ROCKVILLE CENTRE, NEW YORK, October 15, 2009 – The Diocese of Rockville Centre announced that it has been found to be fully compliant with all elements of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People. The Gavin Group, an outside auditor, conducted an audit of the diocese and its parishes to determine compliance with the Charter.
The Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People is a comprehensive set of procedures established by the USCCB in June 2002 for addressing allegations of sexual abuse of minors by Catholic clergy. The Charter also includes guidelines for reconciliation, healing, accountability, and prevention of future acts of abuse.
"We are working everyday to make sure that children and young people are safe in our schools, parishes and agencies,” said "We are working everyday to make sure that children and young people are safe in our schools, parishes and agencies,” said Eileen F. Puglisi, director, Office for the Protection of Children and Young People, Diocese of Rockville Centre. “Our safety actions include background screening for all staff and volunteers; codes of conduct, monitoring, responding to inappropriate behavior, policy violations and reports of child abuse and, lastly, child abuse awareness and prevention training. All of these ingredients contribute to keeping our youngsters safe."
The diocese conducts safe environment programs in its schools and religious education programs that are age appropriate. The Virtus program continues to be the major vehicle by which employees and volunteers are trained to recognize the signs and symptoms of abuse and instructs them on how to act to keep children safe. Background checks are mandatory for anyone who volunteers or is employed by any entity of the Diocese of Rockville Centre. Over 84,000 persons have completed the Virtus program including bishops, priests, deacons, those who deal with young people and those are who are involved in pastoral ministry of any sort.
Additionally, the diocese continues several successful programs such as The Keeping Fuzzie Safe program and the Talk 2 Us program to help children know how to identify and handle situations that might be threatening to them. The Office of Protection of Children and Young People also publishes periodically, a newsletter entitled Because We Care, which has a circulation of 60,000 readers.
For further information about The Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, please visit http://www.drvc.org/efforts-to-protect-children-and-young-people/efforts-to-protect-children-and-young-people.html.
About The Diocese of Rockville Centre
The Diocese of Rockville Centre (www.drvc.org) was formed in 1957 and covers 1,198 square miles in Nassau and Suffolk Counties. The diocese serves approximately 1.5 million Catholics (total population in both counties is approximately 3.4 million). There are 133 parishes in 115 towns. Last year over 17,000 baptisms, 19,000 confirmations, 17,000 first communions and 3,000 marriages took place in the diocese. There are approximately 20,000 students in Catholic elementary schools; 13,000 in secondary schools and 3,500 in higher institutions. There are 69 Catholic elementary and high schools and one Catholic college in the diocese. Catholic Health Services of Long Island consists of five hospitals, three nursing homes, a community-based home for those with special needs and a hospice. Last year, Catholic Charities assisted more than 88,000 individuals who are poor, vulnerable and disadvantaged on Long Island. (12/08).
CONTACT: Sean P. Dolan
Director of Communications
(p) 516-678-5800, ext. 625