FREQUENLY ASKED QUESTIONS
How much time does a volunteer mentor need to commit?
We ask people interested in becoming a volunteer mentor for a minimum commitment of 12 months. This is so the mentor and the young person have an opportunity to build a stable and successful relationship that achieves positive sustainable outcomes for the young person.
If you think that there is a likelihood of your circumstances changing and that you may only be able to commit for a short time, becoming a mentor may not be the role for you.
How often does the volunteer mentor visit the young person?
On average we ask that the mentor visits the young person once every two weeks. A decision to increase or decrease contact would be made in collaboration with the mentor, young person and mentor program coordinator on a case by case basis. Each visit usually lasts a few hours.
Does the volunteer mentor need to pay anything?
The Department of Communities will refund the expenses that you and the young person incur during visits within an pre-agreed amount. Typically expenses cover vehicle mileage, food, beverages and activities. If you're unsure whether something is included in allowable expenses, contact the mentor program coordinator beforehand and ask.
How far does the volunteer mentor need to travel?
When we meet with you for the first time, we will discuss your preferences with regard to travel distances. It is important to be aware, however, that young people in care sometimes move placements and there would be an expectation that you to continue visiting them if this happens. Before applying to become a volunteer mentor you will need to consider whether or not you would be prepared to travel further if this was to occur.
What qualification and experience does a volunteer mentor need?
You don’t need any formal qualifications to be a volunteer mentor and training is provided before you are matched with a young person. However, if you have relevant qualifications or experience this will be an advantage.
What does screening mean?
Departmental checks on potential volunteer mentors are thorough. We will check police records and the child protection databases to see if there are any concerns. If you suspect that there are any issues that may arise when these checks are carried out, it’s best that you speak to the mentor program coordinator and make them aware of these in advance.
Does the volunteer mentor get to choose the young person he/she mentors?
The mentor does have significant input into the child or young person they are matched with but the final decision regarding matches is made by the mentor program coordinator. When a possible match is identified we will contact you and give you some non-identifying details about the young person. This is then your opportunity to say if there are any reasons why you think the match would not work for you.