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Protection of the Faithful

Mission Statement   

The Department for the Protection of the Faithful consists of three offices; the Office of Child and Youth Protection shares in the mission of the Archdiocese of Newark to be a living sign of Jesus Christ's presence by assisting our youth in building a relationship with God by providing a safe environment. Toward this goal, the Office will implement and ensure compliance with the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.

The Office of Accompaniment also shares in the Archdiocesan mission of coming to offer God's merciful and loving providence to all. We are called to search out the needs, not only of the Catholic community, but of the total community; and then to respond accordingly with open mind and generous heart. Toward this second mission, this Office will provide outreach to victims/survivors and their families and demonstrate a sincere commitment to their spiritual and emotional well-being.

The Office of Investigations will provide external, independent investigations of allegations of impropriety, by clergy and lay employees, following the lighted path established by Pope Francis and Cardinal Tobin to resolve to “follow the path of truth wherever it may lead.”

Virtus Empowering God's Children Program

The Virtus Empowering God's Children program, is being taught to all Catholic School and Faith Formation children. See the Empowering God's Children link at right for more information.

A Note about Background Checks

No Credit Check is ever done as part of the Archdiocese of Newark Sterling background checks. For a summary of your rights under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, please click here

Protecting God's Children Recertification Options

The following live classes are acceptable for recertification: Protecting God's Children (3 hours in length and good for 5 years) and Keeping the Promise Alive (90 minutes in length and good for 5 years). Individuals can also opt in to recertify online (which has an annual and monthly requirement).  Individuals must use their original Virtus id to register for a live class and/or to access their online recertification content.  Those who have taken Protecting God's Children over 10 years ago must take the in-person Protecting God's Children again.  

(Users who have forgotten their Virtus user name and password can visit and click on "Need login information?" to retrieve-please do not create a new Virtus account).

Users needing additional assistance can contact the Safe Environment team at The schedule of all Protecting God's Children classes can be accessed by clicking on the link on the right.

Online Recertification of Protecting God's Children

If you are recertifying your Protecting God's Children by doing the online option, please ensure you are reading the monthly articles in addition to doing the annual recertification module.  Your account may be suspended in Virtus when no articles have been read in the previous year, and you will be unable to volunteer.  The monthly articles are very valuable!  Here's some recent feedback;

"Thanks as always for the wonderful articles on Virtus.  This month's article on cell phones and children was rather timely for my family.  My 12 year old is becoming more active in activities that do not involve parental participation and we have been debating back and forth the merits of having a phone for him to take on such outings.  The article brought up some points we had considered and some we had not.  Just wanted you to know that your articles matter :)"

Protecting God's Children - still bringing value, and helping to keep children safe

A recent attendee said: "I am very grateful for these classes.  Sometimes as we get far away from taking the class our guard can go down when we have to seriously remain calm and vigilant.  This is serious in our neighborhoods, our churches, our schools, everywhere...and I already have been sharing with others how they can help protect people from this type of abuse.  I wish we did not have to take classes like this....but the reality is in our world today, we must!  The video brought me to tears...the man next to me was fighting anger and wanting to 'hit' the men who abused children and spoke on the video....we all experienced many things...and we all left better for it. "


You can help prevent the abuse of children. Know the warning signs of offenders. They prefer to be with children. They go overboard touching, wrestling, or tickling. They may give minors alcohol or drugs, or show them pornography. They allow children to break the rules. Offenders act as if the rules do not apply to them. If you observe an adult who is not behaving appropriately with children, speak up. Let someone know what you saw. You are not accusing anyone of anything. You are letting someone know you care, are watching, and are concerned that no harm is done to a child.


Abuse is never the fault of the person harmed. It is always the responsibility of the offender. The reality is that most victims of abuse know their abuser. One in four females and one in six males report being abused as a minor. If you or someone you know is a victim of abuse there are things you can do, even if the abuse happened years ago. Call the police to report the abuse. If the abuser was in a position of authority in an organization, you should also report the abuse to that organization. If the abuse happened in a Catholic church or school, contact the Victim Assistance Coordinator for our Archdiocese at (201) 407-3256

The Catholic Church: Making Progress in Child Abuse Prevention and Victim Assistance

To date, the Catholic Church is the only youth-serving organization in the country - private or public - to undertake such a comprehensive program to create and promulgate safe environments for children and young people. You can learn more by visiting the USCCB's website.

Independent auditors from the USCCB have found the Archdiocese of Newark fully compliant with the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People in every year since audits began in 2003. 


Contact Us

Karen Clark
Director, Department for the Protection of the Faithful

Ralph Lilore
Coordinator, Department for the Protection of the Faithful

Gina Criscuolo, LCSW
Coordinator, Office of Accompaniment

Safe Environment Compliance Team 

Any person who wishes to report an incident of sexual misconduct by a member of the clergy, religious or lay staff of the Archdiocese of Newark should contact the Archdiocese as follows:

By Mail: 
Director, Department for the Protection of the Faithful
The Archdiocese of Newark
171 Clifton Avenue
Newark, NJ 07104 

By Phone: 

By Fax: