Pope Francis’ institution of members to the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors on March 22 was well- timed considering that April is National Child Abuse Protection Month. The composition of the commission seems to be well- balanced in expertise and experience.
Protection of children and vulnerable adults is a top priority for the Diocese of Dallas. Since the Charter for the Protection of Youth and Young People was signed, all dioceses are audited by an independent auditor for compliance with the 2002 charter. I am pleased to report that the Diocese of Dallas has been in compliance every year.
Any person who works with children, youth and vulnerable adults, laity and clergy alike, must complete a safe environment interview and undergo reference checks, an initial training and criminal background check before being allowed to begin their ministry. It is required that training be renewed annually. Programs specific to ministry needs are offered in training sessions focusing on topics that include domestic violence, bullying, social networking and elder abuse.
Direction of the program is handled by the Safe Environment Department under the supervision of the Chancellor of the diocese. The effectiveness of the program is manifest by the fact that safe environment training was provided in the past year for 21,550 volunteers, 2,307 diocesan and parish employees, 1,280 educators and 351 priests and deacons.
The Safe Environment Office works in close cooperation with the Superintendent of Catholic Schools, Director of Catechetical Services and the Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministry.
Protection of our children, youth and vulnerable adults will always be a top priority for the Diocese of Dallas.
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