Youth Protection

“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 

USCCB Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People
Policy For The Protection of Children And Young People

Safe Environment Policies

There are numerous resources available here, including information on policies and procedures, guidelines, checklists, and forms.

Criminal Background Checks

In the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend, all diocesan priests, deacons, and candidates for ordination will undergo a criminal background evaluation according to diocesan policy and procedure.  All employees, regardless of their level of contact with children, will undergo criminal background evaluations prior to employment.  All volunteers, who will have regular contact with children and young people as part of their volunteer duties, will undergo criminal background evaluations  before they begin their responsibilities.  The employee’s or volunteer’s immediate supervisor is to ensure this requirement is fulfilled.  Per Indiana state law, all new school employees must undergo an expanded criminal history search and an expanded child protection index.  The diocese contracts with a professional background screening company to complete its criminal history searches. Rescreening is conducted for all regularly.

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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Contact Information

Mike Gibson

Safe Environment Office Assistant

[email protected] 
Phone: (260) 422-4611 • Ext. 3365

Babette Zielinski

Safe Environment Program Database Specialist

[email protected]