Implementing Child Safety Policies in the Diocese of Burlington
Fulfilling Our Promise to Protect
The Diocese of Burlington developed the Policies on Ethics and Integrity in Ministry to serve as the cornerstone of our efforts to protect the vulnerable individuals entrusted to our care. The Office of Safe Environment Programs was established to enforce the implementation of these policies promulgated by the bishop for the purposes of preventing abuse and building a strong culture of safety throughout the Diocese.
Policies Guide the Formation of Healthy Ministerial Relationships
The policies set clear standards that Church personnel (as defined in the policy) must follow to ensure that their behavior is moral and ethical as they interact with children and adults in their ministries. Those who serve in a ministerial role with the Church have a sacred obligation to ensure that their behavior is appropriate and that the relationships they form with children and adults are healthy, professional and safe. Relationships in ministry must be charitable at all times and absent of any intention to do harm or allow harm to occur. The policies help to guide the formation of relationships between Church personnel and those they serve, and they outline best practices for ensuring that these relationships are sincere, genuine and respectful.
Policies Follow Child Safety Best Practices
The policies extensively cover the diocesan child safety guidelines relating abuse prevention and proper procedures for reporting any incidents, allegations or concerns. To prevent abuse in our parishes and Catholic schools, the policies outline specific guidelines for working with minors to ensure that all interactions with Church personnel and youth are safe and in alignment with Church teaching about the dignity of the human person. The policies also include the background screening and safe environment training requirements all Church personnel must fulfill to work with minors in the diocese. To ensure an effective response to suspicions or known cases of child abuse or neglect, the policies provide the correct procedure for making a report to the proper authorities. Our policies demonstrate our commitment to follow Vermont law as it relates to defining and reporting child abuse and neglect.
The Codes of Conduct Define Specific Behavioral Standards
The Policies on Ethics and Integrity in Ministry also includes two Codes of Conduct. One Code of Conduct is intended for Church personnel who work with minors; the other Code of Conduct is intended for Church personnel who do not work with minors. The Codes of Conduct outline specific behavioral expectations that Church personnel must agree to follow while serving in their ministries.
The Policies on Ethics and Integrity in Ministry and the two Codes of Conduct are integrated into the Safe and Sacred training program for adults. These documents are a required step in the training process and are renewed with the completion of a new course.
All Church personnel are asked to carefully review the Policies on Ethics and Integrity in Ministry and consider each standard in the Code of Conduct before engaging in their ministerial role(s) in service to the Diocese.
Applying Our Policies in Each Vermont Parish and Catholic School
To ensure all guidelines and policies are followed, each parish and Catholic school in the Diocese has a dedicated Safe Environment coordinator who focuses on implementing diocesan child safety policies and following the standards of the Charter. To learn who is the Safe Environment coordinator at your location, please contact your local parish or Catholic school.