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In a 2011 meta-analysis of mentoring program evaluations, Dubois et al. found that, overall, mentoring has a positive, although relatively modest, effect.1 The authors also examined the moderators of mentoring program effectiveness to identify elements of mentoring that may be associated with stronger, positive effects. Based on this new information about the importance of moderators, OJJDP incorporated practical recommendations about evidence-based mentoring practices (such as the need for training, parental engagement, and support) into its 2012, 2013, and 2014 multi-state and national mentoring programmatic solicitations.
However, OJJDP also recognized that what is understood regarding the correlation between moderators and positive effects is limited and that gaps exist in how OJJDP can help practitioners operationalize these moderators at a programmatic level. Consequently, in 2012, in consultation with the meta-analysis' lead author, OJJDP launched a rigorous randomized demonstration field experiment-the Mentoring Enhancement Demonstration Program and evaluation-to study two mentoring moderators in more detail: (1) using mentors in an advocacy role and (2) using mentors in a teaching or information provision role.
OJJDP anticipates that findings from this study will inform the training and technical assistance that OJJDP provides to grantees and OJJDP's programmatic mentoring solicitations.
1 DuBois, D.L., Portillo, N., Rhodes, J.E., Silverthorn, N., and Valentine, J.C. 2011. "How Effective Are Mentoring Programs for Youth? A Systematic Assessment of the Evidence." Psychological Science in the Public Interest 12(2):57-91.