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Final Technical Report: An Evaluation of Advocacy-based Mentoring as a Treatment Intervention for Chronic Delinquency

NCJ Number
Michael J. Karcher Ed.D; David A. Johnson Ph.D.
Date Published
November 2016
139 pages
The findings and methodology are presented for an evaluation of the effectiveness of youth advocacy in general and specifically as delivered through the Youth Advocate Programs, Inc. (YAP), a national nonprofit organization that is active in 20 States in providing a treatment intervention (advocacy-based mentoring) intended to reduce serious and chronic delinquency for court-referred youth.

YAP processes and outcomes were examined in four cities located in separate regions of the Nation. This report advises that for various stated reasons, it could not include data and conclusions related to program implementation fidelity or propensity score analyses of causal effects; consequently, the data were insufficient to cross check findings or reach reliable conclusions; however, another quasi-experimental design was used to estimate program causal effects, thus allowing Study 1 to address program impact. Study 2 used program activities and participant characteristics in explaining the changes reported in Study 1. Findings from Study 1 indicate that YAP participation was related to several self-reported outcomes, including improvements in academic adjustment and declines in self-reported misconduct. Equally large and consistent were improvements in criminal behavior, educational engagement, and pursuit of employment at the time of discharge. Several benefits of program participation were maintained 12 months after discharge. YAP is a mentoring program that targets youth already involved in or at-risk of becoming involved in the juvenile justice system. Mentors are recruited and selected from the same zip codes as those they mentor. The mentoring focus is on the youth's compliance with court-mandated requirements, the strengthening of the youth's family and community relations, and interaction with community resources that deter harmful behavior and sustain positive behaviors after program completion. Approximately 50 tables, 18 figures, 31 references, and 8 appendixes with supplementary data and methodological materials