Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2016, $1,249,334)
The Mentoring Opportunities for Youth Initiative, Category 3 (Collaborative Mentoring Program) provides funding to support organizations that form a collaborative of at least three and as many as five mentoring organizations in their efforts to strengthen and/or expand their existing mentoring programs to reduce juvenile delinquency, drug abuse, truancy, and other problem and high-risk behaviors. FY 2016 funding will address the factors that can lead to or serve as a catalyst for delinquency or other problem behaviors for at-risk and high-risk youth.
Children in Bridgeport, New Haven, New Britain, and Waterbury, Connecticut, four of the states highest poverty areas, face disproportionate rates of violence, fewer educational opportunities, lower academic achievement, and high rates of involvement in the juvenile justice system. Mentoring NOW (New Opportunities Work) proposes to improve outcomes through quality mentoring for 510 youth between ages 6 and 17 over a 3-year period by enhancing mentoring through the use of youth-initiated mentoring and increased family engagement across all Elements of Effective Practice for Mentoring. The targeted youth are already system-involved youth, either referred by Court Support Services of the Judicial Branch, Department of Children and Families, or a Juvenile Review Board. The four collaborative providers, who provide one-on-one, community-based mentoring services enhanced by group activities, are experienced in serving at-risk youth and have demonstrated quality mentoring practices through their participation in the states Juvenile Justice Mentoring Network. After a short (3-6 month) planning phase, Mentoring NOW providers will implement youth-initiated mentoring as a primary source of mentor recruitment for all youth referred based on training provided to the collaborative and protocols established. In addition, with support from a Family Engagement Consultant, programs will increase family engagement with a focus on cultural responsiveness to African American and Latino families. Program outcomes will be reviewed at least annually, and at the end of the grant period, it is expected that the protocols, materials, and training developed will be implemented to additional providers serving system-involved youth throughout the state of Connecticut. CA/NCF