VIRTUS – Protection of Children and Youth
Archdiocese of Victims Assistance Line: (Toll Free) 1-866-417-7469
The Archdiocese of Baltimore is committed to providing a safe environment for children and youth. The Archdiocese of Baltimore will work to produce a healthy and nurturing environment for our children and youth. We will strive to make our Church a safe environment for them. We will exclude from ministry, employment and volunteer service anyone against whom there is a credible allegation of child abuse. We will ensure that victims are offered quality pastoral care and counseling. We will affirm the efforts of people who provide appropriate and loving outreach to the children and youth of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.
We believe that God’s people have the right to healthy ministry and to quality pastoral care.
We believe that at the heart of this ministry is a relationship with God, a desire for holiness, and a commitment to live in right relationship with God’s people.
We believe that the protection of those children and youth entrusted to the church’s care is of paramount interest.
We believe that those who work in the church have grace influenced power to do great good for children and youth.
We believe that when a representative of the church commits child abuse, emotional, spiritual, physical and/or psychological damage occurs.
We believe that the Church must continue to reach out to those who are victims of child abuse with the very compassion of Christ.
We recognize our responsibility to provide avenues of healing for those who are victims and for their families.
We recognize our responsibility to observe the requirements of civil law regarding prompt reporting of suspected child abuse and to continue cooperating with civil authorities.
We recognize there are instances where the state may not prosecute even though a credible allegation has been made. Regardless of criminal proceedings, when a credible allegation has been made we take appropriate action to promote the safety of children and youth.
We recognize our responsibilities as an employer: Church personnel are entitled to fair treatment under the church and civil law.
We comply with Maryland laws requiring reporting suspected child abuse to civil authorities. Under Maryland law any person who has reason to believe a child has been subjected to abuse must report the suspected abuse to civil authorities, even if the potential victim is now over 18 years old and even in cases where the alleged perpetrator is deceased. If someone associated with the Church, including clergy, employees, or volunteers of the Archdiocese of Baltimore, is suspected of abuse, then the suspected abuse must also be reported to the Archdiocese’s Office of Child and Youth Protection at 410-547-5348 or the Victims Assistance Hotline at 1-866-417-7469.
As of Nov. 1, 2017, the Archdiocese of Baltimore will join more than ninety dioceses using VIRTUS as a training and compliance management system. The Archdiocesan policies updated in 2014 remain unchanged. VIRTUS has worked with us to customize training tailored to our policies and to Maryland law.
Church personnel, including volunteers, who have not already registered in Shield the Vulnerable, will be required to register using VIRTUS. VIRTUS will direct volunteers to review the Code of Conduct for Church Personnel and A Statement of Policy for the Protection of Children and Youth. The Archdiocese of Baltimore will continue to work with Employment Screening Resources (ESR) to conduct online criminal history screening; as part of the registration process, VIRTUS will direct volunteers to the ESR website where they will be asked to submit to an online criminal history screening. VIRTUS can be accessed at https://www.virtusonline.org.
If you have questions about the registration process, contact Debbie Kitchen at 410-923-6953 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, feel free to contact the Archdiocese of Baltimore, Office of Child and Youth Protection at 410-547-5348.
Thank you for your commitment to the policies that promote child protection in the Archdiocese of Baltimore. With your support, we will continue to create and maintain safe environments where our children will thrive.
Virtus Information and Instructions: