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Mentoring Initiative for System-Involved Youth (MISY)

NCJ Number
Date Published
August 2010
125 pages
This report presents the methodology and findings of the cross-site evaluation of the implementation and outcomes of four programs established under the Mentoring Initiative for System-Involved Youth (MISY) funded by the U.S. Justice Department's Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) from September 2008 to August 2010.
The four programs, which were located across the United States, served two primary types of youth, those involved in the foster care system and those involved in or at-high risk for involvement in the juvenile justice system. Two programs that served system-involved youth were for males only, ages 12 to 18 years old; the other two programs served both male and female youth. The common goal of the four programs was to establish and manage mentoring relationships with the youth that would provide the guidance and support needed for the development of positive attitudes and behaviors. Overall, evaluation results do not indicate that the MISY program as a whole, or for specific grantees, had a strong measurable impact on the targeted outcomes for youth participants, i.e., significant improvements in academic achievement and character development; however, the qualitative and process data show that both youth and mentors gave high marks to the mentoring relationship, and each of the four projects completed a substantial number of intensive mentoring activities. All four of the programs faced similar implementation challenges, including insufficient staff, engagement requirements for parents and foster parents, additional demands resulting from low academic competence/literacy, residence changes for youths' families that involved school changes, and length of time for background checks on prospective mentors. Evaluation challenges are also discussed. The evaluation methodology is described in detail, and recommendations are provided for improving mentoring implementation and outcomes. 30 tables, 17 figures, 9 references, and appended mentoring program challenges and suggestions, evaluation materials, and sample stories

Date Published: August 1, 2010