In 2003, The Office of Child and Youth Protection for the Diocese of Raleigh was created. The Office works to empower parishes, schools, families, and individuals to create and foster safe and healthy environments for children and youth.
Guided by the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People (USCCB, 2002), the Office of Child and Youth Protection sought to augment safeguards had been in place since 1993 to ensure the safety of children in the Diocese of Raleigh.
- Criminal background checks were expanded beyond clergy, seminarians and some employees to include all employees and volunteers leadership of ministry with children.
- Since 2003, over 21,000 criminal background screenings have been completed. In cooperation with Prevent Child Abuse North Carolina, a “safe environment” program was implemented to help personnel recognized and report child abuse and neglect.
- Since 2003, over 23,000 people in the Diocese of Raleigh have participated in training on how to recognize and report child abuse and neglect.
- The safe environment program provides educational materials to for families, teachers and parents.
- The Charter gave new focus to the Diocese of Raleigh Review Board which was established in 1998. This board ensures that all allegations of the sexual abuse of a minor are reported to law enforcement and that all who come forward to report abuse are offered both assistance toward healing and a meeting with the Bishop.
- The Diocesan Code of Professional Responsibility (1998) was re-written as the Code of Conduct for Church Personnel of the Diocese of Raleigh. All personnel, all who work and “represent the Church by virtue of office, designated position, employment or contract” share high expectations for conduct and respect for those entrusted to our care.
- A network of local “safe environment teams” exists across the Diocese to help local parishes and ministries remain diligent in our efforts to be a safe and sacred place for children to grow in age and wisdom.
- The Diocese of Raleigh has participated in and passed an annual audit for compliance with the Charter by an independent firm contracted by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) since its inception.
The Diocese of Raleigh strives to support those who have been hurt by abuse, ensure that abuse is reported promptly and educates the community in the hope that abuse will be stopped. Everything we do as church reflects our commitment to respect life in all situations by providing a secure sacred space that safeguards and promotes human dignity, by fostering the development of each individual, and by creating and maintaining a safe and healthy environment for all who are seeking an experience of the holy presence of God.