Creating a Safe Environment
Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People
The Charter for the Protection of Children and Young people is a landmark document drafted and passed unanimously by the bishops of the United States at their June meeting in Dallas in 2002. The document is a response to the sexual abuse crisis in the church and is their "Promise to Protect, Pledge to Heal."
There are four focus areas:
* To promote healing and reconciliation with victim survivors of sexual abuse.
* To guarantee an effective response to allegations of sexual abuse of minors.
* To ensure the accountability of our procedures.
* To protect the faithful in the future.
In order to protect the faithful in the future, Article 12 of the Charter states:
"Dioceses/eparchies will establish 'Safe Environment' programs. They will cooperate with parents, civil authorities, educators, and community organizations to provide education and training for children, youth, parents, ministers, educators, and others about ways to make and maintain a safe environment for children. Dioceses/ eparchies will make clear to clergy and all members of the community the standards of conduct for clergy and other persons in positions of trust with regard to sexual abuse."
This guideline, which mandates that all dioceses create a safe environment for children and young people who pray, study and worship in our schools and churches, is the basis for our diocesan safe environment programs.
In the Diocese of Rochester
Volunteers who work with children, youth or vulnerable adults are required to sign a Diocese of Rochester Volunteer Code of Conduct, complete the Criminal Record Check process and participate in Creating a Safe Environment training. (The Criminal Record Check includes Social Security number verification, Department of Corrections check and Sex Offender registry check for each state in which the volunteer has resided in the last seven years.)
* In the Diocese of Rochester the Pastor, Pastoral Administrator, Director of Campus Ministry or Principal is responsible for insuring the training of volunteers in Creating a Safe Environment. They may choose to designate a staff employee or a well-qualified volunteer to coordinate and/or deliver this training.
* Trainers are required to attend one Train the Trainer session. A schedule is attached in the appendix to this policy. Ordinarily, the Catechetical Leader and/or Youth Minister is designated to train all volunteers for parish/faith community programs for which they are responsible. Parishes/faith communities with an extensive network of volunteers affected may choose to designate another staff person to assist the catechetical leader/youth minister in training of volunteers.
* Parishes must maintain a record of the authorization for Criminal Record Check, the signed acknowledgement of receipt of the Code of Conduct and a verification of training for volunteers bound by this policy.
* Volunteers include those who are listed below.
* Volunteers must sign the Diocesan Volunteer Code of Conduct, undergo a Criminal Record Check, and participate in Creating a Safe Environment training.
* Volunteer drivers also require a New York State DMV check
Volunteers who must sign a Diocese of Rochester Volunteer Code of Conduct, undergo a Criminal Record Check, and be trained in Creating a Safe Environment, include but are not limited to the following:
* All volunteers who serve in a Catholic school program;
* Volunteers in religious education programs;
* Volunteers in parish youth programs;
* Volunteer drivers (these also require a New York State DMV check);
* Overnight trip chaperones;
* NCYC chaperones;
* Children’s liturgy of the Word coordinators and presiders;
* Youth choir directors;
* Trainers of children / youth for liturgical ministries;
* Anyone hosting a school and/or catechetical, youth or parish-affiliated program for children off site;
* Retreat leaders;
* Volunteers who work with school and/or parish sport programs such as Athletic Directors and coaches of sport teams / cheerleading programs;
* Supervisors of youth work/service projects;
* Coordinators of festivals, pageants, plays and events involving children;
* Volunteers who visit the homebound and sick;
* Catechists or youth ministry volunteers in a parish program;
* Catechists/aides who work with special education programs;
* Maintenance, grounds keepers or others who work with youth volunteers;
* Summer Bible school or summer institute volunteers;
* Family Education leaders;
* Adults involved in fundraising or special events that work with children, youth or vulnerable adults such as book fairs, cooking crews etc.;
* Volunteers who work with vulnerable adults in nursing homes and group homes.
* Volunteers who run Sunday day care during Mass.