Youth protection

Independent audit of Boston child protection shows tremendous progress

.- The Archdiocese of Boston announced yesterday that the results of a full and independent audit of the archdiocese regarding its compliance with the provisions of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People are now available.

The charter is the child protection policy adopted by the U.S. bishops in 2002 in the wake of the sex abuse scandal in U.S. dioceses.

The audit was conducted by The Gavin Group, an independent firm retained by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. It evaluated the archdiocese’s efforts to satisfy requirements relating to effective reporting and responses to allegations of sexual abuse, promoting healing and reconciliation with survivors and those harmed by clergy sexual abuse, ensuring that priests, deacons, educators, volunteers and other personnel are properly screened.

Boston was one of 11 U.S. dioceses to participate in a full review of its policies and practices. As part of the audit, The Gavin Group also selected 30 parishes of the archdiocese and conducted on-site audits.

As of the conclusion of the audit period, June 30, 2006, the Archdiocese had achieved compliance in 12 of the 13 audited articles of the charter. The archdiocese took remedial action to bring it into compliance in all categories by December 31, 2006.

Of the 30 audited parishes, eight still have not fully satisfied one component of the charter, which requires implementation of safe-environment programs for children in religious-education programs and training adults who work with children.

The archdiocese’s Office of Child Advocacy, Implementation and Oversight is currently conducting outreach to support parishes as they work to complete the training programs.

“Our continuing efforts to protect children have resulted in significant progress,” said Cardinal Sean O’Malley in a statement. “While much has been achieved, I recognize that work must continue to be done in order to maintain safe environments in both our churches and schools. Protecting our children and preventing sexual abuse remains paramount and we will continue to work diligently as we strive to ensure our children’s safety.”

The archdiocese reports that more than 177,000 children in parishes and schools have been trained in the various aspects of safe environments, personal safety and abuse prevention. As well, more than 164,000 clergy, employees, volunteers, who work with children, and parents also have received safe-environment training and materials.

It is expected that the USCCB will release its 2006 audit results this week.

The Gavin Group report is available at:

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