Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2019, $3,600,000)
The Mentoring Opportunities for Youth Initiative, Category 1 (National Mentoring Program) provides funding to support national mentoring organizations in their efforts to strengthen and/or expand their existing mentoring activities within local chapters or sub-awardees (in at least 45 states) to reduce juvenile delinquency, drug abuse (specifically opioid abuse), truancy, and other problem and high-risk behaviors. FY 2019 funding will address the factors that can lead to or serve as a catalyst for delinquency or other problem behaviors in underserved youth, including youth in high-risk environments. Programs are required to target American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) youth, and are also highly encouraged to target their mentoring services to children of parents on active military duty; children of incarcerated parents; youth with disabilities; youth impacted by opioids; and youth in rural communities. This program is authorized by Pub L. No. 116-6, 133 Stat. 13, 115.
National Court Appointed Special Advocate Association (National CASA) will implement a national mentoring project for children and youth in foster care. The target populations are older youth (ages 1217), urban youth, youth of color, American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) youth, and youth impacted by the opioid crisis. The project strategy is to fund subawards to local CASA programs and support those efforts via national program enhancement initiatives. Local CASA programs have various partners, most notably the court system. National CASA will contract with the national evaluation firm Child Trends for project assessment. Project goals include (1) increasing the number of Core Model CASA mentors that work with children in foster care to ensure permanency, safety, well-being; (2) increasing the number of CASA Life Skills mentors that work with children ages 1217 in foster care to ensure permanency, educational success, preparation for adulthood, and good physical and mental health; and (3) increasing the number of Life Skills Mentors that work with youth in foster care ages 1517 to prepare for a successful adulthood through the development of life skills, educational success, living wage employment, housing, and good physical and mental health. The projects objectives are the following: (1) Recruit, screen, train, and activate new Core Model CASA mentors, CASA Life Skills mentors, and Life Skills Mentors to serve children and youth. (2) Grant 2-year grant awards to established urban CASA programs to implement and expand mentoring services to children and youth. (3) Grant 2-year grant awards to established tribal and local rural programs to expand mentoring services to children and youth. (4) Enhance recruiting and training of CASA mentors in strategies with AI/AN youth, children of incarcerated parents, children at risk for child sex trafficking, and children impacted by the opioid epidemic. (5) Develop innovative new mentor models to mitigate the financial challenges associated with the engagement of CASA mentors in tribal communities and impoverished communities. (6) Enhance the innovative Life Skills Mentor model that utilizes former foster youth of color, who have achieved positive outcomes and successfully transitioned to adulthood. CA/NCF