More than 15 years ago, the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People was created by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops as a means to create a system of accountability of all dioceses throughout the United States. The “Charter” serves as a guide in ensuring that dioceses have put into place best practices for the protection of children.
The Diocese of Sacramento is ever vigilant in looking and implementing ways to improve our methods to prevent abuse.
Employees and volunteers
In the Diocese of Sacramento, all employees and volunteers who have ongoing contact with children are required to complete a background check and complete safe environment training. We are constantly evaluating what organizations need to be brought into compliance. This past year, the Knights of Columbus, Legion of Mary and the Society of St. Vincent de Paul were asked to complete all safe environment requirements.
Background checks are completed through the Department of Justice/FBI by Live Scan fingerprinting.
Training, which has to be renewed every three years, is done through Safe Haven. Safe Haven is a three-part part video series, which identifies real-life abuse and neglect situations that volunteers and employees may encounter. The training addresses important topics such as pornography, grooming techniques, social media interaction and boundary violations. The training also covers the different types of abuse and neglect. Each video segment is followed by a short quiz that emphasizes the key learning points of the video.
In addition to background checks and training, adult employees and volunteers are required to acknowledge our “Code of Pastoral Conduct” and “Sexual Misconduct Policy.”
Safety program for children
Article 12 of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People outlines that dioceses will establish education and training for adults and youth about ways to make and maintain a safe environment for children.
In 2015, the Diocese of Sacramento selected Circle of Grace as the training program for children enrolled in faith formation and diocesan schools. Circle of Grace is taught each year with lessons unique to each grade level. Circle of Grace serves the dual purpose of educating and informing youth about the value of positive relationships with God and others.
Through the Circle of Grace program, adults assist children and youth to recognize that each of us lives within a Circle of Grace that holds our very essence in body, mind, heart and soul. Through the Circle of Grace program, children and youth are taught to identify and maintain appropriate physical, emotional and spiritual boundaries; recognize when boundary violations are about to occur; and demonstrate how to take action when boundaries are threatened or violated.
Each lesson opens with the Circle of Grace meditation:
Raise your hands above your head then bring
your outstretched arms slowly down.
Extend your arms
in front of you
and then behind you
embrace all of the space around you
slowly reach down to your feet.
Knowing that God is in this space with you.
This is your Circle of Grace;
you are in it.
Victim Assistance Coordinator
The diocese provides a pastoral care coordinator to assist persons who have suffered sexual abuse by members of the Catholic clergy and other Catholic Church workers. If you are seeking assistance in coping with this tragic situation, the pastoral care coordinator may be reached through a toll-free number at 866-777-9133. Assistance is available in English and Spanish.
Each year, the Diocese of Sacramento is audited by an outside agency for safe environment compliance. For the 2016-2017 audit year, the diocese was found to be in compliance with all requirements. More than 29,000 children were trained in Circle of Grace. More than 13,000 adults completed training and background checks.
This next year, the Diocese of Sacramento will participate in an on-site audit. On-site audits are completed every three years. Compliance will be based upon inquiry, observation and review of specifically requested documentation.
Every year the Diocese of Sacramento has been found to be in compliance with the outline of the Charter and the auditors.
Katita Schloemann is safe environment coordinator for the Diocese of Sacramento. Learn more about the diocese’s Safe Environment programs, the Charter and audit compliance at www.scd.org/safe-environment.
In photo above, students from St. Joseph School in Redding gather during the recent national Catholic Schools Week.
Did you know?
The Diocese of Sacramento is committed to creating a safe environment for children and young people.
- The Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People was established by the USCCB in June of 2002. It is a comprehensive set of procedures for addressing allegations of abuse.
- The Charter calls for annual audits of dioceses to ascertain compliance with the Charter by the bishop and his diocese. Annual audits have been conducted since 2003.
- The Diocese of Sacramento has been in compliance with all audits since 2003.
- For the 2016-2017 audit period, more than 13,000 adults completed background checks and safe environment training for the Diocese of Sacramento.
- For the 2016-2017 audit period, more than 29,000 children were trained in Circle of Grace. Through this program, children are taught to identify and maintain appropriate physical, emotional and spiritual boundaries.