Child Advocacy - Training and Education

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 multiple programs that focus on the protection of children. The following provides some introductory information on the Parish Program For Adults and Children. 

  • For Local Parish Training for Protecting God’s Children please visit
  • OCA Training of Trainers  

Protecting God's Children for Adults
A prevention and awareness training at the parish level for adults - called "Protecting God's Children", and administered by the Catholic Risk Retention Group under an umbrella called VIRTUS - consists of classroom presentations, printed materials and videotapes that will focus on the prevention of abuse and the protection of children.

The program is designed particularly for those adults who have custodial care of children as part of their duties. Training in the signs and symptoms that indicate a child is being abused in some way, and how to talk with children about these issues will also be included, as will training in the responsibilities of mandated reporting and the archdiocese's policies and procedures for preventing child abuse. An on-line component called "VIRTUS On-Line" will provide continued training through monthly bulletins and annual recertification. For more information about VIRTUS "Protecting God's Children" , see 

Safe Environments Programs for Children and Parents
The Archdiocese of Boston has several approved programs for children preschool to grade 8 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.

Each grade specific program must be taught annually in your parish schools or religious education programs.

The programs concentrate on teaching children 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. The developmentally appropriate programs introduce the subject of sexual abuse in the context of general safety.

Safe Environment Program for children Grades K through 5
The Archdiocese of Boston, with the guidance from the Committee for Children, has adopted the Second Step Child Protection Unit as its safe environment training program for children in early education through the 5th grade. The Second Step Child Protection Unit provides a multi-layered approach to child safety.  By creating a child protection strategy and educating adults throughout the schools and parishes, it prepares us to recognize, respond, and report abuse. The lessons in the Child Protection Unit help students recognize, report, and refuse unsafe situations.

The Second Step K–5 Suite also provides a fully integrated framework for protecting children by promoting their social, emotional, and academic success, utilizing a simplified approach for a safe and supportive education. The six component lessons are age-appropriate, easy to teach, and fun to learn. Online resources and training are also included. More information can be found in the Second Step website or by contacting [email protected] at the Office of Child Advocacy.

Grades 6-8 
More information coming soon!