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). Therefore, 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.
To clarify the training requirements for Junior Leaders, the Safe Ministry Board approved the following at its December 2016 meeting:
- A junior leader is a person who has been appointed to a leadership role in children’s or youth ministry in a parish who is under 18 years of age.
- In general, it is more appropriate for a Junior Leader to complete the Safe Ministry Junior Leader Training Module instead of the Essentials course as a part of their training for their role.
- However, once a person who has been a junior leader attains 18 years of age they must complete the Essentials course unless it was previously completed.
- At the discretion of the rector or his delegate, a junior leader who is 16 or 17 years old but has greater leadership responsibilities than a junior leader would usually have (e.g. has some teaching responsibilities or has the maturity to be included in leader to child ratios), then that leader should complete the Essentials course.