Safe Environment – Protecting God’s Children
Safe Environment is a broad topic that covers many areas. The Bishops’ Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People focuses on preventing child sexual abuse. Toward that end, the Catholic Church has implemented safeguards to ensure that those adults who work with minors have been carefully screened and trained, and are supervised as they interact with our children.
Child abuse, among other reasons, is sometimes the cause of teenage suicide. The U.S. currently ranks second in the world in the number of these tragic deaths. We need to educate ourselves about this area and be ready to intervene when we see warning signs in our young people.
The Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People is a comprehensive set of procedures established by the USCCB in June 2002 for addressing allegations of sexual abuse of minors by Catholic clergy. The Charter also includes guidelines for reconciliation, healing, accountability, and prevention of future acts of abuse.
In keeping with the Bishop’s Charter, the goal of Our Lady of the Woods is a safe environment for all who enter our church, especially our children. Since we have no control over who comes to our church for Mass or various social events, we ask that parents adhere to the following guidelines for the safety of all our children.
When attending Mass, all children under the age of twelve (12) years of age must be accompanied by an adult when leaving the church proper for any reason (such as, restrooms, drinks, illness). Ushers are asked to send unaccompanied children back in to get a parent or guardian.
The following Safe Environment Programs are in place at
Our Lady of the Woods Parish:
- Safe Environment Training – a workshop to train those in regular contact with children about safe practices when around youth.
- Keeping Kids Safe – a safe environment program that is given in the classroom once a semester by all teachers. In addition, the Faith Formation Director observes each class at least once during the class time.
- Volunteer Background Checks – all volunteers are background checked before being allowed to work with children.
Safe Environment Training
Please contact our parish office for more information on our Safe Environment training. These trainings are open to anyone in the parish, however, they are required for anyone who works with or will be around children.