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Strengthening mentoring programs for at-risk youth through human capital supports: A large-scale randomized field experiment in Chicago

Award Information

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Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2012, $499,050)

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.

In the field of mentoring research, little is known about the degree to which development of academic and social-cognitive skills have synergistic (more-than-additive) effects. This proposal seeks support for our research team to design, implement, and analyze data from this experiment to address the following questions: 1) Can a structured mentoring program that is aimed at increasing not only social capital, but also academic skills and social-cognitive skills, generate sustained reductions in youth involvement with violent offending and delinquent behavior; and 2) What is the relative cost-effectiveness and benefit-cost ratios of structured mentoring programs with different skill development foci, and how do these compare to other crime control strategies? This proposal includes a partnership with the MacArthur Foundation, which will provide additional support for cost related to structured mentoring interventions.

Date Created: September 5, 2012