Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2009, $166,660)
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 Children's Home Society of Florida is proposing to enhance its successful mentoring programs, one of which focuses on youth in foster care, ages 16-17, by expanding current services to provide mentors for 110 youth in foster care, ages 13'17. The purpose of this program is to provide mentoring and support services for youth in the foster care system to prevent their involvement in the juvenile justice system. Mentors will provide at least one hour per week of volunteer support for two years. Mentoring services will be targeted to youth in Palm Beach County where, as of January 2009, 1,349 children of the 2,212 children who were found by the court to be the victims of abuse or neglect have remained out of the care of their parents due to ongoing risk of abuse.
The goals of the proposed Mentors Opening Doors, Enriching Lives program (MODEL) are 1) to promote constructive, non risk-taking behaviors of youth in foster care; 2) to promote positive, healthy relationships between foster care youth and adults; and 3) to prevent juvenile delinquency of youth in foster care through mentoring. Progress will be measured through surveys, self-reports, and staff ratings.