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The Safeguarding Children policy and procedures document for the Diocese of Meath was first published in March 2010.  In accordance with guidance from the National Board for Safeguarding Children, which requires that policy and procedures be reviewed periodically, I requested the Diocesan Safeguarding Children Committee to conduct a review 2012.

The review was a comprehensive and positive effort.  I am pleased that our safeguarding measures are updated in light of new documentation from the NBSC since 2010, the revised Children First Guidance (DCYA 2011), relevant existing and pending legislation, and from experience gained by implementing this policy over the past two years. The report of the HSE audit of safeguarding in the Diocese of Meath was also a valuable source in the review process.

A number of changes to our practices have been adopted arising from the review. These are incorporated into training and information sessions for clergy, parish safeguarding representatives and volunteers. In addition, suggestions made through the online and parish consultations have been considered and agreed by the Diocesan Safeguarding Children Committee and will be circulated in a forthcoming newsletter.

I wish to express my thanks to the Diocesan Safeguarding Children Committee for its good work.  I am grateful to Joan Walshe and Sandra Neville for their input to policy development and implementation in this diocese.  They too have received valuable assistance from the HSE and NBSC and I am glad that we can continue to work closely with these agencies.  It is the task of the clergy and parish safeguarding representatives to help us ensure that volunteers are supported and that children are valued in the Church.  Because of their good work in this regard, I am satisfied that we can continue to provide a safe and caring experience for all with whom we share and celebrate our faith.

Most Reverend Michael Smith
Bishop of Meath

September 2012.