WASHINGTON -- It is "critical to build safety barriers around children and young people to keep them from harm," said Teresa M. Kettelkamp, executive director of the Secretariat of Child and Youth Protection at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in Washington.
The barriers she had in mind take the form of "protective guardians, codes of conduct, background evaluations, policies and procedures, and safety training programs" aimed at preventing sexual abuse of minors.
In a discussion of safe environment programs, Kettelkamp posted 10 child-protection points on her office's website. A report released May 18 in Washington on a major study of the causes and context of the sexual abuse of minors in the church accented the value of safe environment programs.
"No one has the right to have access to children," Kettelkamp said. She insisted that "background checks work," keeping "predators away from children" in churches, schools and other organizations.