The Archdiocese of Philadelphia this week launched a Mandatory Reporter Training program to increase the understanding among more than 24,000 clergy, employees, parish and school staff, coaches and volunteers regarding their role and responsibility in the mandated reporting of child abuse under the Pennsylvania Child Protective Services Law (CPSL).
CPSL defines any person who comes into regular contact with children in the course of his or her employment, occupation or professional practice must be considered a mandated reporter. CPSL does not require training for mandated reporters, nor does it define “regular contact.”
The Archdiocese recognizes that those working on its behalf have a legal and moral responsibility to play a role in creating a network of prevention and protection for children. Therefore, the Archdiocese has instructed that all employees and volunteers who come into contact with children at least once a week undergo the Mandatory Reporter Training program.
The training will be conducted by the Bucks County-based Network of Victim Assistance (NOVA) and hosted by the archdiocesan Office for Child and Youth Protection.
The curriculum, which has been independently evaluated and meets the standards for a variety of professional credentialing programs, includes: discussion of indicators of child abuse; definitions of child abuse and neglect; and a review of mandated reporting obligations, including how to make a report; information regarding civil and criminal liability for those who report; and the criminal consequences for failing to report child abuse.
“We remain dedicated to the goal of promoting awareness regarding the safety of children,” said Leslie Davila, director of the archdiocesan Office for Child and Youth Protection. “In that vein, we are committed to the work of hosting the Mandatory Reporter Training program provided by the Network of Victim of Assistance and are working tirelessly to ensure that mandated reporters in the Archdiocese will benefit from this training.”
The Mandatory Reporter Training program will be implemented through a series of 90 separate trainings held in nearly 40 different locations throughout the Archdiocese, starting June 27 and ending in November 2011.
Any employee or volunteer designated as a mandatory reporter who does not complete the required training will not be able to work on behalf of the Archdiocese.
“This training represents a fundamental shift within society for the child being responsible for stopping and reporting the abuse they suffered to adult bystanders identifying their role and responsibility in child abuse intervention,” said Mary Achilles, victim services consultant for the Archdiocese.
Last weekend, the Mandatory Reporter Training program was the focus of a bulletin insert distributed to all 268 parishes and published on the archdiocesan web site (www.archphila.org).
The bulletin was the fourth in a periodic series that provides information to parishioners about action steps the Archdiocese has taken to advance the protection of children, assist victims and ensure the integrity of the priesthood. To read the document visit http://bit.ly/AOPBulletin4.