Education alone cannot shape mature attitudes and behavior. It is, however, a powerful tool in raising awareness and in educating staff and volunteers about child abuse and about their legal and moral responsibilities to report abuse.
- The Archdiocese is instituting a “safe environment” program to insure that children and youth who worship, study, or participate in Church programs can do so safely. The following elements will be included in this safe environment program:The Archdiocese has established a code of conduct for all adults who work with youth on a regular basis. This code defines and establishes acceptable behavior that is legal, professional, and responsible. (See below for this code of conduct.) Signatures on a “Church Personnel Acknowledgement Card” reflect employees’ and volunteers’ agreement to abide by these guidelines.
- The Archdiocese will conduct regular training for parents, clergy, educators, volunteers, and other Church personnel regularly involved with minors. This training will address child abuse, including sexual abuse, and will focus on what child abuse is, how to prevent child abuse, how to identify instances of child abuse, and how to report child abuse. (For information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or go to www.archlou.org/safe.)
- In addition to routine screening of seminarians and the application process for lay employees, criminal background checks will be conducted on all church personnel who have regular contact with children. References and the voluntary reporting of any accusation or convictions of child abuse also will be required. Depending on the position, other background investigations may be conducted.
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