Potential volunteer adult mentors and young people need to be thoroughly screened before any match takes place. Young people should be screened to ensure that they are suitable and are likely to benefit from a mentoring relationship. Ideally young people should volunteer to participate in a mentoring programme.
As the safety and security of both the mentor and the young person is of paramount importance if the programme is to be effective, appropriate screening is vital.
Acceptable screening procedures, which should be written into the organisation's policies and procedures, would include:
- A clear statement of expectations of the mentor signed by the mentor, such as a Mentor's Contract
- An orientation process and attendance at an acceptable training programme prior to the mentor being matched with a young person
- A written application form
- Reference checks
- Face-to-face interviews
- Orientation and training
- Police check
- Any other checks relevant to the particular programme e.g., valid driver's licence; auto insurance
All information gathered during the screening process should be kept confidential.
All mentor applicants might not be suitable for particular youth mentoring programmes. Serious consideration should be given to disqualify mentor applicants who have:
- Any serious crimes within three to five years of applying to become a volunteer mentor
- Not completed the screening process
- Appeared to be unwilling to support programme policies and procedures
Effective screening procedures also aim to identify positive qualities in potential mentors - for future development.