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A Positive Guiding Hand: A Qualitative Examination of Youth-Initiated Mentoring and the Promotion of Interdependence Among Foster Care Youth.

NCJ Number
Children and Youth Services Review Volume: 93 Dated: 2018 Pages: 41-50
Renee. Spencer; Alison L. Drew; Grace Gowdy; John P. Horn
Date Published
10 pages
This qualitative interview study examined experiences of youth-initiated mentoring relationships (YIM) among youth transitioning out of the foster care system.
YIM is an innovative approach wherein programs work with youth to identify adults within their existing social networks to serve as their mentors in the formal program. Participants were 13 mentor-youth dyads involved in a pilot trial of YIM in a mid-western city. Youth and mentors completed one-time, in-depth individual interviews. Narrative thematic analysis of the interview data yielded the following major findings: (a) youth overwhelmingly reported having a strong or very strong relationship with their mentor, (b) these relationships offered a number of forms of social support to the youth (i.e., appraisal, companionship, emotional, informational, and instrumental), and (c) the mentor was perceived to have positively impacted the youth during the course of the relationship in multiple ways, including the youth's psychological well-being, relationships with others, and beliefs about and orientation toward the future. These findings suggest that YIM is a promising approach for establishing meaningful and impactful connections that may promote interdependence for older foster care youth as they make the transition to adulthood. (publisher abstract modified)