Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2012, $499,994)
This program seeks to enhance what is understood about 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. Research is also needed to demonstrate the specific components of mentoring programs that have a significant impact in reducing juvenile delinquency and offending. This program funds research studies that will inform the design and delivery of mentoring programs. OJJDP expects 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 Justice Appropriations Act, 2012, Public Law 112-55.
Innovation Research & Training proposes to address two primary research questions on how - 1) mentees' initial relationship risk status and 2) mentor training and support - moderate effects of mentoring on outcomes for three populations including children of prisoners, youth in foster care, and juvenile offenders. The main outcomes include aggressive, delinquent, and substance abusing behaviors. This proposal, Mentee Risk Status and Mentor Training as Predictors of Youth Outcomes, includes the examination of these questions in the large MENTOR/National Mentoring Partnership's MentorPro and Big Brothers Big Sisters of America's AIM datasets. These datasets contain program characteristics and outcome data from mentoring programs across the Country. Data on mentor training and support practices will be collected using semi-structured interviews of staff members as well as content analyses of training manuals. Progress toward goals will be measured through delivery of practice-oriented recommendations and scientific reports on effect sizes used to create: 1) a Mentee Risk Index tool that can assist programs in selecting youth who may optimally benefit from having a mentor, and 2) research-based recommendations on the length, frequency, content, types, and methods of delivery of mentor training and support associated with high quality mentoring matches.