Educating Children and Youth

School children using digital tablet outsideChildren and Youth Personal Safety Instruction

Children and Youth Personal Safety Instruction

Catholic schools and parish faith formation, sacramental preparation and youth ministry programs throughout the archdiocese began teaching children and youth about personal safety and sexual abuse prevention in 2006.

The personal safety lessons teach children and youth basic skills that help keep them safe from dangerous or abusive situations either in person or online. Young people are taught to check with a trusted adult first, say no when confronted with an uncomfortable situation and are encouraged to share concerns with a trusted adult.

The personal safety program consists of four 30 to 40 minute lessons per year per grade for Catholic school children and two 30 to 40 minute lessons per year per grade for children in parish programs. The lessons approved by the archdiocese are age-appropriate and respect parents’ role as their children’s primary educators.

  • Please contact your child’s school or faith formation office for more details about what program is being offered at your child’s site.

Prayer for Parents

Dear God,

Thank you for the gift of children. Help us, Almighty Father, to guide our children. May they have the opportunity to be all you have created them to be. Teach us, Lord Jesus, how best to keep our children from harm. Assist us, O Holy Spirit, in opening ourselves to your counsel, that we may know what words to speak, how best to act, and what paths to ensure that our children remain with you every day of their lives.
Amen.

Used with permission: Catholic Know-How: Keeping Our Children Safe, Our Sunday Visitor.
Beth McNamara, General Manager and Editorial Director, Our Sunday Visitor

Approved Materials

OPCY works with catechists, teachers, directors of faith formation and youth ministers to carefully and continually review materials that are available for personal safety lessons for minors. This is done to ensure that the materials approved for use in the archdiocese are current, relevant, and supportive of Catholic teaching.

Parents, educators and others can find out more about key messages children and youth receive in each personal safety program, by viewing a Summary of Key Concepts – All Approved Curricula.

The personal safety lessons teach sound safety messages within the context of faith formation programs in parishes and Catholic schools. You can see how Principles of Child Protection Catechesis align with Scripture and Catholic teaching.

Additional Resources for Parents and Guardians

The online resources linked below align with personal safety lessons taught in parishes and Catholic schools. Parents can utilize information in these resources to reinforce those safety messages at home.

Resources for parents page on NetSmartz.org: https://www.netsmartz.org/TrendsandTopics

NetSmartz offers a collection of Tip Sheets on several online safety topics for parents, teens and tweens at this page: http://www.netsmartz.org/TipSheets

VIRTUS Online provides a concise list of dos and don’ts for parents and other caring adults in their printable handout Practical Advice for Parents on Preventing Child Sexual Abuse: Practical Advice for Parents on Preventing Child Sexual Abuse: https://www.virtusonline.org/virtus/ParentHandbook.pdf

If a child discloses abuse, the U.S. Department of Justice’s website offers help and support for parents of children who have been sexually abused and victims of other sexual crimes: http://www.nsopw.gov/en-US/Education/HelpSupport?AspxAutoDetectCookieSupport=1

The FTC (Fair Trade Commission of the federal government) offers information for parents about keeping kids safe online: https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/topics/protecting-kids-online

PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center helps raise awareness about bullying and offers tools to combat it: http://www.pacer.org/bullying/

The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children has developed several publications helpful to parents. See them here: http://www.missingkids.com/ourwork/publications

This document explains the close connection between the teaching of the Catholic Church and teaching the faithful how to prevent Child Sexual Abuse: http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/child-and-youth-protection/resources/upload/magisterial-teachings-child-sexual-abuse.pdf