as the primary safe environment program for children and youth in the Diocese.

To view the curriculum designed for each grade, please visit the “Circle of Grace Login” page. The password can be acquired by contacting your local parish, Catholic school or the Office of Safe Environment Programs. Each year, parents and guardians may choose to opt their children out of the program. Parents and guardians are the primary educators of their children, and we respectfully acknowledge their choice to opt their children out of safe environment training. Please note that the opt-out procedure is tracked and documented entirely through your local parish or Catholic school.


Circle of Grace Copyright

All Circle of Grace materials are protected by copyright by the Archdiocese of Omaha and licensed for use in the Diocese of Burlington through May 2018. Duplication, distribution or sale of all or any part of the Circle of Grace program outside of parish or school use is not permitted. Permission for any other use must be obtained from the Diocese of Burlington prior to access. Electronic or print copies may not be offered for sale or distribution to any third party.

Access to the Circle of Grace materials online is provided exclusively for the benefit of the priests, deacons, administrators, directors of religious education, principals, educators, catechists, classroom aides and volunteers of the Diocese of Burlington. It may not be accessed for sale or distribution to any third party.


Circle of Grace Disclaimer

The Diocese of Burlington makes all reasonable efforts to ensure the quality and accuracy of materials on this web server. However, to the extent permitted by law, the Diocese of Burlington accepts no liability for any loss or damage resulting directly or indirectly from the use of these materials. By making use of material on this web server you accept these copyright and disclaimer provisions.