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Researching the Referral Stage of Youth Mentoring in Six Juvenile Justice Settings: An Exploratory Analysis

NCJ Number
Date Published
October 2012
190 pages
This final report presents the results of a study that examined the referral stage in youth mentoring in six juvenile justice settings.
Key findings from this study on the referral stage in youth mentoring in a juvenile justice setting include the following: there are seven distinct, though not uniform, steps in most referral processes from point of identification to mentoring relationship matching; youth mentoring is tends to be gender segregated and overwhelmingly voluntary; the majority of mentoring is delivered by national level youth service organizations such as Boys & Girls Clubs and Big Brothers Big Sisters; and the majority of mentoring settings utilize similar assessment criteria for determining suitability of referred youth for mentoring services. Additionally, the study found that intake and assessment of youth should precede referral; that more youth are deemed eligible for referral than are ultimately matched with a mentor; that the most pressing obstacle to matching is a shortage of qualified mentors, particularly African-American males; and that the most common reasons youth are not referred for mentoring services include violence, substance abuse and mental health issues. This study had four primary objectives: identify the best practices for referring youth to mentoring programs, determine the capacity of the mentoring community to support youth identified for mentoring, examine the quality of mentoring programs, and identify the intermediate outcomes achieved by mentoring. Data for the study were obtained from site visits to six juvenile justice settings and results of a national survey on mentoring referral practices and related program capacity issues. The study's findings are discussed in detail in the final section of the report. The findings suggest that mentoring is gaining traction throughout the juvenile justice system as one component of a holistic approach to delinquency prevention and intervention. Implications for policy are discussed. Tables, figures, references, and appendixes

Date Published: October 1, 2012