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
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.
for Code of Conduct
Rules for drivers
© Copyright 2015. Saint Bridget Parish. All rights reserved.