TO: State Deputies and State Advocates in the United States, Canada and Philippines

CC: Fraternal Mission Staff & Office of Youth Protection Staff
Dear Worthy State Deputies and Worthy State Advocates,

Please notify all district deputies and grand knights in your jurisdiction of the following critical changes that need to be made immediately:

Email addresses mandatory for all members holding safe environment roles (grand knight, program, family and community directors, and all squires counselors)

  • Email addresses will be mandatory for every member to retain access to, and be counted towards, a council’s safe environment compliance for Fraternal Year End 2020-21
  • Please have your district deputies and grand knights check the Safe Environment Member Status Report in Officers Online and reach out to any members who don’t have an email listed and assist them in adding a valid email address, unique, and personal to him, to his membership profile with the Knights of Columbus
  • PLEASE NOTE: generic emails will no longer work, e.g., will no longer work; personal emails are required as user ids to ensure that members retain full credit for completing their training and background checks

Grand knights barred from holding all 4 roles
  • Councils in which a grand knight also holds the program, community, and family director roles will NOT be considered compliant with the Knights of Columbus safe environment program
  • This practice has never met the standard of having at least 2 fully compliant members at all events where youth or other vulnerable persons may be present
  • This standard is in effect for the current 2020-21 Fraternal Year

Grand knights of councils who fall into this category must appoint AT LEAST one more member into either the program, community, or family director role immediately in order for their council to become compliant. 
Examples and illustrations

1 - A council’s community director has no computer and he completed his safe environment training using the hard copy self-study guide. With the new requirement that all members holding safe environment roles must have a personal email, what happens to members in these roles who don’t have computers? 
  • If this member completed the training via the self-study guide, and sent in the acknowledgement form, it’s recorded in the Office of Youth Protection
  • We understand that some of our members don’t have computers, but can still have a personal email created for them so that the training and background check records will be retained in the new system
  • Perhaps a son or daughter can help? 
  • It’s possible to use a smart phone or tablet to access the internet
  • Such members can also visit the library in their town to access the internet to set up a personal email 
  • Maybe a brother Knight can help? 
  • As requirements are valid for 3 years we want members to continue to show as compliant for that timeframe 

2 - Must a council fill all 4 required positions (grand knight, program, family, and community director) with different council members or are two members permitted to each hold 2 positions? For example, would a council be compliant if a compliant grand knight also held the program director position and another fully compliant member held the community and family director positions? Some councils are small and find it difficult to find 4 members to fill the 4 positions. 
  • For this fraternal year 2020-21 ONLY, having 2 different members appointed into the 4 required roles of grand knight, program, family, and community director roles will be allowed – but ONLY for the remainder of this fraternal year (June 30, 2021) 
  • If the grand knight is also going to hold a director role, it should be either the family or community director role (but not both) so that there will then be 2 fully trained and background checked members in each council
  • It is common that a council’s deputy grand knight also serves as the program director

3 - The Order’s safe environment standard is for 2 fully compliant members to be at all events where youth and other vulnerable persons may be present. Do both members have to have the training and background check or is it permitted to have one with training and one with training and background check? 
  • At a MINIMUM, there must be at least 2 trained members, at least 1 of whom has also been background checked, present at all events where minors or other vulnerable persons may be present
  • The Order’s expectation is that, over time, more and more members will have served in key leadership roles that include background checks and training, and that there will be more than two fully trained and background checked members at events, programs, and activities where minors and other vulnerable persons may be present

4 - What is a valid email address for the positions requiring safe environment training? Some members wish to have an email for K of C business and a separate one for their personal business. What are some examples of valid email addresses? Does the email address have to be the same as what the member has in his membership profile? 
  • The member management system only holds 1 email
  • A member may create one that can then be used for all of his K of C business, but instead of which is associated with the council ROLE of grand knight, one should be created like  to ensure that the member’s training and background check credentials remain with HIM for 3 years, not with the grand knight ROLE

5 - Here is some basic information on how to set up a personal email - Please note, the examples below are for illustration purposes only and do not constitute an endorsement or requirement by the Knights of Columbus for its members to use any of these companies when setting up their personal email; members are free to select any company they wish.

All questions and concerns regarding these updated safe environment program requirements should be directed to the Office of Youth Protection at either or 203.752.4558.

Office of Youth Protection
Member Helpline
203.800.4940 (p)
855.845.3502 (fax)
Office of Youth Protection
203.752.4458 (p)
855.845.3502 (fax)
PO Box 1670
New Haven, CT 06507-9982