Child Abuse Prevention

KEEPING CHILDREN SAFE

Our staff and volunteers here at Saint Bridget are   committed to assure you that your children are in a safe environment for all activities involving their participation.  As many of you know, the archdiocese has required all parishes to be in full compliance with all articles outlined in the U.S. Bishop’s “Charter for the Protection of Children”.  This charter involves effective response to allegations of sexual abuse; criminal background checks and proper training of all clergy, catechists, staff, and volunteers working with children; and training of children on abuse prevention and child safety.

Since the inception of these programs, under the leadership of our Child Abuse Prevention (CAP) team, we have trained nearly 175 members of our parish – all clergy, catechists, youth leaders and chaperones, musicians, and virtually any one who has even minimal interaction with children- on child protection and safety.  The program, “Protecting God’s Children”, is designed to train and educate parish adults to become more aware of the dangers of child abuse, the signs of abuse, the ways to prevent abuse, and the methods to properly report suspicions of abuse.

Each of these members has received 3 hours of training from CAP team members, who themselves have received 14 hours of off-site training and continuing education online twice every month.  All have received criminal background (CORI) checks as well, as required.  We have provided open meetings to parents to hear what we have learned and implemented in our awareness programs.

Further, we have provided abuse prevention and awareness programs to all students in grades 4-7, giving all parents of grade 4 (“Keeping Children Safe”) and grade 7 (“Keeping Youth Safe”) students the opportunity to review these programs.  Our program for grade 7, in particular, has met with a 90% approval rating from parents, and, in an anonymous survey, a 90% approval rating from the students as well.

We are pleased to report that, as of March 16, 2008, we are implementing a grades 1 through 3 program, which parents have had the opportunity to review.  We believe that this pilot program, “Stay Safe”, is both teacher and kid friendly, unlike the earlier versions, which met with some resistance across the archdiocese from parents and catechists.   In implementing this program, we are equally happy to report that we are now in full compliance with all 13 articles of the Charter, and with the national independent Gavin Group auditors’ reviews.

We assure all of you that at Saint Bridget parish, your children are in a safe environment, and will always be respected. Our staff and volunteers pledge to do all they can to keep them safe, and to report all forms of abuse to authorities should the need arise. These children are God’s precious gift to us, and we are privileged to be entrusted with their care.

Any questions can be addressed to CAP team members Joan Ferguson, Deacon John Pepi, Gaston Bathalon, or Dr. Jeff Robichaud at any time.  May god bless and keep our young people safe always.

OPEN ACCESS POLICY

It is good practice to always have at least two adults present with children, for their protection as well as for your own and the peace of mind of their parents.  When not possible, we maintain a policy of OPEN ACCESS, by which we mean that other adults should be present nearby and immediately accessible, both visually and physically, to areas in which an adult is alone with children.

Occasionally, as youth ministers and chaperones, there are times when one on one ministry is required, and we do not want to discourage that, especially when a child needs to talk to a trusted adult or needs advice, direction or attention on a personal level.  In these cases, there should always at least one other adult within distance who can be a visual witness or readily accessible to the situation AND is also made aware of the one on one interaction. 

When driving children home from an event, the volunteer conduct and driver codes will apply.

Rules for Code of Conduct
Rules for drivers




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