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Supporting Mentoring Relationships of Youth in Foster Care: Do Program Practices Predict Match Length?

NCJ Number
American Journal of Community Psychology Volume: 61 Issue: 3 Dated: 2018 Pages: 398-410
Rebecca L. Stelter; Janis B. Kupersmidt; Kathryn N. Stump
Date Published
13 pages
This study assessed benchmark program practices and standards in the Elements of Effective Practice for Mentoring, 3rd Edition (MENTOR, 2009) as predictors of match longevity.
The implementation of research and safety based program practices enhance the longevity of mentoring relationships, in general; however, little is known about how mentoring programs might support the relationships of mentees in foster care. In the current study, secondary data analyses were conducted on a national agency information management database from 216 Big Brothers Big Sisters agencies serving 641 youth in foster care and 70,067 youth not in care from across the United States (Mean = 11.59 years old at the beginning of their matches) in one-to-one, community-based (55.06 percent) and school or site-based (44.94 percent) matches. Mentees in foster care had shorter matches and matches that were more likely to close prematurely than mentees who were not in foster care. Agency leaders from 32 programs completed a web-based survey describing their policies and practices. The sum total numbers of Benchmark program practices and Standards were associated with match length for 208 mentees in foster care; however, neither predicted premature match closure. Results are discussed in terms of how mentoring programs and their staff can support the mentoring relationships of high-risk youth in foster care. (publisher abstract modified)