The Certificate in Child Protection and Safe Environments

The Child Protection and Safe Environments certificate program, developed by The Catholic Project, is designed for students who wish to study best practices in child protection from a Catholic perspective. It will draw upon existing courses of several schools.

The program’s director is Eileen Dombo, Associate Professor and Assistant Dean of the National Catholic School of Social Service.

Graduates will be able to:

  •  Know about the different dynamics involved in sexual abuse and exploitation, particularly within the Catholic Church;
  •  Know about the history and current practice of safe environment programs, particularly within the Catholic Church;
  • Identify the core principles of trauma-informed services;
  • Evaluate policies, programs, and clinical interventions designed to help trauma survivors.
  • Understand the criminal and civil and legal systems and their roles in addressing abuse;
  • Be able to analyze and discuss different child protection programs

This knowledge is urgently needed by the Church and society. Graduates would be well-qualified to be diocesan Victim Assistance Coordinators or Safe Environment Coordinators after its completion.

This Certificate program, the first of its kind, is offered either on campus or entirely online and draws from the diverse talents of professors from three schools at Catholic University: The National Catholic School of Social Service, Theology and Religious Studies, and the Columbus School of Law.

The program consists of four courses—12 hours— and can be completed in one year.


  • TRS 656B / SSS 656C (Jointly Offered): Sexual Abuse and Exploitation
  • SSS 655 Social Work Responses to Trauma: Intersections of Policy, Community, and Clinical Practice
  • SSS 657 Child Protection: Law and Policy
  • An individualized capstone course, allowing the student to apply knowledge gained in the other courses to their field or work.



  • Undergraduate degree

Request information about the Certificate in Child Protections and Safe Environment from the National Catholic School of Social Service at Catholic University!