Managing Junior Leaders (those under 18 years old) needs as much care as we give the process with adult leaders. Here are the main points:
- Working with Children Check (WWCC) – Under 18 year olds cannot obtain a WWCC, so they and their parents/guardian must complete this declaration which must then be securely stored with other safe ministry documents. Note: A Junior Leader must have a verified WWCC as soon as they turn 18. This transition is helped by the fact that they can apply from 17 years 9 months of age.
- Screening – We should be as vigilant with our screening of Junior Leaders as we are with adults (a high percentage of sexual abuse of children is peer-to-peer abuse). So every church should use a comprehensive screening policy such as found in this document.
- Safe Ministry Training – All Junior Leaders should be current in their Safe ministry Training – just as adult leaders are expected to be.
The Junior version of the Safe Ministry Training course is designed for Junior Leaders (under 18 years). However, with such a variation in maturity levels of teenagers, some 16-17 year olds would be capable of completing the Essentials course. It also may be be best practice in some circumstances due to the responsibilities that are part of their leadership role. This should always be managed on a case by case basis with close consultation with the Junior Leader’s parents and the senior minister.
Note that the Junior Leaders course is not offered as part of the Safe Ministry Team (PSU) regional training events, so a Junior Leader may attend such a course at any nearby church whose Local Safe Ministry Trainer is running it.
Any further questions: please contact your local church Safe Ministry Representative or the Safe Ministry Parish Consultant.