The Exodus standards for programs involving youth

I have read with interest posts on several blogs about Exodus International and guidelines for programs involving youth. I requested a copy of the standards that Exodus hold ministries to and they sent them along with permission to post them here. Most member ministries have already agreed to adhere to them. At renewal of membership, a ministry must agree to any changes. February, 2007 will complete the renewal process for all current member ministries.

11 thoughts on “The Exodus standards for programs involving youth”

  1. Alan: What I said was that in the first years of EXODUS we did not work with kids, only adults. At least, EXIT did not. Even so, I know for a fact that a few of the adult workers had sex with adult clients and a few of the adult workers even had sex with each other. But we avoided working with kids. It just seemed to be too big of a risk — for the kids and for EXODUS.

    You said: “Michael, there was no prohibition for ministries to work with kids.” You are right. We had no official prohibitions. We just didn’t do it. EXODUS was very new and we didn’t want to risk child abuse or allegations of child abuse.

    Three decades later, I still don’t think it’s a smart idea for men (who are still struggling with gay “temptations”) to be working with emotionally troubled and vulnerable boys who are struggling with the very same temptations. In the privacy of a counseling room, all sorts of things can happen.

  2. Alan,

    While there’s plenty of room for improvement, I’m glad to see the progress thus far.

  3. I noticed there is a Parental Consent requirement, but no explicit statement about the consent of the youth involved.

    While it is implied because the youth has to sign confidentiality and boundary agreements, I think an explicit statement about the youth’s consent to treatment would be appropriate.

  4. Oh, and Gordo…pastoral references and other references have always been a part of the process.

    Michael, there was no prohibition for ministries to work with kids. When we started seeing that ministries were we began drafting the policies. The ones we have will continue to strengthen.

  5. Timothy,

    Nothing slipped my mind—there wasn’t an incident at an Exodus Member Ministry. Two people met there and months (maybe a year) later they actually hooked up.

    As for dropping a ministry, that happens at renewal. Come February, I imagine there will be fewer Exodus Member Ministries.


  6. What has been put into place to enfoce the guidelines? How do we know what the complaints are? How do parents know what members have complaints against them? Who tracks and manages these complaints?

    Having guidelines on paper is cute, but useless if they are not able to enforce them. I fail to see the structure in the organizations that will assure us these are being followed. Without that is place, kids are still at risk.

  7. The 40 yo and 17 yo met through an Exodus program and must have had some contact. Yet though Exodus insists that without these safeguards in place a member group would be dropped.

    I’ve not heard that Exodus dropped any affiliate member. It must have slipped Alan’s mind.

    In the same way that the whole incident slipped Alan’s mind when he claimed as Ex-Gay Watch last month that Exodus has never had any inappropriate incident between minors and adults.

  8. Not sure, exactly but they have been in place long enough that nearly all member ministries have been through the renewal process by now under these guidelines. All will have renewed membership under them by February, 2007.

  9. EXODUS is a program which attracts troubled kids with sexual issues — and, in all likelihood, some adult volunteers who are also troubled and have sexual issues. With this in mind, EXODUS should have published clear guidelines years ago, before these recent allegations of “abuse’ or misconduct. It’s a lawsuit waiting to happen. When I was with EXODUS, we didn’t work with kids, for just these reasons.

    Any EXODUS worker who deals with such kids should, of course, have at LEAST criminial background checks. As a Case Manager with the Big Brothers/Big Sisters program, we required: background checks, 3 letters of personal reference (including each applicant’s next door neighbor), psychological testing including the MMPI and other psychological tests (reviewed by a clinical psychologist), two screeniing interviews with separate interviewers, an intensive training program and a final review by the selection commitee. Then, we had ongoiing reviews with the kid, the partents and the volunteer — individually and together — on a regular basis. Accurate files were kept of all these interactions. Even with all of this, we couldn’t be completely sure that kids were safe.

    So, we had a protocol for responding to any allegations of misconduct. This included the requirement that any “reaonable suspicion of abuse” had to be reported to the police and CPS with 24 hours. Whoever gets the information FIRST is the one who should call. We should NEVER trust that someone ELSE has made the offical notification.

  10. 1. Criminal background checks,

    2. Segregation of youth in small group sessions

    I expected something more comprehensive like pastoral references for all adult workers, guidelines for one-on-one counselling between youth and counsellors, guidelines for inter-action between youths, confidentiality agreements, parental notification policies, record keeping requirements, etc.

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