SAFE Training Resources

For more information on our resource SAFE (Screening Applicants for Effectiveness): Guidelines to Prevent Child Molestation in Youth-Serving Organizations, the first publication of its kind, click here.

Find out more about our SAFE Training and becoming a Certified SAFE Trainer on our SAFE Training Page.

  • April is always Child Abuse Prevention Month and as strong supporters of this cause, we would like to help raise awareness of the current (and ongoing) problem of unsafe adults in trusted situations who sexually abuse children. With these additional resources, we hope that more professionals who serve youth in a variety of settings will be open to the possibility that child sexual abuse can happen at the hands of people they might not expect and feel more empowered to trust their informed intuition in order to prevent it from happening to youth in their care.

    To learn more about why having strong screening practices in place is important, view this write-up from MENTOR.

    If your agency is interested in a half- or full-day SAFE Training, where you will receive an in-depth review of our material and exercises to help you understand how it will work in your program’s design, please visit the SAFE Training page for information on our Certified SAFE Trainers and a schedule of upcoming SAFE Trainings in locations across the U.S.

  • Download the new recommendations appearing in our upcoming chapter, Mentor Screening and Youth Safety, in the Handbook on Youth Mentoring, 2nd Edition. Based on research on perpetrators from related allied fields (psychology, social work, education, and youth development) and practitioner knowledge in youth mentoring, this list of Minimum Standard and Highly Recommended tools and processes can help your program to know what to put in place to ensure youth safety.

  • These forms are available to download for no cost. They can easily be modified for your program as Word documents.

    Sample Volunteer Acceptance Guidelines

    Sample Written Application

    Sample Interview

    Sample Reference Questions

    Sample Mentor Code of Conduct

    Sample Mentor Responsibilities

    Sample Volunteer Assessment

    Sample Rejection Letter

    Sample Ongoing Monitoring Questions


    Looking for the full presentation from a training? Check with your Certified SAFE Trainer for the link and password.

    • Program staff must balance a suspicious and cautious attitude with the openness necessary to start building trust with a potential mentor
    • Even though perpetrators of child sexual abuse cannot be identified by comparison to a checklist, they often show similar characteristics, including relating better to children, seeking as many opportunities as possible for access to youth, an inability to form relationships with adults, and having low self-esteem and interpersonal inadequacy
    • Remember that the youth, not the mentors, are the clients. While focusing on applicants in the selection process and in supporting the relationship is important, keeping youth safe is the ultimate priority
    • Every applicant must go through the same process, regardless of who referred them
    • After an applicant is accepted and introduced to a child or youth, their relationship must continue to be monitored, as child sexual abusers form relationships over a significant period of time before beginning the abuse
    • 1 out of every 3-4 girls are abused; 1 out of every 6-9 boys are abused
    • Approximately 75-90% of abusers are known by their victims- these include relatives, coaches, teachers, mentors
    • In many cases, perpetrators were not identified by background checks (or their criminal histories were never obtained) and they found vulnerable children through youth-service programs
    • “A percentage of predators will target child-service groups because they provide access to samples of highly vulnerable children and often there are opportunities for isolated access. Many of these children have already been molested, making them more vulnerable to the predator.” -Dr. Perry Sirota
    • Approximately 90% of perpetrators of child abuse are men, but the number of women perpetrators is growing even though they are still perceived differently
    • Evidence links childhood sexual abuse to a variety of psychiatric, physical, and developmental issues including Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, sexually transmitted diseases, teen pregnancy, increased drug and alcohol use, obsessive-compulsive disorder, depression, personality disorders, increased suicidality, increased prevalence of parenting difficulties, increased utilization of health and social services, psychiatric issues, and interference with the normal development of adult sexual behavior
    • The costs to society are also great: one 2007 report estimated the annual cost of all types of child abuse and neglect to be $103.8 billion
    • The SafetyNET program, allowing more mentoring programs across the country access to the federal criminal database, showed in its pilot of five years that applicants who had criminal records of concern (about 6% or 3,000 potential mentors) wrote on their applications that they did not have a criminal history

    Going Beyond the Background Check, a report on volunteer screening from the Mentoring Institute, provides data from youth-serving programs in San Mateo County. Using surveys from local programs, the report highlights successes and shortcomings of volunteer screening practices in the county. Going Beyond the Background Check also discusses the impact of SAFE training, an essential component of the initiative.

    “People who molest kids come in any shape or form. It can be your next-door neighbor who you think is an upstanding citizen.” -SAFE

    Read the Executive Summary or the Full Report to see how programs in San Mateo County are screening volunteers and what Friends for Youth’s Mentoring Institute is doing to support them!

  • SAFE Interviews

    Friends for Youth’s Mentoring Institute did a series of interviews concerning SAFE and Child Abuse Prevention Month, which can be found here:

  • If child safety is important to you, and you would like to support our efforts of keeping all youth SAFE, please make a secure one-time gift or set up a recurring donation, call us at 650-368-4444, or mail a gift to 1741 Broadway, Redwood City, CA 94063.

    Since 1979, Friends for Youth has created and sustained nearly 1,900 community-based, long-term one-to-one relationships for youth on the San Francisco Peninsula. Based on our direct service successes, we founded our Mentoring Institute in 1998 with the goal of improving the quality of youth mentoring by disseminating information on safe and effective practices to national and international agencies. Our Mentoring Institute has reached practitioners at over 2,500 agencies with materials based on the field’s Recommended Best Practices, the latest research, and over 34 years of successful programming.


FFY Short Description

Transforming the lives of at-risk youth through the power of mentoring