Audit clears Portland Archdiocese in child protection charter

Archdiocese of Portland in full compliance with Charter for Protection of Children
By Portland Archdiocese,

The Archdiocese of Portland was found to be in compliance with the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People for 2009.  A letter of compliance was sent to Archbishop John G. Vlazny by William A. Gavin, of The Gavin Group, Inc.  The Gavin Group is an independent auditing agency hired to determine if the Archdiocese is in compliance with the Charter for the Protection of Children.  The Charter was adopted by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in June 2002, and revised in June 2005.  The Charter provides policies and procedures for the protection of children.

In August of this year, the Archdiocese submitted data related to the background checks, training of clergy, employees, volunteers, parents and children.  The data was the basis for determining that the Archdiocese was compliant with the Charter.  The policies and practices of the Archdiocese received full on-sight audits in 2003, 2004, 2005, 2007, and a data collection audit was performed in 2008.

The Archdiocese staffs an Office for Child Protection/Victim Assistance, which began in 2002.  Ms. Cathy Shannon is the office director.  The commitment to a full time position has allowed Ms. Shannon to expand and strengthen the training programs, and provide the necessary follow-up with parishes and schools.

Parishes and Catholic schools in the Archdiocese have one or more trainers to work with teachers, staff and parents.  There are 420 qualified trainers in the Archdiocese.  More than 25,600 students took part in training this year.  Background checks have been completed on more than 15,700 active employees, volunteers, clergy and seminarians.

In August of 2007 The Archdiocese began a new prevention program to train all clergy, employees, volunteers who work with minors, and parents.  The Called to Protect Program by Praesidium, Inc. teaches adults about the warning signs of possible sexual abuse or boundary violations with minors, and how to respond to those warning signs.

This year employees and volunteers who work with minors four or more times a year are required to complete the Keeping Your Church Safe or Keeping Your School Safe programs. Clergy are also to complete one of these courses in addition to the Called to Protect training.

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