KANSAS CITY — The Department of Child and Youth Protection of the Diocese of Kansas City ~ St. Joseph has announced information sessions at six locations in Clay County. The forums are one element of an agreement between Clay County Prosecuting Attorney Daniel Lee White and Bishop Robert Finn.
“The Department of Child and Youth Protection is committed said Carrie Cooper, Director of Child and Youth Protection. “Our team is working diligently to establish policy and procedure, and every parishioner in the diocese has an important role. We’re ready to spread the message of our safe environment, what it means to parishioners, and how they play a role in maintaining a culture of compliance in our parishes and schools,” she said.
Clay County parishioners may attend any of the following sessions, which will begin or end with Mass celebrated by Bishop Finn:
• Saturday January 7, information session at 3 p.m., Mass at 5 p.m., St. Charles Borromeo Parish, 900 NE Shady Lane Drive, Kansas City
• Saturday, January 14, information session at 3 p.m., Mass at 5 p.m., St. James Parish, 309 South Stewart Road, Liberty
• Saturday, February 4, Mass at 4 p.m., information session at 5 p.m., St. Patrick Parish, 1357 NE 42nd Terrace, Kansas City
• Saturday, February 11, information session at 3 p.m., Mass at 5 p.m., Church of the Good Shepherd, 18601 North 169 Highway, Smithville
• Saturday, February 18, Mass at 5 p.m., information session at 6 p.m., Church of the Annunciation, 701 North Jefferson, Kearney
• Saturday, March 3, information session at 3 p.m., Mass at 5 p.m., St. Gabriel the Archangel Parish, 4737 North Cleveland, Kansas City
The Department of Child and Youth Protection oversees safe environment education, reports and investigations, and services for victims of abuse. In addition to the Director, the team includes an Ombudsman, a Coordinator of Safe Environment Education, and a Victims’ Advocate charged with:
• delivering community education programs to all adults who interact with children in parish, school and diocesan programs;
• assuring that all clergy, employees and volunteers are compliant with ongoing safe environment continuing education;
• ensuring that all clergy, employees and volunteers are background screened;
• overseeing age-appropriate personal safety education for children in parish, school and diocesan programs;
• receiving and investigating reports of suspicious or inappropriate behavior and sexual misconduct;
• referring all suspicions of abuse and neglect to law enforcement; and,
• coordinating the outreach to and services for victims of abuse.
“I encourage everyone to attend one of these sessions,” said Bishop Finn. “They promise to be a stimulus to be ever vigilant and to do all we can to make our Church a safe haven, where parents know that their children will feel safe and be safe.”