When possible, it can be informative to observe an applicant in your environment with the child(ren) and youth you serve, to look for potential red flags. If this is done pre-hire, and before the background checks are complete, make sure the individual is supervised and monitored at all times by current (cleared) staff. If there are behaviors, actions, or statements that are concerning, do not ignore them. While it doesn’t necessarily mean there is a problem, it may be a potential issue that needs further observation or inquiry.
For certain positions such as respite providers, tutors, or mentors that involve children and youth meeting with staff in their homes, it’s especially important to immediately discuss concerns, reiterate the child safety policies of your organization, and be clear that your Code of Conduct is taken seriously and strictly enforced when it comes to the safety of children and youth you serve. In addition, depending on the mission of your organization, you may need to assess an applicant’s home environment. For example, a home assessment would be essential for a mentoring program where youth meet with mentors at their homes, but may be irrelevant and inappropriate for other organizations, such as overnight camps or afterschool programs.
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