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Foster Care: “Mentoring for Youth in Foster Care” (2017 report)

Foster Care: “Mentoring for Youth in Foster Care” (2017 report)

This review is from the National Mentoring Resource Center and can be found at https://nationalmentoringresourcecenter.org/index.php/component/k2/item/429-mentoring-for-youth-in-foster-care.html

The following is a summary is from the text of the report:

The review is organized around four questions:

  • What is the effectiveness of mentoring for youth in foster care?
  • What factors influence the effectiveness of mentoring for youth in foster care?
  • What pathways are most important in linking mentoring to outcomes for youth in foster care?
  • To what extent have mentoring initiatives for youth in foster care reached and engaged these youth, been implemented with high quality, and been adopted and sustained?

The existing evidence points toward several conclusions:

  • Both natural and program-based mentoring appear to be highly acceptable to youth in foster care, and mentees generally report high satisfaction with their mentoring experiences.
  • Available research suggests that mentoring for children in foster care (across a range of ages and mentoring formats) can have positive impacts on many, but not all, targeted outcomes, including mental health, educational functioning and attainment, peer relationships, placement outcomes, and life satisfaction.
  • Most formal mentoring programs that have been evaluated to date are multicomponent (that is, they include components other than one-to-one mentoring, such as skills groups) and utilize mentors who are agency staff members or university students.
  • The impact of mentoring may differ based on demographic, and placement characteristics and key processes, such as improvements in self-determination and prosocial skills, may be the mechanisms through which mentoring outcomes are realized for this population.
  • Finally, although there are many conceptual reasons why mentoring is an excellent fit for youth in foster care, there are pragmatic challenges that make widespread implementation difficult and no studies have examined program expansion or adaptation.