WASHINGTON – New regulations issued May 15 by the bishops allow parents to remove their children from diocesan-sponsored training programs in child sex abuse prevention.
Under the new regulations adopted by the bishops’ Administrative Committee, dioceses and eparchies are still required to provide the safe environment programs. Parents, however, can choose not to have their children participate. In such cases, the parents are to be offered training materials and asked to sign a form attesting to their decision not to have their children participate. If parents do not sign the form, a church administrator is to file a form noting the opt-out decision.
The Administrative Committee, at its March 16 meeting, accepted the opt-out recommendation, which was supported by the National Review Board, the bishops’ Committee for the Protection of Children and Young People and the bishops’ Office of Child and Youth Protection.
The decision was announced May 15 and posted on the USCCB Web site as part of new regulations for future annual compliance audits. The audits are a way of checking to see if dioceses and eparchies are implementing the sex abuse prevention policies contained in the bishops’ “Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.”
The Web site contained a statement by the bishops’ Committee for the Protection of Children and Young People noting the “reluctance from some parents who object to the church providing such training. The committee understands this concern.”
The major focus here is on verifying that a program exists, and that the diocese/eparchy is doing what is humanly possible to educate children and adults in safe environments,” said the new regulations.