FAQs about Alateen

Answers for most questions about Alateen are in the Policies and Practices concerning Alateen booklet. All Alateen Group Sponsors have a copy of this booklet and should be familiar with the contents.

1. How do I find out where my nearest Alateen meeting is?
There are a limited number of meetings, mainly in large cities. Please phone the office (020 7593 2070) for further information.

2. How do I become an Alateen Group Sponsor?
Please contact GSO for an application form. Before going through the screening process, the basic requirements for becoming a Group Sponsor are:

  • being over 21 years old
  • have been in Al-Anon/Alateen for three years, attending meetings frequently and not a member of Alcoholics Anonymous

3. My Area has not had an Alateen Group for a long time and now we have some members who have teens interested in attending Alateen. What do we need to do to set up a meeting?
First you need the agreement of your Area; then you need to draft a plan showing how the Area will meet the requirements set out in the Policies and Practices concerning Alateen booklet available from GSO. The Area Assembly, Executive Committee and General Service Board must approve the plan. When that is done you will need to get one person screened as a Group Sponsor so they can be elected the Area Alateen Co-ordinator. Further Groups Sponsors
can then be screened.

4. How much does it cost for a DBS check and who pays?
It costs £42 and each check is valid for three years. The Area has to cover the cost of the checks. GSO will send an invoice to the Area once a check has been completed. If an applicant already has a DBS certificate AND has joined the DBS Updating Service, they can simply give GSO the number of their certificate
and it can be checked online free of charge. Al-Anon use Human Resources Background Checks (HRBC) as an “umbrella body” for our checks. We do insufficient checks each year to be a “registered body”. HRBC also provide advice to GSO when the system changes, which is really helpful in interpreting the law.

5. I’m rotating off as Area Alateen Co-ordinator at the next Area Assembly. One of the other sponsors is prepared to take on the role but not for six months. Can the meetings go ahead in the interim?
No - the meetings will need to be suspended until an Alateen Co-ordinator is in post.

6. We have someone who wants to become an Alateen Group Sponsor but has been in Al-Anon for only 2 years. Is it OK for her to start going through the screening process as she will have been in for three years when it is completed?
No. Prospective Group Sponsors should not start going through the screening process until they attended Al-Anon meetings for a minimum of three years.

7. I am an Area Alateen Co-ordinator and one Group Sponsor has not attended training in either my Area or any other for two years. What should I do?
Try to find out why the Group Sponsor hasn’t been to the training sessions and explain that attending training is compulsory for all Group Sponsors. The
consequences of not attending this year means they will be removed from the register. If you are unable to talk to them, please ask GSO to remove them from the Register of Screened Sponsors.

8. If only one sponsor turns up for an Alateen meeting can the meeting go ahead?

No. The teens and the sponsor should join the Al- Anon meeting.

9. What should a Group sponsor do if a child shares about abuse?
Contact your Area Alateen Co-ordinator for further advice and make a note of what was said and what you did. Keep calm, don’t be shocked and try to act normally. Do not make promises of secrecy. Offer immediate support, understanding and reassurance. Encourage the Alateen member to contact the appropriate agencies who will help them. Do not push for information. Make a brief record of the conversation and report accurately to GSO.

10. We have an Alateen who is attending meetings without the consent of their parent/guardian. What should we do?
Alateen is a safe place for teens to be. All Group Sponsors should be aware of the situation as it should be discussed at the regular Sponsors’ meetings

11. Why can’t children under 12 attend Alateen meetings?
Children under 12 are welcome at open Alateen meetings if accompanied by a responsible adult other than one of the Groups Sponsors. For under 12s the child protection safeguards are different which is why they cannot attend on their own.

12. I am the convener for a convention and we want to have an Alateen meeting. How do I go about getting Group Sponsors to attend?
Contact your Area Alateen Co-ordinator or, if you do not have Alateen in your Area, contact GSO to find out your nearest Area with Alateen. If Group Sponsors are attending the convention you need to check with GSO that they are on the register.

13. Our group has had a Group Conscience and decided not to allow teenagers into our meeting. Please can you put a note on the website to that effect?
No as this would be against Tradition Five. Anyone who has been affected by someone else’s drinking is welcome in an Al-Anon meeting.

14. Can a dual member become an Alateen Group Sponsor?
No. AA made the decision in the mid 90s that it was inappropriate for their members to be Group Sponsors.

15. Can an AA meeting start an Alateen Group?

No. Every Alateen meeting has to be attached to an existing Al-Anon meeting and held at the same time, day and venue just in case the Group Sponsors are
delayed for any reason. This means there is a safe place for the teens to go either until the Group Sponsors arrive or they are collected from the meeting.

Al-Anon Helpline

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0800 0086 811

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