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Policy Regarding One-On-One Situations
Clear guidelines should be established for isolated, one-on-one situations. Many organizations strictly prohibit one-on-one time under any circumstances. However, for organizations that address the needs of children and adolescents, one-on-one mentoring/tutoring/support is often considered important to a child’s development. If this is the case for an organization, very specific guidelines about such one-on-one time should be clearly articulated.
High and low risk situations in your organization should be clearly defined. For example, a situation where one teacher is with a group of children in an open classroom where other adults are walking in and out would be considered low risk. A situation where an adult is alone with a child, driving from one activity to another, would be high risk.
Observable and Interruptible
Essentially, determination of risk has to do with the degree to which situations are observable and interruptible. An adult can mentor a child privately by finding a spot that is away from others, but that is still in an open area that is observable. For example, an adult and child might sit at a picnic bench. Their conversation can be private under this circumstance, but easily observed.
Many organizations carefully design physical space to permit observable and interruptible one-on-one time. For example, windows are installed in all doors, even closets, and policy is established that prohibits them from being covered.
Most prudent is a policy that requires two adults to be present at all times when children and adolescents are being supervised. Many organizations require that the two adults not be family members. A helpful addition to this policy is that whenever groups of children are being supervised, an extra adult should be available as a "floater" to stand in if one of the two adults in a classroom or other situation must leave the area.
All organizations with child protection policy should carefully consider policy for toileting/diapering, driving with youth, and overnight activities. Each organization is unique; therefore generic policy is difficult to articulate. However, the clearer an organization is about the acceptable way to handle these situations, the less likely an incident in which a child is violated will occur.