“We pledge most solemnly to one another and to you, God’s people, that we will work to our utmost for the protection of children and youth. We pledge that we will devote to this goal the resources and personnel necessary to accomplish it.” – Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People: Statement of Episcopal Commitment, USCCB, June 2002
Parents have the right to insist their parishes and schools are in compliance with the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People. All parishes and schools should be able to show parents that the clergy, employees, and volunteers who work with children are familiar with the warning signs of offenders, what to do if they have a concern with someone, and how to report suspected abuse. Employees and volunteers who work with children also need to have their backgrounds evaluated so parents can have a reasonable assurance that known offenders are not around their children.
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
The Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People is a comprehensive set of procedures established by the USCCB in June 2002 for addressing allegations of sexual abuse of minors by Catholic clergy. The Charter also includes guidelines for reconciliation, healing, accountability, and prevention of future acts of abuse.
The Charter directs action in all the following matters:
• Creating a safe environment for children and young people
• Healing and reconciliation of victims and survivors
• Making a prompt and effective response to allegations
• Cooperating with civil authorities
• Disciplining offenders
Providing for means of accountability for the future to ensure the problem continues to be effectively dealt with through the Secretariat of Child and Youth Protection and the National Review Board.
The Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend requires all priests, deacons, and other personnel, lay and religious, paid and volunteer to adhere to the diocese’s Code of Conduct When Interacting With a Child or Young Person. (English) (Spanish)
All must report any suspected incident of the physical, mental, or sexual abuse or neglect of a child or young person to appropriate civil and diocesan authorities consistent with the Policy on Reporting Incidents of Child Abuse or Neglect. All priests, deacons and other personnel, employee and volunteer, as well as the diocese’s parishes and schools are subject to and obligated by this policy. (English) (Spanish)
Safe Environment Training for Adults
The Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend requires that all clergy, seminarians, and employees complete the Safe Environment Training Program regardless of their level of contact with children. All diocesan volunteers who will have regular contact with children or young people must complete the Safe Environment Training Program also. The program teaches adults how to create and maintain a safe environment in which all persons, especially children, can grow in faith. This training is meant to help protect children and also those adults who minister to them. Training updates are required regularly.
The Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend partners with Catholic Mutual Group to offer an online safe environment training curriculum for all adults who are required to complete it. Contact your local Safe Environment Coordinator for information as to how to register at the CMG site and begin your training. Adults may complete training in English, Spanish, or American Sign Language (ASL).
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Safe Environment Training for Children and Youth
As part of its effort to protect all children from harm as well as to create safe environments in which children can learn and grow in faith, the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend will provide annual safe environment training to all children enrolled in diocesan Catholic schools and parish religious education programs. In age-appropriate lessons, the children will learn about God’s love for them; personal space; treating ourselves and others with respect and care; safe and unsafe touches; and how to get help from a trusted adult if needed. The lessons, available in both English and Spanish, will be taught every year.
Contact the diocesan Safe Environment Coordinator, Cathie Cicchiello, at [email protected] for more information on training materials for high school students.
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