As we previously reported here, Exodus president Alan Chambers writes in his new book:

Anyone, no matter his or her background, should be carefully screened before being entrusted with precious children. As with any childcare worker, criminal background checks should be done to ensure that the worker has no criminal history and especially no history of violence or abuse against children.

If only Exodus would practice what its president preaches.

Steve Boese of A Tenable Belief notes that — unlike reputable church and gay-youth programs — Exodus’ youth programs seem to have few published guidelines (possibly none at all) protecting youth participants from abuse and molestation.

Boese writes:

Now that Exodus leaders have spoken to the need to protect youth, I’d love to see them take a logical next step by publishing the minimum requirements of Exodus-affiliated programs which work with youth. Exodus already has requirements for churches wishing to join its network, such as:

The contact person for this area of ministry within the church must have a minimum of three years free from all immoral sexual behavior and meet Biblical standards of leadership.

Given their promotion of services and support for questioning youth, Exodus could follow its own advice by publishing answers to questions like these:

  • When parents follow the link labeled Find a ministry, counselor, or church in your area under the Youth heading of the Exodus home page, what does it mean when a ministry’s services are designated Adolescents:Y or Children of Gay Parents:Y?
  • What are the screening guidelines for adult volunteers and staffers of Exodus Member Ministries which serve adolescents?
  • Describe the minimum training requirements for volunteers/staff members having contact with youth.
  • What guidelines are in place when face-to-face or online contacts occur between the ministries’ adult volunteers/staff and youth?
  • What are the boundaries of appropriate touch (if touch is sanctioned at all) between adult leaders and youth?
  • Since some of the Exodus referral ministries serve adults struggling with pedophilia and sexual abuse, what guidelines prevent youth from being exposed to unscreened adults or age-inappropriate issues?

Poking around the Exodus and ExodusYouth web sites, I’m not finding any answers yet… looks like the time is ripe to change that!

Ex-Gay Watch wants to hear from both youths and adults who have attended Exodus-affiliated youth and live-in programs. What did you observe being done to protect youth participants from exposure to wayward adults? Did you personally witness or experience problems?

At your request, your observations will be held in confidence.

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