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St. Joseph’s Orphanage Restorative Inquiry

The St. Joseph Orphanage Restorative Inquiry seeks to understand and document the events of the former Orphanage located on North Avenue in Burlington, open from 1884-1974, through the voices, experiences, and stories of those most impacted (former children of the Orphanage); and then facilitates inclusive processes of accountability, amends-making, learning, and change.

In September 2018, the Vermont Attorney General’s Office, the Burlington Police Department, the Vermont State Police, the Mayor of Burlington, and the Chittenden County State’s Attorney’s Office established the St. Joseph’s Orphanage Task Force. The Task Force is mandated to investigate reports of abuse within the Orphanage, or committed by priests or others affiliated with the Roman Catholic Diocese of Burlington. The Task Force is also mandated to support a fully independent Restorative Inquiry for victims, family members, and communities.

Funding for the Inquiry comes from the Vermont Center for Crime Victim Services to the Burlington Community Justice Center. We contracted a consultant, Marc Wennberg, to independently facilitate the design and implementation of the restorative inquiry.

The Restorative Inquiry is guided by the aspirations and priorities of the former children of the St. Joseph’s Orphanage. Marc Wennberg will engage every survivor of the Orphanage who wants to participate and have their voice heard.  Marc is also supported by the St. Joseph’s Orphanage Advisory Team, which meets monthly to support the design and facilitation of the restorative inquiry. The team is comprised of victim advocates, restorative justice practitioners, and others.

If you would like to learn more about the St. Joseph’s Restorative Inquiry, please see the website here or contact Marc Wennberg at or Rachel Jolly at

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