Statement of Principles

“I just wish there was someone who would have held me and explained things, tell me if my mom was going to come back.”

To the Former Children of St. Joseph's Orphanage:

  1. As a community, we failed you when you most needed our support and care. You did not deserve what took place at the Orphanage; your lives were wrongly harmed and we need to make amends for this harm. We also have a responsibility to learn from your experiences so that children in Vermont do not suffer similar harm.

  2. Our core obligation is to listen to your stories and experiences. You know what took place at the Orphanage and the many ways that these experiences impacted your life. We believe you.

  3. There are no justifications for what took place at the Orphanage. There are also no excuses for the many ways that the community and those involved in operating the Orphanage ignored your neglect and abuse. Every child deserves protection, care and love.

  4. Everyone involved must accept responsibility for the harm that you experienced. This responsibility requires that we listen to you, honor your requests, and–to the best of our collective ability–make amends. 

  5. We owe it to all children, present and future, to not repeat the mistakes that were made with you and your families. We must learn from your experiences and wisdom to ensure that every child is protected, cared for, and nurtured.

We Commit Ourselves to:

  1. Respect: We will engage all participants with respect and dignity.

  2. Safety: We will support all participants fundamental right to feel safe.

  3. Inclusiveness: We will ensure that all participants have multiple opportunities to be heard and acknowledged.

  4. Equality: We will facilitate processes that ensure equal voice and experience.