U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

Lessons Learned and Implications From a Cross-Site Evaluation of Mentoring With System-Involved Youth

NCJ Number
Date Published
May 2012
26 pages
This bulletin draws on recent experience in evaluating four projects that received federal grants under the Mentoring Initiative for System-involved Youth (MISY).
The bulletin first discusses the various interpretations of mentoring as a construct, including some of the newer theoretical constructs that may assist in analyzing the differences among programs. It then discusses the types of mentoring performed in the four MISY projects studied. The challenges of evaluating new or evolving mentoring programs conducted by small, nonprofit agencies are discussed, along with challenges in implementing rigorous quasi-experimental evaluation designs within evolving human services settings. Also discussed are the practical challenges of data collection at under-staffed or under-funded programs, along with difficulties associated with the use of self-report instruments with youth who have trust issues. The evaluation findings that show promising outcomes and practices are highlighted, with a focus on the assessment of the strength and quality of matches. The overall conclusion of the cross-site evaluation is that mentoring can benefit many youths and mentors in a variety of programs; however, these effects are not always measurable, no matter how strong the program. The long-term influence on the youths' lives and how they may relate to youth when they are adults requires further study based on structured interviews and examination of records, using longitudinal study where feasible. 18 references

Date Published: May 1, 2012