“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.”
The You Matter Adult Safe Environment training 60 minute video will be discontinued as of December 31, 2015. We will start using the VIRTUS Protecting God’s Children program effective January 1, 2016. Archbishop Gregory’s commitment to the protection of our children and vulnerable individuals and the healing of the victims is re-affirmed with the adoption of a new Safe Environment program, VIRTUS Protecting God’s Children. See his letter here.
The mission of the Safe Environment Office at the Archdiocese of Atlanta is to ensure 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 response 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 requires 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 Make Our Mission A Reality By:
- Coordinating the training programs for children and adults.
- Overseeing proper screening of anyone working with children, young people, and vulnerable individuals.
- 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.
- Leading the internal investigation process relating to child abuse allegations involving church personnel.
Please use the menu to the left to see the training programs that are available.
Safe Environment Efforts to Date
- 22,239 background checks have been completed in Sterling since 2012 on clergy, employees, and volunteers (this includes criminal background checks and sex offender registries). Thousands of screenings were performed using Verifications Inc. and ChoicePoint prior to the adoption of Sterling in 2012.
- 79,674 members of clergy, employees, and volunteers have received Safe Environment training on how to create a Safe Environment and prevent child abuse in the last 5 years (through “You Matter” training and acknowledgement of Archdiocesan policies)
- 37,091 children received age-appropriate and faith based Safe Environment training during the 2014-2015 school year using the new Children’s training program, VIRTUS Protecting God’s Children, launched Fall 2014. 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:
- Implementation of new adult training program, VIRTUS Protecting God’s Children, which will replace the You Matter program effective January 1, 2016.
- Live training sessions required for Clergy, Employees, and Volunteers working with Children and/or Vulnerable Adults
- Ongoing training through online monthly bulletins for selected groups
- Training will be available in Spanish, Vietnamese*, and Korean* (*subtitled)
- VIRTUS Children’s Training update– School year 2016-2017, VIRTUS is currently working on the updated lesson plans which will be available as soon as March 2016.