Child Safety

Protecting God’s Children course offerings

Requirements for Safe Use of the Center for Education and Ministry
In order to assure the safety of our children, Saint Augustine Parish has created and shall maintain a Parish Safety Policy.  Please see our Safety Policy regarding use of the Center for Education and Ministry.  Also see our policies for Parking Lot Safety and Evacuation Procedures.

Requirements for Church and School Volunteers and Staff
In order to assure the safety of our children, Saint Augustine Parish is dedicated to ensure that all clergy, educators, volunteers, parish and school staff are properly screened by evaluating each individual’s CORI (criminal offender record information).
1. One CORI must be completed by each staff member and volunteer each year.  Forms are available from ministry heads or at the parish office.
2. All are also required to sign the “Code of Ministerial Behavior” which must be on file with the Parish for each person active in Parish ministry.
3. And finally, each person must have attended the prevention and awareness training “Protecting God’s Children” and evidence must be on file with Parish.
4. For the convenience of our parishioners, the current CORI form is posted here. You may print it out and bring it to your ministry head or the parish office for verification.

Failure to meet these requirements puts our children and our parish at risk, so these requirements are proactively enforced.

Objective: The purpose of the team is to create a community of support within each parish or cluster for the prevention of child abuse and neglect.

The Child Abuse Prevention (CAP) Team at Saint Augustine Parish has completed training in a program called “Protecting God’s Children” – a program selected by the Archdiocese of Boston for educating parish adults on ways to prevent child abuse and create safe environments for children. The program consisted of classroom presentations, and printed and video-taped materials that focused on the prevention of abuse and the protection of children. Among other things, we were educated in ways to recognize the signs and symptoms that indicate a child is being abused or exploited in some way, environmental factors to be aware of in the physical space of the parish, how abusers operate, things parents can do to help educate their children about how to respond to inappropriate adult behavior toward them, and many other areas. We also received a presentation from the Department of Children & Families and the District Attorney’s Association on the responsibilities and procedures to follow when making a report of suspected child abuse.

Our responsibility as a CAP team is to train the staff, employees and volunteers in our parish, and to advocate for and be an ongoing resource to the parish community in child protection issues.

Members of the St. Augustine CAP Team
Duties and Responsibilities of the CAP Team
Protecting God’s Children (PGC) for Adults
Critical Contacts
Resources


CAP Team Members

Please feel free to contact any of the CAP team members with any questions or concerns you may have.

Fr. Peter Gori, Ex Officio
978-475-0050
John Barrett
978 475-7829
john@jrb-consulting.com
Mary Ferguson, Chairperson
978 475-2414
mferguson@staugustineandover.org
Bridget Rao
978 475-0050 x28
brao@staugustineparish.org
Patsy Hemeon
978 475-2414
phemeon@staugustineandover.org
Klara Vajda
978 475-0050 x37
klara@staugustineparish.org
Gregg Clements
978-828-3579
gregg@clementsandclements.com

New members are welcome.  Contact a team member for further information.


Duties and Responsibilities

  • Ensures that all parish staff and volunteers are fully trained in mandated reporting laws and the Protecting God’s Children program (VIRTUS).
  • Acts as a resource to the parish on issues of child abuse and neglect.
  • Responsible for training all new staff and volunteers in the parish.
  • Hosts a parishioner information night to explain its role and function.
  • Becomes a resource for feedback from the community on the effectiveness of the parish programs.
  • Provides consultation and support to anyone in the parish who has concerns about reporting child abuse/neglect.
  • Will be supported in its efforts by, and works in collaboration with, the Child Advocacy Office of the Archdiocese of Boston.

Protecting God’s Children (PGC) for Adults

The prevention and awareness training at the parish level for adults – called “Protecting God’s Children“, and administered by the Catholic Risk Retention Group under an umbrella called VIRTUS – consists of classroom presentations, printed materials and videotapes that will focus on the prevention of abuse and the protection of children.The program is designed particularly for those adults who have custodial care of children as part of their duties. Training in the signs and symptoms that indicate a child is being abused in some way, and how to talk with children about these issues will also be included, as will training in the responsibilities of mandated reporting and the Archdiocese of Boston’s policies and procedures for preventing child abuse. An on-line component called “VIRTUS On-Line” will provide continued training through monthly bulletins and annual recertification.

Resource material for PGC training
New mandated reporter’s Guide
Child Abuse and Neglect Brochure
Warning signs of child abuse and neglect
Department of children and families(Mass. Dept. of Health and Services)
Upcoming PGC training
Additonal information about VIRTUS “Protecting God’s Children” .

Touching Safety Program
The Archdiocese has launched several programs that focus on training children about personal safety and preventing abuse.

Talking About Touching” (Grades Pre K – 3) was created by the Committee for Children in Seattle and focuses on teaching children basic skills that will help keep them safe from dangerous or abusive situations, while supporting parents, educators and community members in responding effectively to suspected abuse. Click here for more information about this program.

“Keeping Children Safe” (Grades 4 – 8) is a program which combines “Kids and Company” from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and the Michigan Model for Comprehensive School Health Education.

The Archdiocese of Boston is currently working on refining two additional programs for children in Grades Pre K – 4.  Click here for more information.


Critical Contacts

For Suspicion of Child Abuse or Neglect

Mass Department of Children
and Families – Lowell Office
978-275-6800 M-F:  9-5
Mass Department of Children
and Families – Lawrence Office
978-557-2700 M-F:  9-5
Child at Risk Hotline 1-800-792-5200 24 Hours
Disabled Persons Hotline 1-800-426-9009
Rape Crisis Center of Greater Lowell 978-452-7721 M-F:  9-5
Rape Crisis Hotline 1-800-542-5212 24 Hours
Parents Anonymous 1-800-882-1250 24 Hours
Parental Stress Line 1-800-632-8188 24 Hours

Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston

Office of Child Advocacy Implementation and Oversight
Director: Maureen DiMilla
Staff: Jennifer Tausevich
617-746-5994
child_advocacy@rcab.org


Resources

Archdiocese of Boston – Office of Child Advocacy, Oversight and Implementation
Massachusetts Department of Children & Families
The National Risk Retention Group, Inc. Virtus Online