Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2010, $999,907)
This program seeks to enhance the understanding of mentoring as a prevention strategy for youth who are at risk of involvement or already involved in the juvenile justice system. While mentoring appears to be a promising intervention for youth, more evaluation work is needed to further highlight the components of a mentoring program that are most effective. In addition, there is a need for research specifically demonstrating the components of mentoring programs that have a significant impact in reducing juvenile delinquency and offending. This solicitation seeks to fund research studies on juvenile mentoring that will inform the design and delivery of mentoring programs. It is expected that the results of this effort will encourage a more effective utilization of resources as well as enhance the implementation of evidence-based best practices for juvenile mentoring. This program is authorized under the Department of Justice Appropriations Act, 2010, Pub. L. 111-117.
The proposed project will evaluate the feasibility and impact of introducing youth-centered match support practices into the Big Brothers Big Sisters of America (BBBSA) community-based mentoring program. The youth-centered match support enhancement and related resource materials will be grounded in a conceptual framework of "youth thriving" within adult-youth relationships. Using a randomized matched-pairs design at the agency level, one BBBSA affiliate within each pair will be randomly assigned to the intervention condition and the other will serve as part of the control condition (n=15 agencies per condition). Thirty youth ages 10-16 determined to be at-risk for delinquency will be sequentially enrolled at each agency. Youth and mentoring relationship outcomes will be assessed at baseline, three months (relationship quality only), and one year using agency records and expanded versions of standardized assessment tools that are part of existing agency work flow. A comprehensive process evaluation will assess the extent and quality of implementation, participant exposure and response to enhancement activities, and differentiation from existing practices. Progress toward project goals will be assessed via documentation of rigorous execution of all planned research procedures, evidence of high-fidelity implementation of the enhancement by intervention agencies, and dissemination of findings to scientific and practitioner audiences