In Dallas, 2002, at their Annual Meeting, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops drafted a landmark document in response to the crisis of sexual abuse of children in the Church. This document, setting forth their agreed upon responsibilities in combating the problem, was entitled the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.
The charter specifically created the Secretariat of Child and Youth Protection and assigned to it three central tasks:
- To assist each diocese and eparchy (eastern Rite Churches) in implementing "Safe Environment” programs designed to ensure necessary safety and security for all children as they participate in church and religious activities
- To develop an appropriate compliance audit mechanism to assist the Bishops and Eparchs in adhering to the responsibilities set forth in the Charter
- To prepare a public, annual report describing the compliance of each diocese and eparchy to the Charter’s provisions
The Secretariat for Child and Youth Protection is a resource for dioceses/eparchies for implementing ‘safe environment’ programs and for suggesting training and development of diocesan personnel responsible for child and youth protection programs; taking into account the financial and other resources, as well as the population, and demographics of the diocese/eparchy. The Secretariat produces an annual public report—on the progress made in implementing and maintaining the standards in the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People—following an annual audit process. The report is public and includes the names of dioceses/eparchies that the audit shows are not in compliance with the provisions and expectations of the Charter.
Teresa M. Kettelkamp, executive director, retired from Illinois State Police (ISP) after 29 years where she was the first female to attain the rank of Colonel. Ms. Kettelkamp began her law enforcement career investigating white collar and public corruption cases. During her career she was also responsible for the functional supervision of 28 specially trained agents who conducted statewide investigations involving missing and/or sexually exploited children. Upon her retirement, Ms. Kettelkamp headed the ISP's Division of Forensic Services which is the 3rd largest forensic system in the world. Prior to that position, Ms. Kettelkamp headed the ISP's Division of Internal Investigation which was responsible for the investigation of allegations of misconduct within the ISP, as well as under the executive branch of government. Ms. Kettelkamp retired from the ISP for the purpose of working for the Gavin Group in conducting the first annual compliance audits of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People. Ms. Kettelkamp is a lifelong Catholic, and a graduate of Quincy College, Quincy, Illinois, where she obtained a degree in Political Science. She is the mother of two adult children.
Mary Jane Doerr, associate director, holds a BA in Behavioral Sciences from Nazareth College, Kalamazoo and a MA in Educational Leadership from Western Michigan University. She has more than 20 years experience as an educator in the following roles: as a classroom teacher, an elementary school principal and a college instructor. She joined the Diocese of Kalamazoo in 1994 where she worked in stewardship and development. In 2003 she was appointed the Safe Environment Coordinator for the diocese and in 2006 was promoted to the Director of the Safe Environment Office overseeing all compliance issues related to the implementation of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People. She assumed the role of Associate Director in the Secretariat of Child and Youth Protection in July 2008.
Laura Garner, executive assistant, recently joined the staff of the Secretariat of Child and Youth Protection on January 3, 2011. Previously, Ms. Garner served as a Staff Assistant in the Office of the General Counsel with the USCCB since 2008.
Ms. Garner holds a BA in Psychology from Loyola College and an MA in Art Therapy from George Washington University. Before joining the USCCB, she worked at home as a medical transcriptionist while raising four children. Other employment includes bank teller, paraprofessional, computer educator and receptionist.
Cortney Kerns, staff assistant, is from Hagerstown, Maryland and attended Mount St. Mary’s University in Emmitsburg, MD. She graduated cum laude in 2008 with a degree in Chemistry. She joined the Secretariat of Child and Youth Protection in July 2008.