It is not uncommon for the Office for the Protection of Children and Young People (OPCYP) to be asked how long does the parish/school need to keep their records. Record retention is required to maintain safe environments. The information may be necessary in the event that an accusation is made. All records are not equal and, therefore, the length of retention time differs.
How these records are kept is up to the organization. OPCYP discourages retaining hard copy records since space is limited and always an issue at parishes and schools. OPCYP would like to encourage the electronic retention of these records. Whether it is scanned and kept as a pdf file or the information is input into Microsoft Word, Excel, or another program of your choice, the most important principle to keep in mind is that it is easily accessible and organized.
OPCYP encourages you store the information by year and by department i.e., Religious Education, Youth Ministry, CYO Basketball, CYO Cross Country, etc. Additionally, remember to list the first and last name of the individual as well as the event that it describes. You may know who these minors and volunteers are now but who will remember in five or even ten years?
To assist, OPCYP has provided a list of records to retain and for how long.
Record Retention: Perpetually
- Retain all attendance in perpetuity.
- Religious Education: Include the catechist and aides.
- Youth Ministry: Include all volunteers.
- Sports: Include all principle and assistant coaches.
- Scouting: Include all assistants and adults assisting or present and interacting with the youth.
- Retain all carpooling records as well as sleeping arrangement records in perpetuity.
- Retain medical forms and permission slips with incident reports when necessary in perpetuity.
Record Retention: Three Years
- Retain permission slips for three years: USCCB audits may now ask about the past three years related to documentation. Please retain the records in whatever format is most convenient.
- Retain safe environment reporting forms for three years: USCCB audits may now ask about the past three years related to documentation. Please retain the records in whatever format is most convenient.
- Retain compliance reports for three years: USCCB audits may now ask about the past three years related to documentation. Please retain the records in whatever format is most convenient.
Record Retention: Six Months
- Retain coversheets for six months: This will assist in keeping track of outstanding CPS forms and serve as a reference point when working with OPCYP.
- Retain Virtus sign-sheets for six months: When you host a Virtus session, keep the sign-out sheet for six months to ensure that all attendees are updated.
Please remember that these record retention policies only apply to the Office for the Protection and Young People. If you have a question about record retention concerning other Diocesan departments, please contact them at your convenience.