Maintaining a Safe Environment

About Safeguard the Children

Providing a safe environment for children, youth, and vulnerable adults

Safeguard the Children is a comprehensive program designed to promote a safe environment for children, youth and vulnerable adults and prevent child sexual abuse. The program was initiated in all dioceses in the United States at the direction of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).

There is a Safeguard the Children (STC) Committee in each parish which helps to implement the objectives of the USCCB “Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.” The Archdiocese of Los Angeles has produced an informative brochure entitled "Working Together" that provides resources on how to prevent abuse and provides information on reporting child abuse. You can find it along with more information about the  policies and activities of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles in “Protecting Our Children" at


Requirements for Parish Clergy, Staff, and Volunteers at Sacred Heart

  • All volunteers and clergy, along with our staff, regardless of whether they work with or around children in any way, are required to attend a VIRTUS session,  “Protecting God’s Children” adult awareness training session.
  • Any volunteer who supervises or is perceived to supervise children in any way is required to submit to a background check in the form of fingerprinting by the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. You can sign up for free at LiveScan fingerprinting
  •  Religious Education volunteers and students take part annually in the ”Teaching Touching Safety” or other approved safe environment education program.
  • All parish staff are required to submit to a background check in the form of fingerprinting by the Los Angeles Archdiocese

For a schedule of VIRTUS sessions and fingerprinting at Sacred Heart, please check latest announcements or the calendar.  

Reporting Child Abuse and Elder or Vulnerable Adult Abuse

It is important that everyone report suspected child or elder abuse.  If you ever come across suspected abuse, we urge you to call the Los Angeles County Child Protection Hotline at (800) 540-4000.  The hotline is operated twenty-four hours, around the clock, seven days a week.  You don’t need to know that child abuse or neglect is taking place, you are welcome to report your suspicions and consult with a social worker if you are not clear whether what you are witnessing or have learned of is abuse.  Depending on your profession, you might even be legally obligated to report suspected child abuse and neglect, a so-called “mandated reporter.”  But if you are not a mandated reporter, you can even make your report anonymously. 

Priests, deacons, school faculty and administrators and other staff members in our parish and schools have been designated as mandated reporters under California law. When one of these persons receives information leading to a “reasonable suspicion” that a child is being abused or neglected, he or she must make a report to the appropriate child protection or law enforcement agency. For more information on Responding to an Allegation of Suspected Child Abuse:

If you are being abused, have been abused, or know someone who is being abused and you need assistance making a report, call Victims Assistance Ministry at the Archdiocese of Los Angeles at (800) 355.2545,

You may also seek help directly by contacting one of the Child Protective Services or one of the Law Enforcement Agencies listed below. In an emergency, call 911.

  • LA County Child Abuse Hotline
    (800) 540-4000
  • Investigative Control Unit for All Child Abuse Reports
    (213) 486-0530
  • Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department
    Special Victims Bureau (24 hours)
    (562) 946-8531
    To speak to a detective 
    (562) 946-7960
  • District Attorney’s Office
    Sexual Crimes Division 
    (213) 974-9790
    Family Violence Division
    (213) 974-3785
  • For callers residing outside of California who wish to contact Child Protective Services in Los Angeles
    (213) 639-4500

Volunteer Opportunity

The Safeguard the Children committee welcomes inquiries from parishioners with backgrounds in social services, law enforcement, education, child health or legal issues who are interested in joining the committee.   Contact Cindy Boulais at (626) 332-3570.