Bridges Kinship Mentoring Criteria for Children
Children applying to be matched with a mentor through Bridges Kinship Mentoring must meet the approval of staff and occasionally board of directors in the following areas:
- Is the child between the ages of 5 and 17? Preferably youth should be no older than 15 when a match is begun.
- Does he/she live in Itasca County?
- The child may be in a single parent home or have both parents in the home, or a parent and step parent/significant other, or may be in foster care placement. To the best of one’s ability to foresee, the child should be expected to remain in their current living situation, or – if moved to a new home environment – will still be in this geographic area so that a mentoring relationship could continue.
- Is the child able to connect with a mentor? (Severe attachment disorders may not work when the mentor is a volunteer and not trained to deal with such a disorder.)
- Are there particular needs the child has that may require specific experiences or training on the part of the mentor?
- Is the child in need of additional adult support in the form of a friend? Bridges volunteers go through a screening and training process but are not professional social workers or counselors.
- Is the family willing to support a mentor for their child by submitting an application, having a home visit by Bridges staff, signing release of information forms, having the child ready and available on a weekly or bi-weekly basis for a mentor to pick them up and connecting with the staff of Bridges to support and sustain the match?
- Has the family addressed or are they in the process of addressing needs that may be barriers to a long-term mentor relationship (such as having housing and a phone, counseling for family crisis such as recent deaths, physical and mental health or abuse situations)?
- If the family is unable to support a mentoring relationship, as addressed in items 7 and 9, School-based mentoring may be an appropriate alternative.
- If the child has access to positive role models, such as the significant other of a parent, an aunt or uncle they see regularly, the child’s needs may be determined to be less than another child on the wait list who would be prioritized.