Jump directly to the content

"I Can't Promise Not to Tell"

Youth workers have ethical and legal duties they must fulfill.

"I Can't Promise Not to Tell"

Most teens struggling with a problem aren't going to set up a formal counseling appointment. Instead, they might drop hints during a group discussion or approach you quietly after youth group. Some might share what's troubling them only if you promise you won't tell their parents or anyone else.

That's a dangerous—if not impossible—promise to keep.

Most states have laws requiring certain professionals, such as doctors, teachers, and police, to alert authorities if they suspect that a child is being abused physically, sexually, or emotionally. In many states, these laws extend to pastors, childcare providers, and youth workers. "If you're a mandated reporter and fail to comply, you place yourself, your ministry, and its leadership in jeopardy," authors Rich Van Pelt and Jim Hancock write in The Youth Worker's Guide to Helping Teenagers in Crisis. ...

Join now to access this member-only content

Become a Member

Already a member? for full access.

Related ResourcesVisit Store

2020 Human Resource Bundle
2020 Human Resource Bundle
Your one-stop-shop for Human Resource knowledge.
Using Social Media Safely
Using Social Media Safely
Policies to keep your church staff and members safe when using social media.
Mandatory Child Abuse Reporting Laws
Mandatory Child Abuse Reporting Laws
State by state laws to report child abuse.
Your Guide to Employee Handbooks
Your Guide to Employee Handbooks
If updated regularly, an employee handbook can offer valuable legal protection against civil court claims made by disgruntled staff members.