July 02, 2019
Fountain of Life Youth One-to-One and Mentoring Policy
This policy sets out the purpose and parameters for those engaged in 1:1 work with young people either on a regular basis (Mentoring) or occasionally, with a Youth Worker or volunteer under the authority of the Fountain of Life Church (FOL) or its associated ministries (AM). At the Fountain of Life Church a Young Person (youth) is defined as a child between the ages of 10 and 18 years old in the custody of a parent or legal guardian. All adults (staff/volunteers) engaging in 1:1 work should be appropriately checked including an enhanced DBS disclosure (formerly known as CRB), two references and, for volunteers, a volunteer agreement.
1:1 work is an essential aspect of our youth work, but needs to be undertaken wisely. A 1:1 session is a meeting with an individual youth as a one off or on an occasional basis. Whilst Youth Workers may publicise their availability for 1:1 sessions meetings will be arranged at youth or parent/guardians request. The purpose of a 1:1 meeting is to listen to any issues a youth may wish to discuss, help them process or deal with an emerging situation and in both cases provide verbal support and encouragement. Youth Workers may suggest that a youth consider mentoring if 1:1 meetings become more regular or issues discussed are continuing or ongoing. 1:1 meetings should be considered mentoring if they become a regular, programmed event. In this instance mentoring agreements (see below) and guidelines must be followed.
This relates to those occasions when a regular 1:1 meeting is agreed over a period of time with a mentor. The principle of good practice adopted is that the young person will initiate this by contacting the youth worker who will make appropriate arrangements for a mentor in accordance with this policy. Youth workers may suggest that a youth considers mentoring due to the nature or frequency of the individual 1:1 meetings. Mentors should be people known to have a strong grounding in their faith, known to the leaders of the church and have passed appropriate checks. Mentoring is to encourage and support a youth on a regular basis or for a set period of time in response to their personal circumstance.
Before mentoring begins Mentees, their parents/guardians and mentors must complete an agreement explaining how they intend to meet before any such meeting takes place. The mentoring agreement will clearly state the aims, conditions and frequency of meetings before a mentoring relationship formally starts. Mentees and parents/guardian must agree on the choice of mentor.
Ideally, 1:1 work should take place either on Fountain of Life premises or in a public and appropriate area such as a cafe, coffee house, or sports venue. Paul Wilkinson, or other leader if he is not available, must be informed when and where it is taking place and again when the meeting has finished, and, if on Fountain of Life premises, a second adult should be in the building. The young person should be aware that this person is there and available to them. There may be circumstances where a home visit would be preferred and this should be agreed beforehand with a manager. Workers should only note basic details of these meetings in their record books.
1:1 situations have the potential to make the child/young person more vulnerable to harm by those who seek to exploit their position of trust. Adults working in these situations with children and young people may also be more vulnerable to unjust or unfounded allegations being made against them. Both possibilities should be recognised so that reasonable and sensible precautions are taken. Every attempt should be made to ensure the safety and security of children and young people and the adults who work with them.
- avoid meetings with a young person in remote, secluded areas
- always inform Paul Wilkinson and parents/guardians about the contact(s) beforehand, assessing the need to have them present or close by
- always report any situation where a youth becomes distressed or angry to a senior colleague
- carefully consider the needs and circumstances of the youth when 1:1 situations.
- be aware of safeguarding policy and procedures to report concerns.
Confidentiality cannot be guaranteed, and any disclosures or suspicions of abuse should be dealt with following the Fountain of Life’s child protection policy. However, outside of issues relating to the safety of the young person or others the things discussed in the sessions should be kept private and not discussed with others without the young person’s knowledge and consent.