Child Advocacy
66 Brooks Drive
Braintree, MA 02184-3839
 
 

Contacts

 
 
Maureen DiMilla
Director Office of Child Advocacy, Implementation and Oversight
Office: 617-746-5996
Fax: 617-779-4575
Gretchen Brousseau
Operations Assistant
Office: 617-746-5994
Moises Rodrigues
Child Protection Specialist
Office: 617-746-5981

Child Advocacy

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School Program for Children, Parents and Educators

As part of the Archdiocesan response to the scandal of sexual abuse of children in the Church, the Office of Child Advocacy, Implementation and Oversight has launched several programs that focus on training children about personal safety and abuse prevention. They have been designed for teaching children both in the Catholic schools and in parish religious education programs.  The following provides some introductory information on the curricula for children, parents, and educators.

Talking About Touching (Grades Pre-K to 3,4)

The curriculum, called "Talking About Touching", was created by the Committee for Children in Seattle and focuses on teaching children in Grades Pre-K to 3 (with booster materials for Grade 4) basic skills that will help keep them safe from dangerous or abusive situations, while supporting parents, educators and community members in responding effectively to suspected abuse.

It is a curriculum that is in use nationally and is also provided to schools within the Massachusetts public school system through the Massachusetts Children's Trust Fund, a highly respected, longstanding organization that leads statewide efforts to support parents and strengthen families thereby preventing child abuse. It also has a parent video called "What Do I Say Now?" that will be used in both the parishes and the schools. For more information about "Talking About Touching" see http://www.cfchildren.org/chabuse.shtml

Training Schedule for Talking About Touching Training

Keeping Children Safe (Grades 4-8)

Once TAT was in place, the Office of Child Advocacy began development of a personal safety/abuse prevention curriculum for children in the upper grades (4-8). In the effort to select a personal safety education program for children in the upper grades, we gathered a collaborative committee from the Catholic elementary schools and parish religious education programs. Religious education leaders, principals, teachers and a pastor – as well as representatives from the Catholic Schools Office, the Office of Religious Education and the Office of Child Advocacy - all participated in a series of meetings held to review available personal safety curricula for adaptation and use by the Archdiocese.

After the review was completed, the process identified two programs that were combined to create the upper grade safety program: “Kids and Company” from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and the “Michigan Model for Comprehensive School Health Education” developed by the Michigan Department of Education under a grant issued by the Michigan Department of Community Health. The concepts of safety and prevention in the Keeping Children Safe program are: a review of the safety rules, increased emphasis on the ability to judge risks, a discussion of power and when it is appropriate for others to have power over them and when it is not, a discussion of peer pressure and power, a discussion of babysitting and appropriate touch (as this age group might be beginning this task), and discussion of internet and online safety (as this age group would have more unrestricted use of the internet).

It is teacher friendly in that the lessons are “scripted” allowing for easy use by both people who require this accommodation and those who do not.  Lessons are structured in a way that allows for fluid presentation.  Materials for each lesson are listed, and are simple enough to be used in most programs.  The model also presents a strong parent component.

The 3- 4 lessons have been designed to run for about 45 minutes each with an additional parent component.  For Religious Education, due to constraints of time and resources, the curriculum presents lesson break points that enable the lessons to be taught in shorter, 20-minute segments. 

Finally, the Archdiocese has also just completed a pilot program to implement to test and refine two additional personal safety/abuse prevention curricula for children in Grades Pre-K to 4 in a small number of Catholic elementary schools and parish religious education programs.

The “Stay Safe Program”, developed by University College, Dublin for use by the Archdiocese of Dublin in the country’s Catholic schools; and “Keeping Children Safe,” adapted (with permission) from the Michigan Model for Comprehensive School Health Education were streamlined and modified for presentation in religious education classrooms by a committee comprised of religious educators and teachers from the parishes and schools. Nine parishes agreed to participate in the pilot program and their teachers and religious educators were trained in a series of workshops in February 2008. The programs were then piloted between March and June 2008. Once the pilot programs were completed, parish and school personnel were invited to submit any suggested curriculum changes or modifications and to attend one of several meetings to discuss their experiences with the curricula. Once these were completed and the curricula were finalized, a series of regional information sessions were held throughout the Archdiocese to introduce the rest of the parishes and schools to the programs. Information sessions were held on August 19th and 26th, September 9th, October 2nd, and November 4th 2008.

The Office of Child Advocacy provides annual training in these programs. See: Training Schedule” for annual training dates for these programs.