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Safe environment audit finds compliance, no exceptions

By Kyle Eller
The Northern Cross

Like most dioceses, the Diocese of Duluth has an annual independent audit of its safe environment practices to ensure it is meeting its commitments under the Charter For the Protection of Children and Young People. Those requirements include things like background checks and safety training for clergy, staff and volunteers and providing safety training for children and young people in parishes and schools.

In November, the Duluth diocese learned it had met all the requirements for the 2015-16 audit period, with no exceptions — for instance, suggested area of improvement.

Bishop Paul Sirba welcomed the results and the good work they represent from many people across the church.

“We remain committed to making our parishes and schools the safest places for children,” he said. “The audit results show we continue to act on that commitment.”

Ernie Stauffenecker, who directs the safe environment program for the diocese, said the results are part of an encouraging overall picture.

“The successful audit, along with implementing a new children’s safety program, Circle of Grace, in our parishes and schools and training for adults that emphasizes expected behaviors in the past year, are all good signs that we are making progress in creating a culture of safety in our parishes and schools,” he said.

He expressed personal gratitude to pastors, catechetical leaders and safe environment coordinators for the work they do in creating that culture of safety.