Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2011, $283,987)
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 by the Department of Defense and Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act, 2011, Pub. L. 112-110.
The University of Texas at San Antonio is proposing to identify best practices elements of advocacy programs and assess its impact within the context of advanced delinquency intervention services delivered by Youth Advocate Programs, Inc. (YAP), a national youth development non-profit organization active in 16 states and the District of Columbia. YAP targets chronic delinquents subject to compulsory care (i.e., court mandated treatment) for program participation as an alternative to institutional placement. The proposed project is a multi-site, mixed methods research design to assess the quality and characteristics of advocacy-based treatment and the effectiveness of advocacy services in five YAP programs in separate regions of the country (Fort Worth, TX; Mobile, AL; Las Vegas, NV; Atlantic City, NJ; and Toledo, OH). This study builds on previous research that indicates that advocacy programs are more effective than programs that do not employ advocacy as a primary mentoring technique. However, the applicant underscores that very little is known about the types of advocacy interactions that constitute effective mentoring.