This document introduces the concept and practice of risk management and other safety components that are important for mentoring and youth-serving programs.
This document presents an introduction to risk management, which is a crucial part of programs geared toward youth. It is organized into seven sections. The document’s first section aims to help organizations develop a plan and systems to manage unexpected situations in a way that keeps program participants, specifically youth, safe from harm during their time in the program. The second section covers participant screening and background checks; it explores benchmarks from the Elements of Effective Practice for Mentoring and screening as well as tips and best practices to screen mentors, mentees, volunteers, and staff for program suitability. The third section, on organizational risk assessment, highlights and reviews potential areas to help a program or organization determine whether they have risk management policies in place or not. The fourth section on staff and organizational structure explores different elements of organizational structure, and how those elements relate to risk assessment. The fifth section on insurance coverage provides examples about how to review insurance policies within an organization. The sixth section discusses the importance of training, why and how to conduct training programs, from orientations to skill-specific trainings; the section offers tips and best practices, and highlights relevant information from the Elements of Effective Practice for Mentoring. The seventh and final section shares what a risk management plan could look like and entail.