Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2018, $474,489)
The Mentoring Opportunities for Youth Initiative, Category 3 (Mentoring Programs for Youth Involved in the Juvenile Justice System) provides funding to support youth mentoring organizations that have a demonstrated partnership with a juvenile justice agency. The focus is to provide mentoring services to those youth screened as being low risk to public safety by a juvenile justice agency as part of an overall diversion approach with a goal of rehabilitation and accountability. This program is authorized and funded pursuant to Pub. L. No. 115-141, 132 Stat. 348, 423.
The Center for Family Services (CFS) proposes to implement Reach for Success, a mentoring-based program, to deliver effective solutions that empower individuals and strengthen families for Camden City youth ages 8-17, who are involved in the juvenile justice system. The program will improve academic outcomes, wellbeing, and quality of life for participating youth. Only youth who have been screened as being at low risk to public safety will be enrolled in the program. The program will engage in recruitment and screening of mentors/mentees, mentor and staff training, matching and initiation activities, monitoring and support for mentors, closure, family engagement efforts/activities, and evaluation of their ability to meet the stated outcomes. Funds will not be used for research. Mentors and program staff will ensure that mentees and their families are connected to all wraparound services needed to support their success in improving family functioning and meeting the individualized goals that program youth and their families set for themselves. CFS will utilize evidence-based practices (EBPs) and will measure progress towards goals and objectives. CFS plans to 1) provide one-on-one and/or group mentoring services to 120 youth in the focus population, 2) match 90% of youth with a mentor, 3) ensure that 85% of program youth complete program requirements, 4) recruit 40 mentors in year one, with a 10% increase annually, 5) train at least 50 mentors, 6) ensure that 100% of trained program mentors demonstrate an increased knowledge of EBPs and best practices, 7) retain 80% of trained mentors, 8) engage community partners in the mentoring program, 9) ensure that 85% of youth do not re-offend during their first six months in the program, 10) ensure that at least 85% of youth demonstrate a desire to change their behavior and/or evidence of changes in behavior in accordance with personal goals they set when they enter the program, 11) ensure that 80% of youth are enrolled in an educational/vocational program and/or are employed, and 12) maintain family involvement.