PROTECTING GOD'S CHILDREN
SEXUAL ABUSE AWARENESS SESSIONS
(Scroll down for the schedule of PGC sessions.)
(Revised July, 2013)
Implementation of Safe Environment Training
Although the Diocese of Beaumont had been providing child sexual abuse awareness training for adults throughout the previous decade and more, it began a more focused and regular program in October, 2003. At that time the Diocese contracted with VIRTUS® for its PROTECTING GOD’S CHILDREN Program for adults.
The PROTECTING GOD'S CHILDREN (PGC) Program educates and trains adults (clergy, religious, teachers, employees, volunteers, and parents) about the dangers of abuse, the warning signs of abuse, the ways to prevent abuse, the methods of properly reporting suspicions of abuse, and responding to allegations of abuse.
Phase 1: (Training of Adults)
Oct. 27-28, 2003: A VIRTUS® representative trained a selected group of individuals to be certified facilitators of the PGC Program on the local level. On Oct. 28-29, 2003, the VIRTUS® representative conducted two PGC training sessions for clergy, parish, school, diocesan, and Catholic Charities personnel. During the following year, participants received from VIRTUS® their bi-weekly on-line training bulletins to supplement the PGC seminar.
Beginning Feb. 2004, local certified facilitators began presenting the PROTECTING GOD’S CHILDREN training sessions throughout the diocese for employees, catechists, volunteers, parents, teachers, clergy, and other interested adults. Through Nov. 14, 2004, sixty-six (66) adult training sessions had been conducted.
Beginning Oct., 2004, training specifically for parents/guardians and other adults was being provided in the East Texas Catholic and on the diocesan website, both on the Safe Environment pages. These training articles are designed to provide parents/guardians with more specific language and other tools to help them address personal safety with their children and youth.
Phase 3: (Training of children & youth)
Although in the year 2000, the Catholic Elementary Schools' Counselor started providing sessions on bullying/teasing and anger management for grades K-8 and sexual harassment sessions for grades 7-8, a more formal sexual abuse awareness & prevention program was implemented in Nov., 2004. To grades 1-3, a "For Pete's Sake-Tell" lesson/video was presented to teach Okay and not-Okay touches. A "Tricky People" lesson/video was presented to grades 4-6 to teach personal safety and the tricks & lures used against children.
In the Fall of 2005, the parish religious education classes began utilizing the two above-mentioned programs for the same grade levels; however, they were interrupted for many months by Hurricane Rita which struck the Diocese on Sept. 24, 2005. Some parishes were not able to resume classes at all this pastoral year due to damaged facilities.
In the Spring of 2006, our Catholic Schools and most parish religious education classes (grades 7-12), began utilizing the program/video "Breaking the Silence" (produced by the Diocese of Orange, CA). This program helps teens to recognize the grooming techniques used by abusers, inappropriate adult behavior, and the widespread myths about sexual abuse. It also encourages reporting sexual abuse to authorities.
Supplementing the above, the pamphlet "Keeping Kids Safe" was distributed to the parents of Catholic school and parish religious education students for use in follow-up parent discussions with their children.
During the fiscal year ending June 30, 2006, 4,689 parish religious education students and 1,397 Catholic School students had received safe environment training.
Beginning School Year 2006-2007:
In the Diocese of Beaumont Catholic schools, the sexual abuse prevention program was modified as follows: Grades 1 & 2: "For Pete's Sake, Tell"; Grades 3 & 4: "Can't Fool Me!"; Grades 5 & 6: "Tricky People"; and new for Grades 7 & 8: "Called to Protect-for Youth". "Called to Protect-for Youth" by Praesidium teaches middle and high-school children about boundaries, how to respond if someone tries to violate their boundaries, and how to tell their parents if they or their friend have been abused. This same new program will also be utilized at Msgr. Kelly Catholic High School.
During the fiscal year ending June 30, 2007, 5,491 parish religious education students and 1,025 Catholic School students had received safe environment training.
Children & Youth:
Every year in the Fall, age-appropriate safe environment training is provided to students in parish religious education classes and in Catholic schools at designated grade levels as they advance through the grades. The training schedule and programs have been modified slightly, with some new alternatives provided (e.g. the "Learning about Life" program). In the Fall of 2011, parishes and schools were provided two new training resources/DVD's (produced by the Diocese of St. Cloud): "Strong Voices-Smart Choices: How to Honor Your Instinct to Stay Safe" for grades 1-5 and "Personal Power: A Gut Check on Safety" for grades 6-8.
By the end of June, 2012, 32,925 children and youth have received safe environment training in parish religious education programs and in Catholic schools since Nov., 2004.
To address new areas of concern, Virtus® updated its "Protecting God's Children Program" for adults to include technology and Internet safety, and this revised PGC program has been presented throughout the Diocese of Beaumont since January, 2010.
By the end of June, 2013, 388 "Protecting God's Children" training sessions for adults have been conducted throughout the diocese since the program was implemented in Oct., 2003, and 7,052 adults have been trained in those sessions.
Who Must Attend the "Protecting God's Children" Training for Adults?
[Note: Because of the nature and purpose of this training, attendees are to be 18 years old or older.]
Attendance at a "Protecting God's Children" (PGC) session is required for ALL full-time and part-time employees in parishes, Catholic schools, diocesan offices & programs, and for ALL clergy (priests and deacons with faculties of the diocese or who minister in the diocese), as well as seminarians and candidates for the permanent diaconate. Part-time employees also include substitute teachers in schools, those working with Vacation Bible School, and those working in summer youth programs (e.g. Youth Convention, youth camp).
The only ones exempted from this training are employees who work less than 10 hours per week AND have no access to children or youth. The part-time employee has to meet BOTH of these criteria in order to qualify for the exemption.
In general, those volunteers who have regular access to children and youth at least 10 times per year must attend a PGC training session. Other volunteers who must attend the training include those conducting Teen ACTS Retreats, chaperones for the Diocesan Youth Convention or Youth Camp, those assisting with Vacation Bible School, and those who volunteer with similar activities that have concentrated access to children or youth or that involve overnight stays.
Other adults may attend, especially if they foresee volunteering in the future in a ministry that will involve access to children and youth. Parents and other adults are welcome and encouraged to attend.
When must employees and volunteers attend the PGC training?
Those employees and volunteers who are required to attend must do so within 60 days of their employment date or beginning their volunteer service. Those who procrastinate in fulfilling this requirement may not be allowed access to children and youth until they complete the training.
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2013-2014 Schedule of Sessions
For anyone age 18 or older who has not already attended
Sessions in English
Please pre-register for the session at least 5 days in advance of the scheduled date, at the phone number provided. Sessions last approximately three hours. Thanks.
(Revised November 14, 2013)