Article 12 of the Bishop's Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People adopted in 2002, revised 2011 states the following:
Dioceses are to maintain “safe environment” programs which the diocesan bishop deems to be in accord with Catholic moral principles. They are to be conducted cooperatively with parents, civil authorities, educators, and community organizations to provide education and training for children, youth, parents, ministers, educators, volunteers, and others about ways to make and maintain a safe environment for children and young people. Dioceses are to make clear to clergy and all members of the community the standards of conduct for clergy and other persons in positions of trust with regard to children.
Safe environment awareness training sessions for adults, called VIRTUS Protecting God's Children for Adults, are held across the Diocese by VIRTUS-trained Facilitators. This is a special 2-3 hour training that teaches adults in the Catholic community to create safer environments and become part of the solution to prevent child abuse.
Safe environment awareness for children is an essential component of our program. The Diocese of Alexandria uses the VIRTUS Program Touching Safety. This program contains age-appropiate lesson plans pertaining to personal safety, good touch bad touch, and appropiate relationships. This program is not a sex education class.
--> Thursday, NOVEMBER 14, 6:00 p.m., St. Joseph Catholic Center, 4400 Coliseum Blvd., ALEXANDRIA
--> Monday, NOVEMBER 18, 6:00 p.m., Minor Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, NATCHITOCHES
--> Tuesday, NOVEMBER 19, 6:00 p.m., Sacred Heart Church, MOREAUVILLE
--> Thursday, JANUARY 16, 2014, 6:00 p.m., St. Joseph Catholic Center, 4400 Coliseum Blvd., ALEXANDRIA
VIRTUS Protecting God's Children for Adults safe environment training is required for all clergy, religious, employees, and volunteers who regularly work with chlidren. This training has met with positive responses from parents, clergy, employees, and volunteers from across our Diocese. The training provides adults with awareness of the issues surrounding child sexual abuse and some important steps that we can all take for the protection of children. Adults learn about the warning signs of potential sex offenders and unsafe situations that could place a child or a vulnerable adult at risk of abuse. At these sessions, adults learn how to respond if they should suspect abuse and how to make a report in the State of Louisiana and in the Diocese of Alexandria. Participants are provided with the Diocese of Alexandria's Code of Pastoral Conduct (for others in the church community, a hard copy is available upon request). Attendees also are provided with the diocesan website whereby they may view/download our Diocesan Policy for the Protection of Minors (a hard copy is available upon request)
To register for an awareness training session, please go to www.virtusonline.org and select Registration. Select the Diocese of Alexandria, LA. You will be directed to complete forms and choose appropriate information from drop-down menus; then, choose the date you wish to attend from the current schedule of upcoming sessions in your area. All participants who attend this training will receive a certificate as proof of attendance.
Continuing Education (Ongoing Training):
Continuing Education on abuse prevention is critical in maintaining safe environments into the future. Following the 2-3 hour live awareness training, clergy, employees and volunteers who work directly with children will complete continuing education (ongoing training) online. Monthly "bulletins" are provided through VIRTUS once per month. Participants will be prompted via email from VIRTUS to read and acknowledge that they understand the information in the training bulletins; the VIRTUS "system" will record that the article has been completed. Participants may choose to read the bulletins on a monthly basis or every couple of months at their convenience. These article topics will keep us updated on current child abuse prevention methods. Those without internet access should be provided with printed copies of the bulletins from their church parish or school office; and, records should be kept in the church or school office for those who maintain their ongoing training compliance this way.
For more information on continuing education, please contact your immediate supervisor at your school or church parish. You may also contact Pam Delrie in the Office of Safe Environment at 318.445.6424 ext.213 or pdelrie [at] diocesealex [dot] org.
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has adopted the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People which requires that all dioceses in our nation maintain “safe environment programs” to ensure that those who work with our children and young people have appropiate training in providing a safe environment for children and young people in our diocese. The Charter also requires that dioceses train children and young people in areas such as inappropriate touching and relationships and personal safety.
ARTICLE 12 of the Charter states: Dioceses/eparchies are to maintain “safe environment” programs which the diocesan/eparchial bishop deems to be in accord with Catholic moral principles. They are to be conducted cooperatively with parents, civil authorities, educators, and community organizations to provide education and training for children, youth, parents, ministers, educators, volunteers, and others about ways to make and maintain a safe environment for children and young people. Dioceses/eparchies are to make clear to clergy and all members of the community the standards of conduct for clergy and other persons in positions of trust with regard to children.
All school age children in our diocese will be trained in Catholic school religion classes or in parish religious education classes.
Teachers are provided with lesson plans with age-appropriate material pertaining to personal safety to help with the instruction of our youth. The Diocese of Alexandria uses the VIRTUS Program, Touching Safety (www.virtus.org). Our youth will not be expected to be completely knowledgeable about child abuse or laws, but they do need to know what is appropriate and when they should seek assistance from a trusted adult. This program is not a sex education class.
Lesson Plan topics change from year to year. To enquire as to the topics for the current year, call Pam Delrie or your church/school office.
Thank you for your continued support of our ministry in the education of and in protecting our youth.
For more information on this program you may contact Pam Delrie, Coordinator for Safe Environment, at pdelrie [at] diocesealex [dot] org (318-445-6424 x 213).