SAFE: Screening Applicants for Effectiveness
- Is your volunteer screening process strong enough?
- If something happened could you look back and defend your process?
- Find out how to strengthen your mentor applicant screening with SAFE.
SAFE includes the latest in child molestation research, decades of Friends for Youth's experience with screening volunteers, and recommendations from leading experts like Carla Van Dam, Ph.D. (Identifying Child Molesters) and Sgt. Steve McEwan of the San Jose Police Department, trainer on child exploitation for California police officers.
Download the new recommendations appearing in our our upcoming chapter, Mentor Screening and Youth Safety, in the Handbook on Youth Mentoring, 2nd Edition. Based on research on perpetrators from related allied fields (psychology, social work, education, and youth development) and practitioner knowledge in youth mentoring, this list of Minimum Standard and Highly Recommended tools and processes can help your program know what to put in place to ensure youth safety. We also offer trainings that clearly explain these recommendations. In this workshop, offered online or in-person, we offer a thorough review of what is known about convicted child sexual abuse perpetrators, helping youth professionals understand what to look for when they use the recommended tools and processes.
Friends For Youth's Mentoring Institute is a leader in the field of Recommended Best Practices and now brings the resource Dr. Susan Weinberger, aka Dr. Mentor, calls,
"One of the most comprehensive and scholarly publications that addresses the need to insure maximum protection for individuals involved in mentoring programs. The document will serve well to guide professionals in the field of mentoring.”
$25, 6” x 9”, 160 pages
Going Beyond the Background Check, a report on volunteer screening from the Mentoring Institute, provides data from youth-serving programs in San Mateo County. Using surveys from local programs, the report highlights successes and shortcomings of volunteer screening practices in the County. Going Beyond the Background Check also discusses the impact of SAFE Training, an essential component of the initiative.
“People who molest kids come in any shape or form. It can be your next-door neighbor who you think is an upstanding citizen.”
Read the Executive Summary or the Full Report to see how programs in San Mateo County are screening volunteers and what Friends for Youth’s Mentoring Institute is doing to support them!
Only 48% of youth-serving programs in San Mateo County perform a federal-level background check
on volunteers who work with children. In one pilot study, 40% of applicants to mentor programs who
had a criminal record were convicted in another state. By only checking in California, those 48% of
San Mateo County programs may have missed about one-quarter of criminal convictions from other states.
In 69% of youth-serving programs in San Mateo County, staff intuition can automatically disqualify a
volunteer applicant. “Informed intuition” is an essential component of volunteer screening. Programs that do not
include staff intuition run the risk of allowing child molesters without prior criminal records connect with their clients.
Gut feelings combined with knowledge of red flags are powerful tools for keeping children SAFE.