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Toggle navigation MENTOR The National Mentoring Partnership

The importance of screening volunteersResponsible mentoring programs need to incorporate a number of important program elements and policies in order to promote safe, effective mentoring relationships. MENTOR’s updatedElements of Effective Practice for Mentoring is geared toward helping these programs achieve their goals. TheElements includes measures any mentoring program can implement to offer the best mentoring possible mentoring that does everything in its power to help young people and keep them from harm’s way.

It is essential that mentoring programs screen all volunteers.

Your organization is ultimately responsible for screening mentors and placing them in the most suitable roles. Not every individual you recruit as a prospective mentor will be suited to become a mentor. Careful screening improves the quality of your mentors and helps ensure the safety of the youth in your program, while also managing your organization’s level of risk and liability. A robust system of reference checks and interviews of potential volunteers, evaluation of risk and ongoing monitoring should also be part of your organization regular practice.

Below are some useful resources for screening volunteers.

National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) Background Screening SuggestionsState Contacts for Background ChecksInterviews with our CEO, David Shapiro, for Friends for Youth, Inc. SAFE 2012 CampaignAccess the National Sex Offender Public website and your state Sex Offender Registry to conduct free name based searches.

Assessing Your Program’s Level of RiskYou will likely need to assess the potential level of risk in your program to determine what screening procedures you will use. High risk programs will need more rigorous screening procedures. In general, the less a program supervises mentor mentee interaction, the higher the risk. For example, a one to one mentoring program that allows mentors and mentees to do activities on their own is higher risk than a school based group mentoring program that is always supervised by a program staff person.

Hereis a useful webpage from the Nonprofit Risk Management Center.

Based on your program’s level of risk, you should craft the screening procedures your program will use.

A mentoring organization ultimately bears full responsibility for the screening of mentors and the placement of mentors in the most suitable roles.
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