Saturday, June 30, 2007

Diocese of Winona creates interactive online community to educate on abuse

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The Diocese of Winona has launched an interactive online learning community to educate people in the diocese about recognizing and reporting child abuse.

The project – a collaboration of the diocese and the Professional Learning Board, which creates online training programs – allows adults who are regularly involved with minors to take online courses to complete the training required by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).

Moving the program from the classroom to the Internet will help the diocese reach its large rural audience, said P.J. Thompson, chancellor of the diocese.

"An online learning community is the best way we have found to reach virtually all of the people in our diocese that work with children in a religious, education or volunteer capacity," Thompson said in an announcement about the program, available through the "Safe Environment" link on the diocesan Web site, www.dow.org.

Members of the diocese can reach the online safe environment learning community through any computer that connects to the Internet. Once they are online, users can interact and share ideas about how to create and maintain safe environments for children.

"It is so important that our churches, schools, homes and individual communities are safe for all God's people – especially our children," Bishop Bernard J. Harrington of Winona said in a statement.

The new learning community will also make it easier for the diocese to track the compliance of participants to ensure they are meeting USCCB standards. Catholic Online

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