For the seventh consecutive year the Archdiocese of New York was found to be in full compliance with the Bishop’s Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, created in 2002, in response to the grave problem of child sexual abuse in Catholic institutions.  The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops released their annual summary earlier this week.

The situation in the Archdiocese of New York details how we have continued to ensure a safe environment for our young people.  Since 2003, the Archdiocese has completed a total of 87,926 background checks on clergy, employees, and volunteers, including 7,588 for the most recent calendar year of 2011. Additionally, during the same time period 78,893 people have received safe environment training – more than 7800 in the past year — and 157,479 school children received age appropriate safety training in the 2010-2011 school year.

The Child Protection Policies require that all those who are in regular contact with minors must: complete the screening process, including a background check; abide by the Safe Environment Policies, the Policy Relating to Sexual Misconduct, and the Code of Conduct; and complete Safe Environment Training appropriate to their position. If any person is not in compliance with these requirements, they may not work or volunteer with minors.   Since the child protection policies have been implemented, 52 people have been excluded from working with minors due to negative results of background checks or failing to comply with training or background check requirements.

The audit is undertaken by outside auditors under the supervision of the independent National Review Board established by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

The Safe Environment Program of the Archdiocese was established to implement Articles 12 and 13 of the Charter.  Article 12 mandates the establishment of programs to train staff in “ways to make and maintain a safe environment for children and young people”, and to publicize “the standards of conduct for clergy and other persons in positions of trust with regard to children”.  Article 13 requires that the Archdiocese evaluate the background of all clergy and of all those whose duties include ongoing, unsupervised contact with minors.