Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2019, $500,000)
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. 116-6, 133 Stat. 13, 115.
Justice Resource Institute, Inc. (JRI) will provide its Trauma-Informed Mentoring Program for youth involved in the juvenile justice system in partnership with the Suffolk County District Attorneys Office (SCDAO) and the Massachusetts Department of Youth Services (DYS). The target population is juvenile justice system-involved youth, ages 17 and under, screened as being low risk to public safety who are in need of and most appropriate for community-based supervision or diversion services. SCDAO will refer youth who are eligible for diversion and are pre-arraignment. Youth referred by DYS will be committed youth who are returning to their community after completing the residential portion of their treatment with DYS. The project will provide trauma-informed, strengths-based mentoring to assist youth in dealing with daily social and emotional challenges, resulting in (1) improved school performance as measured by school records and communication with school officials; (2) increased employment/job skills as measured by client report and program records; (3) increased social competence/self-regulation and coping skills/prosocial behaviors as measured by validated pre- and post-measurement instruments and reports from school officials or other providers in the youths life; and (4) decreased engagement in delinquent behaviors as measured by police records and/or communication with partnering juvenile justice agencies. The project aims to provide individual mentoring to 90135 juvenile justice system-involved youth over the 3-year project period. Mentors will conduct comprehensive assessment and trauma screening with each mentee/family and engage in a collaborative process to identify strengths, needs, culture and vision, and co-develop individual goals and action plans. While engaging mentees in activities in the community, mentors facilitate the development of social skills, problem-solving plans, and the ability to form healthy relationships. The program will also work with local police to create opportunities for youth and police to have positive interactions with each other. CA/NCF