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Codes of Ethics for Adults in Youth Ministry

Adults working with youth bear a special responsibility in fostering youth spiritual development and modeling healthy behavior.

A code of conduct should address:

  • A statement of the program’s philosophy of shared youth-adult leadership
  • Responsibilities as adult
  • Never being alone with youth
  • No abuse, harassment, and bullying by adults including exploitation of youth once they become adults
  • Appropriate physical boundaries with youth
  • No sexualized or seductive behavior with youth
  • Staying in “adult role”
  • Adult discretion in sharing details of their personal lives
  • Self-care
  • Holding youth confidences and when confidences must be shared with supervising staff
  • Unofficial contact with youth: only in public, and with supervising staff and parental knowledge
  • Following other policies such as electronic communication policies

Sample Codes of Ethics

Next Recommended Practice: Participant Covenant for Youth Events

About the Author

UUA Congregational Life Staff Group

The regional Congregational Life staff are congregations' local connection to the UUA. All of the program Congregational Life staff have expertise in most aspects of congregational life and each also has a few program areas of expertise. See the...

For more information contact safecongregations@uua.org.