Who We Are

The Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People specifically created the Secretariat of Child and Youth Protection and assigned to it three central tasks:

  • To assist each diocese and eparchy 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 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.


Committee Members

Committee Members

Membership of the Bishops' Committee on the Protection of Children and Young People (CPCYP) includes the following bishops as well as the region he represents:

Most Reverend James V. Johnston Jr.
Bishop of Kansas City-St. Joseph

Region I
Most Reverend Mark O'Connell

Auxiliary Bishop of Boston

Region II
Most Reverend John O'Hara
Auxiliary Bishop of New York

Region III
Most Reverend Elias Lorenzo, OSB
Auxiliary Bishop of Newark

Region IV
Most Reverend Adam Parker
Auxiliary Bishop of Baltimore

Region V
Most Reverend Fernand Cheri, III OFM Cap
Auxiliary Bishop of New Orleans

Region VI
Most Reverend David J. Walkowiak
Bishop of Grand Rapids

Region VII
Most Reverend Donald J.  Hying
Bishop of Madison

Region VIII
Most Reverend John T. Folda
Bishop of Fargo

Region IX
Most Reverend Thomas Zinkula
Bishop of Davenport

Region X
Most Reverend Michael F. Olson
Bishop of Fort Worth

Region XI
Most Reverend John P. Dolan
Auxiliary Bishop of San Diego

Region XII
Most Reverend Peter Smith
Auxiliary Bishop of Portland, OR

Region XIII
Most Reverend Stephen J. Berg
Bishop of Pueblo

Region XIV
Most Reverend Enrique Delgado
Auxiliary Bishop of Miami

Region XV
Most Reverend Joy Alappat
Auxiliary Bishop of St. Thomas Syro-Malabar Diocese of Chicago 

Secretariat Staff

Executive Director: Deacon Bernie Nojadera, served as Director of the Office for the Protection of Children and Vulnerable Adults with the Diocese of San Jose, California, from 2002-2011. He has a bachelor of arts degree from St. Joseph College, Mountain View, California, in 1984; a master of social work degree specializing in health and mental health services from San Jose State University in 1991; and a master of arts in theology from St. Patrick’s Seminary and University, Menlo Park, California, in 2002. He has been a member of the Diocese of San Jose Safe Environment Task Force, involved with the San Jose Police Department’s Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, the County of Santa Clara Interfaith Clergy Task Force on the Prevention of Elder Abuse, and the County of Santa Clara Task Force on Suicide Prevention. He has worked as a clinical social worker for Santa Clara County Mental Health (1991-2000) and is a military veteran. He is married and has two children.

Associate Director: Molly Fara, joined USCCB staff in 2020 after serving 8 years as the first Director of Child and Youth Protection for the Diocese of Joliet in Illinois. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Dayton, Ohio with a major in psychology and minor in criminal justice.  Molly earned a Master's degree in social work from the University of Illinois at Chicago. She is recognized as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and has a Professional Educator License with School Social Work Endorsement. Prior work experience includes psychiatric hospital, in-patient/out-patient substance abuse treatment,  residential treatment center for emotionally disturbed youth,  adult protective services and employee assistance programs.  She has been married for 25+ years and has four adult children.

Coordinator for Resources & Special Projects: Lauren Sarmir, joined the staff of the Secretariat of Child and Youth Protection in August 2019. Before joining the team, Lauren served as Advancement Operations Manager for the Pontifical North American College’s Office of Institutional Advancement. Her previous work experience includes: The Heritage Foundation, United States House and Senate, and United Kingdom House of Commons. Lauren holds a Master’s degree in International Politics, and a Bachelor’s degree in Politics specializing in Latin American Affairs/Hispanic Studies, both from The Catholic University of America. She and her husband live in Northern Virginia.

Executive Assistant: Laura Garner, 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.