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Random-Assignment Evaluation of Paid Mentoring: Process, Outcome and Cost-Effectiveness

Award Information

Award #
Awardee County
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2009, $3,499,898)

The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) seeks to enhance what is known about mentoring as a prevention strategy for juvenile delinquency. While mentoring appears to be a promising intervention for disadvantaged youth, more evaluation work is needed to determine the components of a mentoring program that are necessary for bringing about positive youth development. OJJDP seeks proposals to evaluate the effectiveness of paid versus volunteer mentors within an existing mentoring program. The evaluator will conduct both a process and an outcome evaluation measuring the success of both paid and volunteer mentor programs in preventing delinquency. This initiative is authorized by the Department of Justice Appropriations Act, 2009, Pub. L. 111-8.

RTI International and Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Triangle (BBBS-T) will conduct a comprehensive randomized controlled trial of paid versus volunteer mentoring. The project will add paid mentoring to the well-established BBBS-T mentoring program and randomly assign youth to one of three groups: (1) paid mentor, (2) volunteer mentor, or (3) control group. The evaluation will use data from multiple perspectives and sources (youth, mentor, and parent self-reports; school data; juvenile justice data) collected at multiple times. Study components are: Process Evaluation assessing effects of paying mentors on recruitment, retention, and quality of mentor/mentee interactions; Outcome Evaluation assessing group differences on delinquency, aggression, substance use, school performance, and positive youth development; and Cost-effectiveness Analysis comparing groups' incremental costs of improvement in outcomes. An Advisory Board will provide expertise on implementing paid mentoring; evaluation design; data collection, analysis, and interpretation; and dissemination. The study builds on BBBS-T's 1,000-plus mentoring relationships annually, access to numerous additional potential mentors, infrastructure, and commitment to innovation. RTI's evaluation team offers expertise in research on youth delinquency and development; community based evaluations including randomized controlled trials; rigorous data collection; cutting-edge statistical analysis; effective dissemination; and working with expert panels to optimize studies. CA/NCF

Date Created: September 17, 2009