What is VIRTUS® Protecting God's Children training?

The Protecting God’s Children program is the VIRTUS program aimed at protecting children from child sexual abuse. Protecting God’s Children is a 3-hour awareness session for adults in the faith community who interact with minors.

Participants are taught to identify situations that could leave a child vulnerable, the signs that a child may have experience abuse, the methods of sexual offenders and critical steps to help prevent abuse. The program for has trained more than 101,000 adults in Archdiocese of Detroit parishes, schools and other ministries, creating a united faith community that is uniquely qualified to protect our children.

Who is required to attend Protecting God's Children workshops?

  • All clergy working in the Archdiocese of Detroit
  • All adult paid employees of Central Services, Parishes, and Catholic Schools
  • All adult volunteers who have regular and/or unsupervised contact with minors

Not our compliance, but our calling

Often when we hear about the efforts of the Church in regard to sexual abuse, we hear about the importance of compliance with the USCCB Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People. From a faith environment perspective, the importance is not in our compliance, but in our calling. As Catholics, we are called to respect the life and dignity of every human person from conception to natural death. The Charter guides us in action to our calling. Our calling furthers the Gospel message of Christ.

Effective July 14, 2022, no additional Protecting God’s Children Workshops are being scheduled until further notice. Sufficient workshops are already scheduled through the Fall to accommodate our usual requests for the start of the school year. Please direct your parishioners or employees to a neighboring parish’s workshop that has been scheduled already; a full list of currently scheduled workshops in the Archdiocese of Detroit can be found here.

We will soon be training our facilitators in the latest version of Protecting God’s Children, and we need time to accomplish that training and then roll out the new program across the Archdiocese of Detroit. The Office of Child and Youth Protection is also going through some transitions due to the retirement of Sharon Gorman.

For immediate needs or questions, please email protectchildren@aod.org or call 313-237-5826.