VIRTUS Parent Guide - Teaching Boundaries and Safety Guide

This booklet is the primary resource to parents provided through the new Empowering God's Children program. The booklet is designed to help parents have frank and effective conversations with their children about the dangers of child sexual abuse and to help parents educate their children about the warning signs of abuse, and to help parents to better evaluate the safety of those who interact with their children. Because educators support parents in this critical undertaking, it is important for you to understand the types of conversations that parents are (or at least should be) having with their children, and the types of structures that you can help parents create in protecting their children.

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Last Updated: August 31, 2018

“Let there now be no doubt or confusion on anyone’s part: For us, your bishops, our obligation to protect children and young people and to prevent sexual abuse flows from the mission and example given to us by Jesus Christ himself, in whose name we serve.”

USCCB Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People

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The mission of the Safe Environment Office is to insure that children, young people, and vulnerable individuals who worship, study, or participate in activities sponsored therein can do so in the safest and most secure setting possible. We are responsible for implementing and overseeing the full Archdiocesan compliance to the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People (Charter).

We strive to comply with Articles 12 and 13 of the Charter, which require every diocese in the United States to maintain Safe Environment programs and to perform background screenings.  Article 12 is applied with the Safe Environment programs in place to help educate involved parties on how they can contribute with the promise to protect our children, young people, and vulnerable individuals from abuse.  Furthermore, Article 13 is also applied by performing background screenings on all those individuals working with children, young people, and vulnerable individuals.

We are Here to Listen
and Take Action

You Matter. You are Family.

Archdiocesan 24 hour Abuse Reporting Hotline

1-888-437-0764

We Make Our Mission A Reality By:

  1. Coordinating the training programs for children and adults.
  2. Overseeing proper screening of individuals working with children, young people, and vulnerable individuals.
  3. Communicating the policies surrounding the program, and ensuring that parishes and schools remain in compliance with the Charter through staff training and parish/school audits.
  4. Leading the internal investigation process relating to child abuse allegations involving church personnel.

Safe Environment Efforts to Date

  • 24,000+ background checks have been completed in Sterling Talent Solutions since January 2015 on clergy, employees, and volunteers (background packages include criminal history and sex offender registries).
  • 30,000+ members of clergy, employees, and volunteers have attended VIRTUS Protecting God’s Children training since implementation of the program in January 2016.

Adults Trained in VIRTUS Protecting God’s Children
from 
January 2016 – Present

  • Volunteers
  • Parents
  • Parish, School, Agency Employees
  • Educators
  • Candidates for Ordination
  • Deacons
  • Priests
  • Archdiocesan Employees
  • Facilitators
  • 40,000+ children in grades K-12th received age-appropriate and faith based Safe Environment training, VIRTUS Empowering God’s Children, during the 2017-2018 school year. These figures include students in Archdiocesan catholic schools and minors enrolled in Religious Education programs at the parishes. Children are prepared to recognize abuse and protect themselves.

Future Safe Environment Initiatives

We want to make sure we are always improving our processes and maintaining the outmost effectiveness of the program and its tools. Therefore, we are taking the following steps in the near future:

  1. Implementation of refresher adult training program, VIRTUS Keeping the Promise Alive.
    • Online training option for Volunteers
    • Ongoing training through online monthly bulletins
    • Training is available in Spanish, Vietnamese*, and Korean* (*subtitled)
  2. VIRTUS Children’s Training update– School year 2016-2017 marked the start of offering the Children’s training, VIRTUS Empowering God’s Children, to ALL students every year.
  3. Ultimate HR system – The HR team is currently working on the implementation of a new system that will allow Safe Environment coordinators to view and report on the compliance requirements all in one platform. Dates when the system will go live are being determined for 2019.
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