Conduct with Minors – Code of Conduct for Church Personnel

Church personnel who interact with minors (persons under the age of 18) shall promote open and trustworthy relationships between minors and adults.

3.1 Church personnel who work with a minor shall have training appropriate to their level of responsibility. Church personnel shall seek and receive archdiocesan approved training regarding appropriate boundaries and conduct with minors.
3.2 Appropriate conduct and interactions between church personnel and a minor can contribute to a minor’s development and is a positive part of Church and ministry.
3.3 Inappropriate conduct and interactions between church personnel and a minor can cause harm to a minor’s development and well-being, and shall never occur. Appropriate boundaries must be established and respected. Church personnel may not engage in sexual or inappropriate physical contact with a minor. Sexualized touch is never appropriate. Any interaction with a minor that is a “secret” is not appropriate.
3.4 Church personnel who work with a minor shall be aware that physical contact can be misconstrued. Church personnel shall be aware of a minor’s vulnerability as well as their own.
3.5 Church personnel shall never physically discipline a minor.
3.6 Church personnel shall avoid working alone with a minor. Adequate staffing shall be available to manage emergency situations. Great care shall be taken to ensure that a safe environment is provided at all times, but most especially on those rare occasions when it is necessary to work alone with a minor.
3.7 Church personnel shall not drive alone with a minor.
3.8 Church personnel shall never provide a minor with alcohol, illegal drugs, tobacco products, pornography or other inappropriate material.
3.9 Church personnel shall never send inappropriate electronic communications to a minor. Electronic communications with a minor shall be parish/school related and never be hidden from parents or others.
3.10 Communications and/or information displayed or shared by church personnel with a minor through social media must be consistent with the values and teachings of the Church and readily accessible to parents and guardians as well as supervisors.
3.11 It is inappropriate for an adult to share a bed or a tent with a minor when on a trip. Sharing a bedroom, other than a large group dormitory style room, shall be avoided. Exceptions can be made for a parent or guardian who requests to room with his or her child.
3.12 Church personnel shall not give significant gifts or grant special privileges or opportunities to a specific minor.
3.13 Church personnel shall not accept expensive gifts from a minor or a minor’s parent or guardian.
3.14 Church personnel shall act responsibly in respecting private information received about a child. Information should be shared on a “need to know basis” or with permission. Information provided on permission forms shall be viewed or disclosed by church personnel only on a “need to know basis” or with permission.
3.15 Church personnel shall not (a) illegally possess and/or use alcohol or drugs at any time, and (b) use alcohol or tobacco when working with a minor.
3.16 Designated living quarters of priests and religious are exclusively for their use. It is permissible for family members who are minors, with the consent of their parent or guardian, to have occasional overnight visits. Other minors are permitted to visit overnight only when accompanied by his or her parent or guardian.
3.17 The Archdiocese of Baltimore strictly complies with Maryland laws requiring reporting suspected child abuse to civil authorities. Under Maryland law any person who has reason to believe a child has been subjected to abuse (sexual or physical abuse) must report the suspected abuse to civil authorities, even if the potential victim is now over 18 years old and even in cases where the alleged perpetrator is deceased. If someone associated with the Church, including clergy, employees, or volunteers in the Archdiocese of Baltimore, is suspected of abuse, the suspected abuse must also be reported to the Archdiocese of Baltimore’s Office of Child and Youth Protection.
3.18 Church personnel who have reason to believe a child has been subjected to misconduct by church personnel or have observed church personnel engage in inappropriate conduct or in an inappropriate interaction with a minor must immediately notify the Archdiocese of Baltimore’s Office of Child and Youth Protection.