Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2009, $453,713)
One of the major challenges that foster care children often face in their personal development is the lack of the involvement of a consistent, caring adult in their lives. The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) will assist communities in establishing or expanding mentoring and support services for youth in foster care and foster care youth involved in the juvenile justice system. The legislative authority for this initiative can be found in the Department of Justice Appropriations Act, 2009, Pub. L. 111-8.
The Guidance Center, a Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) of America National affiliate, will expand and enhance mentoring services to reach 45-50 youth ages 6-17 who are involved in the foster care system located in Jefferson, Elk and McKean Counties, Pennsylvania. Goals are to provide quality, one-to-one, supportive mentoring services and to establish and strengthen collaborative partnerships. Volunteer recruitment strategies will reach out to natural mentors within identified children's existing social networks. Services will be enhanced through partnership development with Children and Youth Service agencies to improve mentor training, staff training and service coordination. Support will be provided to mentors, youth, and their families/caregivers through increased contact, case management and supports. Collaborative partnerships will be strengthened by engaging youth in program planning through participation in the BBBS Task Force and Integrated Children's Services Planning groups. Anticipated outcomes are reduced substance abuse and juvenile delinquency, improved academic performance, increased school attendance, and enhanced family and peer relationships among children served. Indicators of quality and success will be tracked through mentor training hours, frequency of match interaction, match retention at 12 months, match satisfaction, and match quality. Youth behavior change will be the primary outcome measured using the Program Outcome-Based Evaluation assessment. CA/NCF