“Providing a safe environment for children, youth, and vulnerable adults.”
About Safeguard the Children
Safeguard the Children is a comprehensive program designed to promote a safe environment for children, youth and vulnerable adults and prevent child sexual abuse. The program was initiated in all dioceses in the United States at the direction of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). There is a Safeguard the Children (STC) Committee in each parish which helps to implement the objectives of the USCCB “Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People”. The Los Angeles Archdiocese has produced an informative brochure entitled “Working Together” that provides resources on how to prevent abuse and provides information on reporting child abuse.
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops “Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.”
Reporting Child Abuse
It is important that everyone report suspected child abuse. The truth is that our first inclination is to not get involved, but if you fail to act, that is all it takes for abuse or neglect to continue. If you ever come across suspected abuse, we urge you to call the Los Angeles County Child Protection Hotline at (800) 540-4000. The hotline is operated twenty-four hours, around the clock, seven days a week. You don’t need to know that child abuse or neglect is taking place, you are welcome to report your suspicions and consult with a social worker if you are not clear whether what you are witnessing or have learned of is abuse. Depending on your profession, you might even be legally obligated to report suspected child abuse and neglect, a so-called “mandated reporter.” But if you are not a mandated reporter, you can even make your report anonymously. Please see this article from the Safeguard the Children Committee Chair entitled “What Can I Do To Prevent Child Abuse” that appeared as an insert in the Holy Family School Guild Gazette in May 2012 as part of Child Abuse Prevention Month. What Can I Do To Prevent Child Abuse
Priests, deacons, school faculty and administrators and other staff members in our parishes and schools have been designated as mandated reporters under California law. When one of these persons receives information leading to a “reasonable suspicion” that a child is being abused or neglected, he or she must make a report to the appropriate child protection or law enforcement agency. For more information on Responding to an Allegation of Suspected Child Abuse: www.la-archdiocese.org/org/protecting/vam. If you are being abused, have been abused, or know someone who is being abused, you can call Victims Assistance Ministry at: 800.355.2545 for assistance to make a report. You may also seek help directly by contacting one of the Child Protective Services or one of the Law Enforcement Agencies listed below. In an emergency call 911.
Los Angeles County:
LA County Child Abuse Hotline: 800.540.4000
Investigative Control Unit for All Child Abuse Reports: 213.486.0530 Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department:
Special Victims Bureau (24 hours) 562.946.8531
To speak to a detective 562.946.7960
District Attorney’s Office:
Sexual Crimes Division 213.974.9790
Family Violence Division 213.974.3785
For callers residing outside the State of California who wish to contact Child Protective Services in Los Angeles: 213.639.4500
Safeguard the Children Committee
Holy Family has an active STC Committee chaired by a parishioner. Other members include the Director of Religious Education, the school principal,the Director of Operations, the Pastoral Care Director, the Director of Faith Formation, the Director of Youth Ministry and the Parish Life Director. The Director of the Sunday Preschool and two or more other volunteers complete the group. Meetings are held quarterly or more often as needed.
Minutes from 12.5.11Holy Family Safeguard the Children Committee Meeting December 2012 (2)
Minutes from 10-17-12Holy Family Safeguard the Children Committee Minutes October 2012
Minutes from 2-28-13Holy Family Safeguard the Children Committee Minutes February 28-13
Minutes from 12-10-13 Holy Family Safeguard the Children Committee Minutes December 10, 2013
Minutes from 2-9-14 Holy Family Safeguard the Children Committee Minutes February 9, 2014
Minutes from 11-19-14 Holy Family Safeguard the Children Committee Minutes November 19. 2014
Minutes from 1-20-15 Holy Family Safeguard the Children Committee Minutes January 20, 2015
Minutes from 4-19-15 Holy Family Safeguard the Children Committee Minutes April 19. 2015
Minutes from 4-12-16 Holy Family Safeguard the Children Committee Minutes April 19. 2015
Minutes from 8-18-16 Holy Family Safeguard the Children Committee Minutes April 19. 2015
- To provide education and mandated training for all staff and volunteers to promote a heightened awareness of their role and responsibility regarding the safety of children, youth and vulnerable adults.
- To provide training to all children in the school and Religious Education Programs to help them know how to help them know how to respect their bodies, trust their self-protective instincts and learn when and how to seek adult help.
- To provide an annual parish-wide educational event during Child Abuse Prevention Month in April.
- To perform an annual self-assessment of the compliance of the parish to the regulations of the Safeguard the Children Program of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.
Requirements for Parish Clergy, Staff and Volunteers
- In accord with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, the Holy Family parish leadership and Safeguard the Children Committee have developed Policies and Procedures for all volunteers at Holy Family.
- All Holy Family volunteers must read and agree to follow the “Guidelines for Adults Interacting with Minors at Parish or Parish School Activities or Events.”
- All minors volunteering at Holy Family must read and agree to follow the “Boundary Guidelines For Junior High and High School Youth Working or Volunteering with Children or Youth.“
- All volunteers who work with or around children in any way are required to attend a VIRTUS session, “Protecting God’s Children” adult awareness training session.
- Anyone who supervises or is perceived to supervise children in any way is required to submit to a background check in the form of fingerprinting by the Los Angeles Archdiocese. Sign up for free archdiocesan LiveScan fingerprinting or sources for local LiveScan locations. To have your fingerprinting done at one of the LiveScan locations, please print this LIVE SCAN Request form, and take it with with you to your appointment.
- All Holy Family School and Religious Education students will take part annually in the ”Teaching Touching Safety” or other approved safe environment education program.
Volunteer Ministry Opportunities
The Safeguard the Children committee chair welcomes inquiries from parishioners with backgrounds in social services, law enforcement, education, child health or legal issues who are interested in joining the committee.
- To register for a “Protecting God’s Children” adult awareness training session
- “Why Am I Here and What Is My Role in Protecting Children?” A handout for participants describing the background of the Protecting God’s Children program and the prescribed role for adults in the faith community.
- Information on a broad variety of topics related to child abuse and child safety.
Policies and activities of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles in “Protecting Our Children” and click on “Protecting Our Children”
- General Policies on Safe Environment Training
- Guidelines for Adults Interacting with Minors at Parish or School Activities or Events
- Boundary Guidelines for Junior High and High School Youth Working or Volunteering with Children or Youth
- Responding to the Problem
Safeguard the Children was established to create a safe environment for children, youth and vulnerable adults in the parish community.
Safeguard the Children Committee Chair