Safe Environment Compliance

See also: Protection of Children May 30, 2009 Ms. Kerry Cadden President, Parish Pastoral Council Re: Holy Trinity – Safe Environment Compliance Dear Kerry, As President of the Holy Trinity Parish Pastoral Council, you recently requested that Mary Shannon, principal of Holy Trinity School, and I make a presentation to the Council at its June 2 meeting regarding the parish’s compliance with the requirements of the Archdiocese’s Child Protection Policy PDF. Mary and I plan to make this presentation as you have requested. This letter summarizes what we will say at the meeting. Holy Trinity is fully committed to complying with every requirement of the Archdiocese for the protection of children and young persons. We do this not primarily from any obligation imposed from outside, but from our desire to protect our children from harm. Meeting these requirements is no mean feat, since we have nearly three hundred employees and volunteers who are subject to these requirements. Also, part of the compliance effort is the responsibility of persons outside of the parish. Moreover, although the roster of our employees is largely stable, our volunteers are constantly coming and going. Consequently, complying with Archdiocesan requirements is a constant effort. The Archdiocese of Washington’s requirements in this regard are contained in its Child Protection Policy. The Archdiocese adopted the Policy in 2003 and put it in its present form in March 2007. The Policy is designed to comply with the United States Bishops’Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People PDF, which the bishops adopted in 2002 and revised in 2005. The Child Protection Policy applies to all “priests, religious, deacons, lay employees, contract workers and volunteers who have substantial contact with children and who are subject to the oversight of the Archdiocese of Washington.” “Substantial contact” is defined in the Policy as “contact with children in which the duration and scope in both time and exposure to children is neither trivial nor limited and may occur on a routine and/or ongoing basis.” In short, the all clergy and religious working in the Archdiocese (whether or not they have substantial contact with children in the course of their work) and all lay employees and volunteers who have substantial contact with children must acknowledge that they have read and will comply with the Child Protection Policy and must undergo an FBI criminal history and local background check no later than 60 days after assuming their duties. In addition, these individuals must complete an educational program designed to help them to prevent, recognize, and properly report child abuse. These persons must complete an initial training workshop within 60 days of assuming their duties. In addition, employees and certain volunteers may be required to undergo periodic subsequent training. Persons who fail to meet this requirement are to be removed from unsupervised contact with children. With regard to Holy Trinity School employees and volunteers, all but nine persons are either “compliant” or have completed all required applications and checks and are simply awaiting final action by outside parties on their applications. Eight of the nine “non-compliant” persons (all volunteers) are in the process of completing application requirements. Until their applications are completed, they are not permitted to have unsupervised contact with children. The “non-compliant” staff person has completed all application requirements, but has been unable to give readable fingerprints. This person is undergoing an alternative FBI criminal record check. With regard to Holy Trinity Church employees and volunteers (those who work in the parish but outside of the school, including those serving as catechists in the parish religious education program), all but 26 are compliant. Five of these are employees. These five are either in the midst of completing the required applications and training, or they have completed all applications and training and are awaiting final action by outside parties on their applications. Of the remaining 21 (all volunteers), 11 have decided not to serve as volunteers and are in the process of being deleted from the parish roster of persons subject to the Policy. The remaining ten are actively seeking approval. The Jesuits on staff at Holy Trinity are subject to the Archdiocesan Policy. However, like all Jesuits in the United States, they are subject to requirements imposed by the Society as part of its own independent effort to comply with the Bishops’ Charter. These requirements are described in the Maryland Province’s Policies on Ministry with Minors and Pastoral Conduct. Like the Archdiocesan Child Protection Policy, the Society’s program requires all Jesuits in the United States Assistancy to undergo criminal history and background checks and to complete educational programs. All Jesuits at Holy Trinity are in full compliance with the Society’s requirements. Additional information regarding the Archdiocesan Policy and the Society’s policies is accessible from the parish’s and the school’s websites. I am pleased to make this report to the Council. I hope that it offers some assurance to you and to our parishioners that we are doing what we can to create a safe environment in which our children can experience the love of God for them through each one of us. AMDG Rev. Mark Horak, S.J. Pastor