As the Administrator of the Catholic Athletic League for the Diocese of Providence, I want to share what we do to provide a safe environment for the children that are entrusted in our care. Under the leadership of Bishop Thomas J. Tobin, we continue to have one of the strongest child protection policies in the country. Yes, these are dark days for the Catholic Church in many locales, but here in our Diocese we will continue to do whatever has to be done to make sure that every child is protected.
The Catholic Athletic League serves over 3,500 youngsters in our Diocese of Providence’s Schools and Parishes. It is very important for all parents and/or guardians of the children from grades 3 to 10 who participate in our programs to know that each and every one of the more than 500 coaches who participate in our programs are required to go through an extensive criminal background check, live training in the protection of children and a coach’s clinic in a classroom setting. These measures have been instituted by the Diocese of Providence to insure the safety and protection of all the children who participate in our programs.
A coach who has not met these requirements is prohibited from being involved in any of our programs. In fact, we have had to deny coaching privileges to some who were already accepted to coach in other leagues because our Diocesan requirements to coach were stricter. In addition, all of our officials are required to submit to a criminal background check as well. Our Diocesan Office of Compliance assists us in confirming the suitability of our volunteers based upon the completion of a background check with the RI Attorney General’s Office and completion of abuse prevention training.
Some of the schools in our league are part of the Diocese of Fall River. We require notification directly from the Diocese of Fall River that all coaches have completed a CORI (Criminal Offender Record Information) and taken a seminar in Abuse Prevention Training.
For a number of years I sat on the Child Protection Committee along with other Diocesan Directors as these safeguards were evaluated and additional ones put into place. As a father, a former teacher, coach, guidance counselor and athletic administrator and a Catholic, I am proud of the steps our Diocesan program has taken to insure the safety, health and well-being of children. We will begin our fall season the week of September 10 and hundreds of youngsters will be participating in Cross Country and Tennis and every coach will have met the requirements as outlined above.
Phil Ricci is the administrator of the Catholic Athletic League of the Diocese of Providence.