In 2002, the Bishops of the United States drafted the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People in response to the crisis of child abuse within the Church.
The Charter establishes norms for responding to allegations, promotes healing and reconciliation with victims and calls for the creation of safe environment programs in dioceses throughout the US.
To implement the Charter, the Diocese of Fort Wayne – South Bend has adopted the following policy:
It is the policy of the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend that all diocesan priests, deacons and other personnel, lay and religious, paid and volunteer, must adhere to the diocese’s Practical Guidelines for Conduct When Interacting With a Child or Young Person.
All must report any suspected incident of the physical, mental, or sexual abuse or neglect of a child or young person to appropriate civil and diocesan authorities consistent with the Diocesan Guidelines on Reporting Incidents of Child Abuse or Neglect. All priests, deacons and other personnel, employee and volunteer, are subject to and obligated by this policy.
As a part of the Diocese of Fort Wayne – South Bend, Saint Joseph Parish, Hessen Cassel – including its school, religious education program and all of its ministries – is absolutely committed to providing a safe environment for those children entrusted to our care by their parents / guardians. We believe that this is our solemn and sacred responsibility.
Without exception, all employees and volunteers of Saint Joseph Parish who have any contact with children or young people are required to have criminal background checks as well as are obligated to participate in the Diocesan Safe Environment Education Program. Participation in this Program is meant not only to protect our children and young people from neglect and abuse, but also to provide a layer of protection against the possibility of false accusations against those involved in our parish school and ministries.
Please note: anyone who is unwilling to participate in the Diocesan Safe Environment Program will not be allowed to participate in any program or ministry in Saint Joseph Parish which involves children or youth.
For more information on the Diocese of Fort Wayne – South Bend Safe Environment Program including policies for employees and volunteers as well as education procedures for adults and children please go to:
TO REPORT A SUSPECTED CASE OF ABUSE OF A CHILD OR A YOUNG PERSON please go to: