All employees and volunteers who work with children and youth on a regular basis are mandated to complete the PA State Police Criminal Record Check and the PA Department of Public Welfare Child Abuse History Clearance. If the person has not resided in PA for the two years previous to their application, they must also complete the Federal Criminal Record Check. These same employees and volunteers also fill out an application form, have references checked and participate in the diocesan Child Protection inservice program, Creating a Safe Environment. Records are kept in each parish for all employees/volunteers documenting completion of the above requirements. Parishes must know the people well that are volunteering to work with the children and youth; the days of asking for volunteers to just “show up” are over. The diocese is committed to do all that it can to assure that the adults who work with children and youth are cleared, screened and known to the parish community.
All students in our Religious Education programs are inserviced each year in Safe Environment/Child Abuse Prevention. Member groups of the PCAR (PA Coalition Against Rape), located in each county of our diocese, have been instrumental in presenting excellent, age-appropriate inservicing to our students. Religious Education programs that are unable to schedule these groups borrow age-appropriate video programs from the diocesan Media Resource Library to present the inservicing to their students. Inservicing done in the public schools by the same PCAR groups also satisfies the mandate to inservice our students. The diocese is committed to training children and youth about appropriate adult behavior and how to respond if confronted by inappropriate behavior.
All parents of Religious Education students are also mandated to be inserviced each year by the diocese on matters of Safe Environment/Child Abuse. The Diocese of Erie has chosen to accomplish this inservicing by providing written educational materials to all parents each year. The office also maintains a web page at http://www.eriercd.org/protectyouth.htm which contains a host of resources for parents, including links to many related websites. The diocese has also produced brochures and articles relating to child abuse for distribution to the larger parish and community.
The Erie diocese is dedicated to continue its campaign to keep children safe, not only in the environs of church property, but at all times and in all places. The scandal of child abuse happens everywhere, in every social and economic class, and is usually perpetrated by adults the children know. If even one child is spared from abuse or reports abuse and obtains help, our efforts have not been in vain!
For further information about any of the above, visit http://www.eriercd.org/protectyouth.htm or contact Mrs. Karen Streett at firstname.lastname@example.org or 814-824-1222.