Safe Environment Weekly Update – February 1, 2022
Each week the Office of Safe Environments will post a frequently asked question or tip on the topic of child safety, abuse prevention, VIRTUS training, mandatory reporting, criminal background checks, victim assistance, vulnerable adults and information from our Safe Environments Handbook.
If you have a question related to any of these topics, you are not alone and others may benefit. Please send your questions or suggestions for a weekly topic to Erin Neil, L.C.S.W, director of Safe Environments and Victim Assistance Coordinator at: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 203.650.3265.
Did you know?
Last week we discussed the importance of ensuring that every classroom has at least one adult present at all times and a second adult who is always in close proximity to ensure adequate supervision. The standard of two adults present at all times protects the children as well as the adults who work or volunteer with children from false allegations. It is also important to ensure the safety and supervision of the children when they leave your classroom for any reason.
The Safe Environment Handbook includes helpful information for monitoring bathroom areas:
6.8 Separate lavatories for adults and children should be used whenever possible. Lavatory use by minors should be monitored. Each location should individually review these spaces and develop a policy to ensure that appropriate safeguards are in place.
Assign an adult to supervise hallways and bathroom areas to ensure that only minors are using the designated bathroom and whenever possible, have only one student in a bathroom at a time to prevent incidents which may occur between two minors. If there is a situation where an adult must enter a children’s bathroom for any reason, knock first and let let them know that you and a second adult must enter. It is also important that you and the second adult also leave the space together. The only exception is in a true emergency where you must leave the second adult alone with the minor to call 911 and the child’s parent.
To report abuse of a minor or vulnerable adult or an incident of child pornography in the Diocese of Bridgeport involving any person from the Church, call DCF at: 1.800.842.2288 and Erin Neil, L.C.S.W. at: 203.650.3265 or Michael Tintrup L.C.S.W. at: 203.241.0987. You may also contact a Third-Party reporting hotline at: www.lighthouse-services.com/diobpt or call: 833.990.0004or fill out a written report of abuse or neglect at the following link: www.bridgeportdiocese.org/safe-environments/incident-report-of-an-allegation-of-abuse-or-misconduct.