The Office of Child and Youth Protection serves persons who bring forward allegations of sexual abuse by a member of the clergy or by lay employees and volunteers of the Archdiocese of Saint Louis. In addition the Office of Child and Youth Protection oversee and ensure compliance with policies and procedures created to receive and investigate reports of abuse as required by the Holy See, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, and the Archdiocese of Saint Louis. In addition, the Office of Child and Youth Protection is responsible for the activities and concerns brought before the Archdiocesan Child Safety Committee as well as the Archdiocesan Revew Board. For additional information please contact:
Sandra Price, Executive Director
Carol Brescia, Victim Assistance Coordinator by Referral
Archdiocesan Review Board
The Archdiocesan Review Board works to ensure that persons who have been harmed by sexual abuse on the part of a member of the clergy or an employee or volunteer of the Archdiocese of St. Louis are given the care they need, and that no person with a substantiated allegation of sexual abuse of a minor will serve as a member of the clergy in active ministry or hold a position working in proximity to children. The board achieves this mission through the careful and thorough analysis of reports of sexual abuse and through outreach to victims of sexual abuse. The process of analysis includes, but is not limited to, receiving complaints, listening to victims, gathering information, and moving forward on complaints that appear to be credible. Any person who is accused is also asked to respond. The board also advises the archbishop on matters regarding allegations of sexual abuse of minors by members of the clergy and employees and volunteers of the archdiocese.
The Archdiocesan Review Board has its roots in a committee that came into being in the 1980’s whose mission was to review allegations of sexual abuse of minors by clergy. This committee became known as the Gennesaret Committee in 1996, and it was renamed the Review Board after the USCCB’s Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People was promulgated in 2002. The Board’s membership is stipulated to be composed chiefly of laypersons who are not employed by the Archdiocese of St. Louis and who represent a variety of disciplines and occupations pertinent to issues surrounding the sexual abuse of minors, including mental health, medicine, education, and law enforcement. The board chair is also to be held by a layperson who is not an employee of the Archdiocese. The Victim Assistance Coordinator serves as an ex officio member of the board.
Child Safety Committee
The mission of the Child Safety Committee of the Archdiocese of St. Louis is to reduce and, where possible, eliminate potential risks to youth within the parishes, schools, offices, and agencies of the archdiocese. The committee works in partnership with parents, teachers, schools, parishes, and all others persons and institutions having responsibility for the safety of children in the archdiocese.
The Child Safety Committee helps oversee the development of policies and procedures used by parishes and elementary and secondary parochial schools to deal with emergencies of all kinds, including, but not limited to, accidents resulting in injury, fires, bomb threats, unauthorized entry on a school campus, utility failures and natural disasters.
The Child Safety Committee also assists in the establishment of appropriate actions and responses for archdiocesan personnel in identifying and dealing with child neglect, child abuse, child custody and child privacy issues. The committee has been instrumental in developing and implementing the Code of Ethical Conduct for Clergy, Employees and Volunteers working with Minors; background checks; the Safe Touch Program; and Protecting God's Children workshops.
Established under its present name in 2001, the Child Safety Committee has its origins in a smaller committee that was created in the early 1990s to address child abuse prevention. The committee is chaired by Deacon Phil Hengen, Director, Office of Child and Youth Protection, and reports to Archbishop Robert Carlson. The membership of the committee is multi-disciplinary and is comprised of representatives of several fields of expertise, including education, risk management, mental health, law, family counseling, and child safety.
Support Groups for Survivors of Sexual Abuse
The Archdiocese of Saint Louis is committed to assisting in the healing process for those who have been victims of sexual abuse from a member of the clergy. We offer support groups for victims and survivors through our partnership with Catholic Family Services. For more information on support groups please contact:
Saundra Barker, MSW, LCSW
Program Director, Saint Louis Counseling
(314) 544-3800 x 1306