The Archdiocese of Cincinnati has issued a new version of its Decree on Child Protection that applies to all its parishes, schools, agencies and institutions. Originally called the Decree on Child Abuse, it started in 1993 and it's revised every five years, the last time being in 2008. Tom Coz is the Safe Environment Coordinator for Children and Youth. His main job is to enforce and interpret the decree:
"I think it's extremely effective. We have caught many persons, who might otherwise have had contact with children, through either the background check process or through the child protection training process because someone has noticed something or made a report."
The changes this year were not as extensive as previous years, mainly making certain parts of the Decree clearer or more specific. Here's the list:
- The addition of definitions for the terms “child pornography” and “civil authorities” in the glossary at the beginning of the Decree.
- A new definition of the term “regular volunteer” because the old one was often misunderstood or unclear.
- A new title, Coordinator of Ministry to Survivors of Abuse, has replaced the term Victims Assistance Coordinator to more accurately describe the position.
- The long-held policy of requiring at least two adults to be present with children participating in a Church-sponsored activity was refined to be more specific.
- The policy regarding the transportation of children was also made more specific.
The Archdiocese says 90,825 employees and volunteers have been trained in the provisions of the Decree. Since 2003, 83,270 adults have had criminal background checks, including 60,047 currently working with children.