Over 100 Safeguarding Children Parish Representatives from the 53 parishes in Kerry attended a ceremony in Killarney where the new Diocese of Kerry Safeguarding Children Standards and Guidance Document was launched by Bishop Bill Murphy.
The booklet is a further tool in assisting the Safeguarding Children Parish Representatives in their role. The representatives were commissioned last year following training carried out by Bridie Cronin and Fred Garvey. Safeguarding is a proactive process and involves putting in place systems and processes to prevent any harm happening to children.
The new booklet on Safeguarding Children in the Diocese of Kerry gives the required level of detail on best practice and outlines clearly the policies and procedures to be followed in the Diocese of Kerry
The guest speaker was Sr. Colette Stevenson, Director of Professional Standards for the National Board for Safeguarding Children. She talked about current best practice in relation to safeguarding in the church.
What has been happening to date in Kerry Diocese?
Safeguarding Children Representatives have been working in parishes across the Diocese of Kerry for up to three years now depending on when they completed their training. Their role includes:
(a ) raising awareness through facilitating information sessions for leaders of Church based organisations and for parents of children involved
(b) drawing up policies, procedures and codes of conduct for adults working with children and for children
(c) disseminating information on “Safeguarding Children – Standards and Guidance Document for the Catholic Church in Ireland” the National Document
(d) ensuring the well-being and safety of children involved by having appropriate levels of supervision and insurance
(e) ensuring that the contact details of the Designated Officer, the H.S.E. and the Gardaí are widely publicised
(f) facilitating anyone who has a concern or needs pastoral care
An audit of this work of Safeguarding Children in the Diocese of Kerry has just been completed. The following are the results:
1. All 53 parishes have policies, procedures, codes of conduct for adults working with children and codes of conduct for children including an anti-bullying policy in place
2. Safeguarding Children posters are on display in all churches and parish buildings throughout the Diocese.
3. Brochures on Safeguarding Children have been distributed to parents of children involved in church based organisations and these brochures are also available in churches across the Diocese.
4. There are strict recruitment procedures in force for recruiting personnel for all Church organisations in every parish. All personnel being recruited either paid or voluntary are required to fill in an application form, a declaration form, provide the names of two referees , provide I.D. and be Garda vetted.
5. All clergy in active ministry, sacristans, parish safeguarding children representatives and leaders of all church organisations are currently being Garda vetted.
6. Clergy in parishes have used their newsletter and homilies to promote awareness of Safeguarding Children.
7. All parishes have received a copy of “Safeguarding Children – Standards and Guidance Document for the Catholic Church in Ireland”.
8. All parents are required to fill in a consent form for each child and the children fill in an application form for all church based organisations.
9. All 53 parishes have an accident/incident report book.
10. All parishes are using an “Attendance Record Book” for all their organisations.
11. Most parishes safeguarding children representatives have held “Information Sessions” for adults who work with children and also for the parents of children involved in church based organisations.