Based on a literature review of research on juvenile mentoring programs, this paper discusses the theoretical foundation for such programs, mentoring models, the target population, and research evidence on outcomes of mentoring programs for participating youth.
The goal of mentoring programs is to provide youth with positive non-parental adult models for positive behaviors, attitudes, and constructive guidance in dealing with troublesome issues. Various mentoring models are being used. "Informal mentoring" occurs whenever a youth has an ongoing relationship with an older person (e.g., a teacher, coach, or family friend) who provides guidance to the youth. The mentoring occurs through frequent, unstructured contacts with the adult in the course of a youth's routine activities. "Formal mentoring" occurs when programs provide volunteer mentors who are assigned to mentor selected youth at-risk for delinquent behavior. Such programs include recruitment of youth and volunteer mentors, the training of volunteer mentors, guidelines for matching volunteers and youth, and ongoing monitoring and training. Mentoring volunteers and youth agree to meet regularly to engage in various activities together. Several models of formal mentoring are "community-based mentoring" and "school-based mentoring." Some less popular and more recent mentoring models include "group mentoring," in which one mentor meets with a group of youth; "e-mentoring," in which the mentoring pair communicate through the Internet; and "peer mentoring," which uses other youth as mentors. A meta-analysis of evaluations of mentoring programs conducted in 2002 concluded that mentoring programs have only a modest or small benefit for the average youth (DuBois et al., 2002). Highly structured programs that included support for mentors produced the strongest effects. Based on this literature review, this paper recommends documenting implementation protocols, providing training and support programs for mentors, the development of strategies for reducing attrition of volunteers, and designing rigorous evaluations of outcomes and moderators of outcomes. 18 references
Report (Technical Assistance)
Report (Grant Sponsored)
Date Published: February 1, 2011