A forum of Catholic Thought

Culture



Thanking those who work for safe environments

Help us expand our reach! Please share this article on social media

Child Protection Teams and supportive church leaders in our parishes and schools deserve great praise and appreciation for dedicating themselves to rebuilding trust and assuring the safety of all so that the love of Christ can be fully experienced.

April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month and the Offices of Child Advocacy and Background Screening within the Office of Pastoral Support and Child Protection would like to take this opportunity to thank those throughout the Archdiocese of Boston committed to creating safe environments for children and vulnerable adults.

Basic missions of faith formation, caring for the sick and educating children are impossible without first addressing the fundamental need for people to know they, and those they love, are safe. The assurance of safety must be woven into all other ministries. The ministry of creating safe space is fundamental for the Church to be successfully in its mission.

Since its inception in 2002, the Offices of Child Advocacy and Background Screening have worked to facilitate the creation of safe environments for children and vulnerable adults in parishes and schools throughout the Archdiocese of Boston. We seek to enable individuals within those environments to recognize and report suspected abuse. Our offices provide trainings to facilitate child and adult awareness prevention curricula, consultation for abuse reporting, technical support for program implementation, and various prevention resources for Archdiocesan personnel, volunteers and parents.

All clergy, employees, and volunteers who have contact with children and youth are trained in "Protecting God's Children," a program designed to teach adults how to prevent, recognize, and report all forms of child abuse and neglect. This training fosters an understanding of both the Massachusetts mandated reporter requirements as well as Archdiocesan Policies and Procedures for the Protection of Children.

Each year in the Archdiocese of Boston, nearly 100 individuals are trained as facilitators of Protecting God's Children, the awareness program used to educate adults in ways to prevent and respond to child abuse. Many of these individuals are volunteers who sacrifice their time to be trained, to facilitate sessions in their parish, and to assist parish leadership in monitoring all programs. They come from various backgrounds and reflect the diverse cultures found in the parishes within the Archdiocese of Boston.

Our gratitude also extends to those who assume responsibility for the implementation of personal safety curriculum utilized in our religious education classes and Catholic schools. Teachers, parents, principals and school personnel embed safety lessons into the education provided to children and empower them with the tools they need to feel safe and make safe choices. Rule based lessons are utilized to impart valuable life lessons which can be applied at home, in school and other parts of the community.

Child Protection Teams and supportive church leaders in our parishes and schools deserve great praise and appreciation for dedicating themselves to rebuilding trust and assuring the safety of all so that the love of Christ can be fully experienced.

More information about the child protection efforts of the Archdiocese can be found at www.bostoncatholic.org/protectingchildren.

MAUREEN DIMILLA IS THE DIRECTOR OF THE OFFICE OF CHILD ADVOCACY.

Help us expand our reach! Please share this article on social media

Recent articles in the Culture & Events section