Efforts to Protect Children and Young People

The Office for the Protection of Children and Young People (OFPCYP) for the Diocese of Rockville Centre was established in 2003 in response to the document published by The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops: The Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.

With the issuance of the Charter, the Bishops of the United States established standards that were to be implemented in every diocese throughout the country to insure that the most vulnerable would be safe in our Church.

The Charter outlines three distinct goals.
1. To Promote Healing.
2. Guarantee a Response.
3. Protection in the Future.

Each goal has measurable objectives, so that at any point in the year, we can assess if we are meeting the goals and determine what areas may require improvement. Annually, each parish is required to submit a report to the Office for the Protection of Children and Young People outlining their response to the requirements of the Charter. The Diocese participates in an annual audit measuring Diocesan compliance with the charter for the Protection of Children and Young People. The audit is conducted by an independent auditing firm, Stonebridge Business Partners.

1. Outreach to those who have been victims of clergy sexual abuse:
The Office for the Protection of Children and Young People hosts a confidential hotline:
Calls are returned the next business day by a licensed mental health professional. Outreach to survivors of clergy abuse may take the form of referrals to counseling, spiritual counseling, meetings with families. Reports of all allegations are reported to the proper authorities depending on the county in which the alleged abuse occurred. We strongly encourage all those who make an allegation of abuse to file reports with the proper civil authorities and to cooperate with any investigations.

2. Guarantee a Response:
“All allegations are reported to the appropriate District Attorney. Victims of abuse are advised to file a report and cooperate with officials. The accused is immediately removed from ministry and an investigation of the allegations is initiated in accord with canon law. During the investigative period the accused is presumed innocent and all appropriate steps are taken to protect his reputation. If the accusation is unfounded, all steps are taken to restore his good name. If the accusation is substantiated the accused is permanently removed from ministry and if warranted dismissed from the clerical state.” (Article 5)

3. Protect the Faithful in the Future:
This goal of the Charter requires three distinct, but related, courses of action.
A. Education: Dioceses are to provide safe environment training to “children, youth, parents, ministers, educators, volunteers.” (Article 12)
B. Background Screening : Dioceses are to evaluate the background of ‘all incardinated and nonincardinated priests, deacons and candidates for ordination; parish/school paid personnel and volunteers.” (Article 13)
C. Codes of Conduct: Dioceses are to make available “clear and well publicized standards of ministerial behavior for clergy, deacons, and other church personnel.”

To achieve these objectives, the Diocese of Rockville Centre requires all clergy, employees and volunteers to:
Participation in Virtus: Protecting God’s Children program
Undergo a Background screening
Sign a Code of Conduct

The Diocese offers workshops for clergy to assist them in living out their vocation in faithful ways; workshops for parents on parenting issues in the digital age; workshops on boundary issues in ministry.