The Youth Mentoring Network


Core programme elements

Selection and Safety Checking

Effective selection and safety checking practices are primarily aimed at ensuring the safety of all participants, but particularly for the young people involved in a programme. These practices are designed to increase the likelihood that all participants are safe, suitable and committed to making the mentoring relationship a positive experience. A robust process also gives all participants confidence that the programme is run in a professional manner.

Activities include:

  • Mentor selection criteria
  • Mentor safety checking
  • Mentee selection criteria
  • Mentee screening process

Refer to section 5.2 of the Guide NZYMN Effective Practice Guide_Selection and Safety Checking

You may also find this checklist useful: NZYMN Effective and Safe Practice in Youth Mentoring_Selection and Safety Checking Checklist

Further advice

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.