Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has approved a series of revisions to the “Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People” that includes requiring all people who have contact with minors to undergo background checks, according to a story from the National Catholic Reporter (NCR).

The Charter – also known as the “Dallas Charter” –  is a comprehensive set of procedures established by the USCCB in June 2002 for addressing allegations of sexual abuse of minors by Catholic clergy and includes guidelines for reconciliation, healing, accountability, and prevention of future acts of abuse.

NCR reports that one of the several approved revisions to the document “will amend Article 13 of the Charter to require all those in contact with minors undergo background checks,” a change from the previous stipulation which applied only to those people who had “regular contact with youths.”

Francesco Cesareo, chair of the National Review Board, a group of independent lay advisers to bishops on child protection, told NCR the board supported the revisions and said expanded background checks “will be very, very helpful” now that everyone in contact with children will have to undergo screening.

The revisions – which were approved by a vote of 185 to 5 with one abstention – were made at the USCCB Spring General Assembly that took place in Fort Lauderdale, Florida from June 13 to 14, 2018. The changes mark the third time U.S. bishops have modified the charter and the first time since 2011.

“Safe Environment Coordinators from around the country are extremely dedicated to protecting youth within their parishes and schools and having this revision to the Charter allows them to add yet another layer of protection for youth and their families,” said Pri Murphy, a National Account Executive at Employment Screening Resources® (ESR).

Murphy recently attended the 13th Annual Child and Youth Protection Catholic Leadership Conference (CYPCLC) in New Orleans, Louisiana from June 3 to 6, 2018. It was her fifth year in a row attending the CYPCLC, showing how dedicated her company is to serving safe environment efforts within the Church.

“It’s wonderful to see these improvements being made and this subject confronted in an honest and transparent way,” Murphy added. “Safe Environment Coordinators are recognizing more and more that a comprehensive approach to safe hiring is necessary, regardless of how often a volunteer or employee is in contact with children.”

Murphy explained that ESR – a global screening firm headquartered in the San Francisco, California area – performs background checks for a number of Catholic dioceses across the United States. ESR is also integrated with Virtus®, a program and service of the National Catholic Risk Retention Group, Inc., which provides training and background checks.

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