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We are a small church looking at implementing a youth mentoring program, with trained mentors paired up with our youth (grades 6-11). We are not currently able to offer this within our Safe Church guidelines. 

Does anyone have a Safe Church provision (written text) that will allow for adults to meet one-on-one with youth (in a public space, at the youth's home with a parent present, text in at the beginning and end of each session, etc.)?  

Mentoring is a great and effective ministry but we need policies that will support it and don't have them at the moment. The risk averse tell us that mentoring can't be done safely, and would rather leave spiritual formation entirely up to the parents. Thanks! 


Thanks for posting this, Virgina! I am curious to hear how congregations or organizations are navigating individual mentoring as well. :)

I could possibly help with this. I absolutely believe Safe Church policies need to make room for mentorship relationships. Here's what our policy says:

1.     There is an obvious need to build a trusting relationship with the youth. However, taking the youth aside for a quiet one-on-one talk could set them up abuse.  Therefore, to protect the adult and the youth, one-on-one situations are discouraged.  If a chat is necessary, let another adult know where you are, with whom, and for how long.  If necessary, meet in a public place, e.g., a coffee shop. Before any such meeting is to take place with a youth, the youth group leader shall inform the youth ministry coordinator of when and where such a meeting will take place, and once the meeting has concluded.


2. Mentorships, one-on-one long-term relationships, are an important factor in youth development. However, they also are difficult to monitor and can open both parties up to potential abuse or allegations of abuse.  Mentors are strongly encouraged to hold their sessions in public places, or in open spaces in homes and not be alone behind closed doors.

For context, the youth ministry coordinator is a paid staff position.

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