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Mentoring in Juvenile Treatment Drug Courts: Strategies and Tips

NCJ Number
Date Published
Logan A. Yelderman, MA and Douglas Thomas, MS, MPA
This brief provides tools, tips, and strategies for jurisdictions interested in beginning a mentoring program within a juvenile treatment drug court (JTDC) and those that wish to improve current mentoring programs within a JTDC.
Research has identified key characteristics of successful mentoring programs, including length of the mentoring relationship, gender matching, cross-generational relationship, relationship styles, communication styles, education focus, and connections with socializing agents in the community. This brief discusses the features of each of these practices. Best practices for mentoring based on evidence-based research are also outlined. The use of evidence-based practices in mentoring has proven to result in mentees’ prosocial behaviors in school and the community, an increase in a sense of self-worth, improved communication skills, and a long-term contribution to society. JTDCs have certain structures that enable them to incorporate many of these processes into their existing practice; however, there are challenges to implementing some of these practices. Twelve characteristics of effective organizations are listed, which are particularly beneficial when introducing and operating a mentoring program within a JTDC. From December 2013 to January 2014, members of the staff of the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (NCJFCJ) conducted 10 on-site technical assistance visits to JTDCs with mentoring programs, hosting team members from these sites for focus groups. Based on these focus groups, this brief reports on key components of mentoring programs within JTDCs, including mission and goals; program models; recruiting, screening, and matching procedures; collaboration; and community support. Tips are then offered for starting a mentoring program. 30 notes
Date Created: August 24, 2015