Displaying items by tag: Referrals to other community services

MAY 23, 2017

Over the past several weeks, many youth development professionals have become aware of the Netflix series, 13 Reasons Why, which revolves around the suicide of a female high school student, Hannah Baker. Due to its fast-spreading popularity, whether or not you have seen it, you may have received questions from parents and youth about the themes that are addressed in the series. These themes, many of which are uncomfortable and controversial, are nonetheless important to talk about, especially with students of a similar age to the characters depicted on the show. Conversations about mental health and suicide can reduce the stigma behind these experiences to allow those who are suffering to know that they are not alone and can get help. However, because of the complexity of these topics and the ways in which they are depicted in the series, parents/guardians, school administrators, and youth development professionals should be aware of the questions and concerns young people may have after watching it, so they can be prepared for the important discussions the series may spark.

For those who are unfamiliar with the series’ premise, the story unfolds through a series of pre-recorded tapes on which the main character, Hannah Baker, describes thirteen reasons that led up to her suicide. Through the episodes the audience finds out that Hannah has had many rumors spread about her, and that eventually she was the target of bullying, social isolation, and sexual abuse. Below, we offer some information about the complex themes addressed in the show, and where you can go for more resources. As we know many parents and youth development professionals have been addressing these topics with youth, we invite you to post other resources and tips you have found useful in the comments section below.

Published in NMRC Blog
Friday, 19 August 2016 11:02


Evidence Rating: No Effects - More than one study

Date: This profile was posted on December 04, 2012

Program Summary

A community-based, intensive case management model that aims to prevent drug use and delinquency among high-risk adolescents, ages 11 to 13. This program is rated No Effects. It had a few significant effects on behavioral outcomes, but did not have a significant effect on youths’ drug use or involvement in property crime. An evaluation showed negative effects of the program on prevalence and frequency behavioral measures for female participants.

You can read the full review on CrimeSolutions.gov.

Wednesday, 21 October 2015 12:12

Family Support

  • Evidence Rating for this Practice:

    Insufficient Research

    In the study reviewed, the methodology used for assessing effects of the practice did not meet relevant criteria for rigor. As a result, the study was designated as Insufficient Evidence and the practice as a whole is designated as Insufficient Research.

    Description of Practice:

    Family support involves systematic efforts to provide services and opportunities to the families of mentees. Family support often may be directed toward not the mentee’s parent(s)/caregiver(s). However, it also may be oriented toward supporting other family members (e.g., siblings, extended kin) as well as the mentee’s family as a whole. Potential forms of family support include direct service or training (e.g., parenting classes) as well as brokering of community resources (e.g., referral systems). Such support may be provided by professional staff, by mentors, or a combination of the two. The timing, intensity, and duration of family support activities can vary and may be tailored to the assessed needs and preferences of individual families. Family support is distinguished from other family involvement practices that are geared primarily toward strengthening the mentor-mentee relationship (e.g., parent orientation to the mentoring program, match support, partnering with parents). It is also distinct from approaches that are focused on mentoring entire families rather than individual youth within families.


    The primary goal of the practice is to enhance mentee outcomes by providing support to the mentee’s family; strengthening and enhancing outcomes within the mentee’s family as a whole may also be a goal.

    Target Population/Eligibility of Target Sites:

    This practice is potentially applicable to all forms of mentoring so long as the youth being served retain relationships with their families.

    Theory and Evidence-Informed Principles:

    Family support is not guided by a particular theoretical perspective. However, the focus of this practice is consistent with emphasis accorded to family influences within ecological models of development (Bronfenbrenner, 1979). These perspectives call attention to the influence that familial relationships and circumstances may have on the youth’s experiences in his or her broader social network (which would include a young person’s relationship with a mentor) as well as the significance that such experiences can end up having for developmental outcomes (Bronfenbrenner, 1986). The practice of seeking to support or strengthen the mentee’s family is also consistent with extensive research that has established the importance and influence of parents and families on youth development (Youngblade et al., 2007).

    Corresponding Elements of Effective Practice:

    This practice is most relevant to the area of Monitoring and Support within the Elements of Effective Practice.

    Key Personnel:

    The successful implementation of this practice is likely to require staff to have experience with family engagement, strategies for effective family-centered programming, and knowledge of referral systems and services for families in the community. Additionally, staff may need to be culturally competent to engage families of various cultural and linguistic backgrounds.

    Additional Information:


  • Evaluation Methodology:

    Barron-McKeagney et al (2002) examined the practice of family support as part of an evaluation of the Family Mentoring Program (FMP). The FMP was a community-based mentoring program that served 8 to 12 year old, predominately Latino children and their parents who were living in a community considered high risk and underserved. As part of the program, which lasted 18 months, parents were provided with educational programs on gang prevention, parenting skills, health, AIDS prevention, and community resources. Parents were also invited to all social/recreational activities organized for mentor-mentee pairs.

    Forty-nine children were recruited for the mentoring program. The study focused on the mothers of these children largely because their fathers were not as readily available. Thirty-four mothers completed both pre and post-intervention surveys and thus comprised the study sample. Seventy-four percent of the mothers were Latino, only 25 percent had finished high school, 55 percent worked outside the home, 14 percent received aid to dependent children, and 61 percent were married, while 22 percent were divorced and 14 percent were single.

    The Parent-Child Relationship Inventory (PCRI) was completed by mothers. The PCRI measures each of the following different aspects of the parent-child relationship: parental support, satisfaction with parenting, involvement with child, communication, limit setting, autonomy, and role orientation. Additionally, the Family Hardiness Index (FHI) was used to measure family strength, also as reported by mothers. These measures were completed both pre-intervention and at the end of the 18 month intervention period (i.e., post-intervention).

    Staff logs of parent participation in the educational program offerings were used to determine the number of hours mothers spent in these activities. Stepwise linear regression analyses were conducted to predict post-intervention scores on each subscale of the PCRI as well as the total score on the FHI. Candidate measures for entry as predictors in each regression included the mother’s level of participation in the parent education offerings, the child’s combined hours of participation in individual mentoring and group education programs, and the mother’s pre-intervention rating of the child’s level problematic behavior as assessed by the Social Skills Rating Scale. Probability required for predictors to earn entry was p < .05; the criterion for removal was p > .10.

    Evaluation Outcomes:

    Barron-McKeagney et al (2002) found that mother’s hours in parent education programs was a significant predictor of the mothers’ post-intervention scores on the Support subscale of the PCRI. Greater participation in the parent education program predicted higher reported levels of support.

    Barron-McKeagney et al. (2002) found that mother’s hours in parent education programs was not significantly associated with mothers’ post-intervention scores for the Satisfaction subscale of the PCRI.

    Barron-McKeagney et al. (2002) found that mother’s hours in parent education program was not significantly associated with changes in mothers’ scores for the Involvement subscale of the PCRI.

    Barron-McKeagney et al. (2002) found that mother’s hours in parent education program was significantly associated with changes in mothers’ scores for the Communication subscale of the PCRI. Greater participation in the parent education program predicted higher score on Communication.

    Limit Setting
    Barron-McKeagney et al. (2002) found that mother’s hours in parent education program was not significantly associated with changes in mothers’ scores for the Limit Setting subscale of the PCRI.

    Barron-McKeagney et al. (2002) found that mother’s hours in parent education program was not significantly associated with changes in mothers’ scores for the Autonomy subscale of the PCRI.

    Role Orientation
    Barron-McKeagney et al. (2002) found that mother’s hours in parent education program was not significantly associated with changes in mothers’ scores for the Role Orientation subscale of the PCRI.

    Family Hardiness Index (FHI)
    Barron-McKeagney et al. (2002) also found that mother’s hours in parent education program was not significantly associated with changes in mothers’ scores for family strength (as measured by the FHI).

    Additional Findings
    Scores for mothers of children in the Family Mentoring Program (FMP) on the PCRI and FHI were also compared with those for parents in the standardized samples used in the development of the PCRI and FHI measures. At pre-test, FMP mothers scored significantly lower than parents in the standardized samples on six of the seven PCRI subscales (support, satisfaction, involvement, communication, limit setting, and autonomy) and on the FHI. At posttest, the FMP mothers’ scores were significantly lower than those of the standardized samples for only four of the seven PCRI subscales (satisfaction, involvement, communication, and autonomy).

  • External Validity Evidence:

    Variations in the Practice
    There was only one study reviewed for this practice and it considered only one form of potential family support (i.e., parent education). Information is thus lacking on either the overall or relative effective of other forms of support for families (e.g., community referral systems).

    Participating youth, in the single available study, were from a multiethnic community with high crime rates and youth violence. Most program participants were Latino, almost half were female, and their ages ranged between 8 and 12 years. The study did not test for possible differences in the consequences of family support in relation to youth characteristics.

    In the single available study, mentors were recruited primarily from churches in the community and from local colleges and universities. Two-thirds of the mentors were female, 50 percent were Caucasian, 42 percent were Hispanic, and 8 percent were African American. Approximately one-fourth were college students and two-thirds worked in clerical or higher level positions. Twelve of the mentors spoke both English and Spanish. The study did not test for possible differences in the consequences of family support in relation to mentor characteristics.

    Program Settings/Structures
    The single available study was conducted within a program that used a 1-to-1 mentoring format delivered in a community setting. In addition to the one-on-one interactions, mentor-mentee pairs participated in group social activities and events that were arranged by the program.

    The single available study focused on parental reports regarding the parent-child relationship as well as overall family hardiness. This study does not report outcomes related to the mentoring relationships of youth, the relationships of parents with their children’s mentors, or youth outcomes (such as grades).

  • Resources Available to Support Implementation:

    Resources are currently not available.

  • Evidence Base:

    Barron-McKeagney, T., Woody, J. D., & D’Souza H. J. (2002). Mentoring at-risk Latino children and their parents: Analysis of the parent-child relationship and family strength. Families in Society: The Journal of Contemporary Human Services, 83, 285-292. doi: 10.1023/A:1007698728775

    Additional References:

    Bronfenbrenner, U. (1979). The ecology of human development: Experiments by nature and design. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

    Bronfenbrenner, U. (1986). Ecology of the family as a context for human development: Research perspectives. Developmental Psychology, 22, 723-742. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0012-1649.22.6.723

    Youngblade, L., Theokas, C., Schulenberg, J., Curry, L., Huang, I., & Novak, M. (2007). Risk and promotive factors in families, schools, and communities: A contextual model of positive youth development in adolescence. Pediatrics, 119(Suppl. 1), S47-S53. doi: 10.1542/peds.2006-2089H

Insights for Practitioners

Click here for additional insights and tips for those working in, developing, or funding programs that may use this practice.

Wednesday, 21 October 2015 13:40

Family Support

*Note: The National Mentoring Resource Center makes these “Insights for Mentoring Practitioners” available for each program or practice reviewed by the National Mentoring Resource Center Research Board. Their purpose is to give mentoring professionals additional information and understanding that can help them apply reviews to their own programs. You can read the full review on the National Mentoring Resource Center website.

One of the more common trends in mentoring over recent years is the integration of mentoring services for youth with other forms of support, both for the mentee and their parents and siblings. Programs often approach this from different perspectives and motivations. For some, offering additional services or supports to parents is a way to deepen their engagement in their child’s mentoring relationship and improve their relationship with program staff. For other service providers, offering supports to parents and siblings is just the manifestation of an inherently broader scopethe services offered parents or siblings are of equal importance to the mentoring that is being provided to the child.

So should practitioners keep in mind if they are going to be offering support to families in addition to just mentoring the child?

Note the characteristics referenced in the “Key Personnel” section of the review.The review of the literature on family support suggests several competencies that staff must possess to be effective in this work, including:

  • Family engagement strategies – Does staff have experience communicating effectively with families and getting them to attend meetings, classes, and other opportunities for support? Can they get parents or siblings excited about being more involved with the program? Do they know what will motivate families? Many mentoring programs struggle to get families engaged in just the match, let alone to start being recipients of services themselves.

  • Family-centered programming – Does the staff know how to assess a family’s needs and strengths and provide appropriate, comprehensive support? Can they design services in a way that makes it easy for whole families to participate?

  • Referral services and networks of providers – Does the staff know who else in the community can offer specific services? Have they established partnerships or agreements with other service providers to refer parents or siblings? Do they know the eligibility requirements of getting other forms of support from external organizations? Do they have a process for following up on referrals and ensuring that families get promised services? Program may find themselves having to build a lot of connections to community organizations or even generating memoranda of understanding around referrals in order for this practice to work well.

  • Cultural competency and responsiveness – This is perhaps the most critical of all: Can staff communicate effectively with families across cultures, languages, and socio-economic status. Much has been written in recent years about the ability of the average mentor to serve diverse populations of mentees. The same can be said of program staff, especially if they are going to be not just engaging parents in supporting the match, but working with them as clients and recipients of services directly. Any program wishing to offer support to families beyond just the mentoring relationship should think about how well their staff can fill these roles and what internal capacities would need to be developed to make this work.

Make sure that this type of support to families makes sense in relation to your theory of change.

There are many multi-service, wrap-around community organizations that come to mentoring late: they already offer a wealth of supports to families and have added mentoring as yet another offering. There are also, as noted previously, dedicated mentoring programs that add a family support piece as a way of strengthening mentoring relationships and improving youth outcomes, while also helping the whole family.

Programs in both camps should think about what they hope to achieve by providing this type of integrated mentoring and family support. Would providing support to parents or siblings help create an improved home environment that would enhance the gains made from the mentoring relationship? Are there critical needs inside the home that would need to be addressed for the work of the mentor to have meaning? Would helping the whole family with a challenge or issue lead to longer matches, more mentoring sessions, or better communication between the program and the family? And would serving whole families radically change the mentoring piece, changing the role, training, and support of mentors in fundamental ways?

Adding services to families, even if it’s just light referrals to other providers in the community, can be a lot of extra work. So before embarking on this, programs should really articulate how this practice makes sense within the context of their mentoring relationships and their organizational mission and vision. They may find that their reasons for considering this practice don’t make sense from a cost-benefit perspective. Or, they may find that they have unlocked a critical piece of their theory of change and that serving families in this way makes the whole program more effective.

If you can, test this practice in an evaluation!

As noted in the review of this practice, there is not a lot of research directly testing whether this kind of family support makes a difference in terms of mentee participation, match length or meeting frequency, or youth outcomes. Programs that are new to this practice may want to pilot this type of support for a subgroup of mentees and their families. Taking a group of mentees, and offering family support to a randomly selected portion of them, may allow you to test whether those additional services make a difference in terms of mentoring outcomes.

For more information on research-informed program practices and tools for implementation, be sure to consult the Elements of Effective Practice for Mentoring™ and the "Resources for Mentoring Programs" section of the National Mentoring Resource Center site.

Tuesday, 13 September 2016 09:47

Home Visiting Program for Adolescent Mothers

Evidence Rating: Promising - One study

Date: This profile was posted on September 06, 2016

Program Summary

This is a community-based program in which adolescent mothers had regularly scheduled one-on-one meetings with trained home visitors, who delivered a parenting and an adolescent curriculum, created connections with primary care providers, and encouraged contraceptive use and school continuation. This program is rated Promising. The intervention was shown to promote positive parenting attitudes and school continuation, but did not affect mental health, contraceptive use, or repeat teen pregnancy.

You can read the full review on CrimeSolutions.gov.

Tuesday, 13 September 2016 09:21

Home Visiting Program for Adolescent Mothers

*Note: The National Mentoring Resource Center makes these “Insights for Mentoring Practitioners” available for each program or practice reviewed by the National Mentoring Resource Center Research Board. Their purpose is to give mentoring professionals additional information and understanding that can help them apply reviews to their own programs. You can read the full review on the CrimeSolutions.gov website.

In considering the key takeaways from the research on this program that other mentoring programs can apply to their work, it’s useful to reflect on the features and practices that might have influenced its rating as “Promising” (that is, a program that shows some evidence that it achieves justice-related goals when implemented with fidelity).

Getting the most out of a handful of volunteers.

Perhaps the most striking thing about the Home Visiting Program for Adolescent Mothers model is just how much effort this program got from its three volunteer mentors. In the version of the program studied by Barnet and colleagues, three volunteer mentors (all African American women from the community being served) met biweekly with a caseload of 10-15 pregnant and parenting teens in the first year of their children’s lives, as well as meeting monthly with up to 10 mothers whose children were between 1 and 2 years of age. That’s a caseload of as many as 25 “mentees” needing individual meeting times each month! And this was not easy work, either. The study mentions that for several of these parents, meetings needed to be discreetly scheduled outside of the home because of issues around violence and safety in the home. Plus, each meeting needed to use a structured curriculum that offered all participants the same messages and lessons.

It is unclear from the study whether these volunteers received any kind of stipend, or even small things like reimbursement for mileage driving to all these meetings. But whatever the incentives, these volunteers stuck with the program: Only one of the three mentors left during the four year window the program was studied. This allowed for deep relationships to form between these mentors and their mentees, something the authors hypothesize was likely critical to getting these young mothers to change their attitudes and behaviors around parenting and their own access to healthcare. So while it remains a bit of a mystery as to how the program achieved this remarkable volume and duration of work from their volunteers, the program does serve as a nice example of how programs can really lean on motivated volunteers, especially those who have experience and deep commitment to the community being served.

Integration with social workers and other professionals can be critical to achieving certain outcomes.

While these strong volunteer mentors served as the face of the program and the main deliverers of the curriculum and intervention, they did not go into this alone. Each mentor also had access to a social worker who was available to make referrals to other services and monitor issues related to safety and mental health. This “backup” from experienced professionals meant that the mentors could focus more on relationship building and emphasizing the messages in the curriculum, knowing that they had another staff member to lean on if the parent was experiencing a more critical situation in the home.

However, the coordination of services with health care professionals proved more challenging. The evaluation noted that the mentored parents did not connect with primary care physicians any more than the “control” group did and that the lack of communication between mentors and primary care physicians may have meant that some of the participants’ needs around depression, contraception, and other health concerns went unmet. Of course, sharing information with health care professionals is challenging for any community based program due to both logistical and privacy concerns. Mentoring programs should think carefully about how and when their services can interface with doctors and other medical professionals. It may be challenging to achieve program outcomes that are largely dependent on coordination and communication that may prove elusive.

The need to tap into mentee motivations.

One of the minor points in the evaluation write up is worth examining more closely here. The authors note that one of the possible reasons that the program failed to influence contraception use and avoidance of second pregnancies is that the curriculum was great at providing information about contraception options and encouraging access to doctors who could prescribe them (at least the hormonal ones), but was not great at tapping into the motivations of mentees that would get them to be proactive about their birth control. They point out that other studies of effective birth control programs often highlight the importance of helping youth identify motivating factors that would spur their contraceptive use. This might be a goal for the future, a connection to their own sense of self, or even just a desire to not repeat what they consider to be a mistake. But the curriculum in use here emphasized information and health care access over motivations to use those things in practice. This serves as a good reminder to mentoring programs that you can provide your mentors with all kinds of information and tools, but if you are not motivating mentees to take advantage of them, it can often be for naught. Helping youth tap into their sense of purpose and goals likely can go a long ways towards making sure they take full advantage of what the program provides. Evidence of this can be seen in other programs reviewed on this site that emphasize motivation and self-empowerment.

What about the next generation?

While this program, and the evaluation cited in this review, were both focused on outcomes for the teen mothers being served, one also has to wonder about the impact of these services on the infants in their care. Surprisingly, the study did not include any information about whether these moms were more diligent about pediatric check-ups, indicators of better parent skills in practice, or whether their children were healthier or better cared for than those of moms in the control group. While this program was intensely targeted at parents, the reality is that those intended outcomes were in service of their children, hoping to ensure that these infants got the love and support they needed during the critical early years. Hopefully future evaluations of this model—and others intended to support young parents, such as the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention’s Second Chance Act Strengthening Relationships Between Young Fathers, Young Mothers, and Their Children initiative—will examine whether the outcomes exhibited by the moms (and dads!) in turn translate into improved early childhood outcomes for their children. That next generation is where the community-level impact of a program like this would be truly felt.

For more information on research-informed program practices and tools for implementation, be sure to consult the Elements of Effective Practice for Mentoring™ and the "Resources for Mentoring Programs" section of the National Mentoring Resource Center site.

Sunday, 29 November -0001 19:03

Promotor Pathways Program

Evidence Rating: No Effects - One study

Date: This profile was posted on August 08, 2017

Program Summary

This is a program that uses a caring adult, called a Promotor, to provide case management, mentoring, and advocacy for youths. This program is rated No Effects. The intervention had statistically significant positive effects on school enrollment, housing stability, and births, but had statistically significant negative effects on getting into a fight and binge drinking. There were no effects on employment, carrying a weapon, incarceration, marijuana use, or perception of control of one’s life.

You can read the full review on CrimeSolutions.gov.

Monday, 14 August 2017 14:33

Promotor Pathways Program

*Note: The National Mentoring Resource Center makes these “Insights for Mentoring Practitioners” available for each program or practice reviewed by the National Mentoring Resource Center Research Board. Their purpose is to give mentoring professionals additional information and understanding that can help them apply reviews to their own programs. You can read the full review on the CrimeSolutions.gov website.

In considering the key takeaways from the research on this program that other mentoring programs can apply to their work, it’s useful to reflect on the features and practices that might have influenced its rating as “No effects” (that is, a program that has not shown definitive evidence of effectiveness)…

When looking at the Promotor Pathways program, we see an effort that, at least on paper, seems well-positioned for success. The Latin American Youth Center (LAYC) is a robust youth-serving organization serving immigrant and other high-needs communities in the greater Washington, DC area with a wide variety of services. This organization has attracted significant investment and community support over the years and is well-known as a leading service provider in the DC region. The Promotor program was started because youth themselves who had engaged in the many other services and supports offered by LAYC had told the program again and again that it was a relationship with a key member of the staff that had helped them stick with whatever services they were engaged in and ultimately find success. So rather than this program being driven from an adult perspective, the impetus to start it came directly from the young people being served.

The Promotor Pathways program also has the advantage of being well-funded with a lot of time and energy put into the design and implementation of the program by staff members and investors. The evaluation cited in the full Crime Solutions review was part of an almost $1,000,000 effort over several years to expand the size and scope of Promotor Pathways. This work, funded through the Social Innovation Fund, was built on evidence of promise for effectiveness of Promotor (a requirement for SIF funding) and was ambitiously intended to “lead to local government savings of $16 million over the next 10 years.”

So here we have a program that youth themselves said would be beneficial, housed in a thriving youth service setting, with substantial investment to do the work “right.” And yet the evaluation here indicates that local government probably didn’t see $16 million in savings as the program was found to not have much impact. So what went wrong?

1. The plural of anecdote is not data.

One thing to consider is the origin story of youth saying that a relationship with a staff member is what kept them going. No doubt the young people who said that to the program had that experience—they genuinely felt like that caring adult on the staff made them try harder, overcome the urge to give up, and keep coming back to LAYC as a source of multi-faceted support. But what happens when those are the only voices being heard on the issue? What percentage of youth served by LAYC felt that way or had that experience? Perhaps the “mentor-rich” experience of those youth was a rare circumstance, or only happened because of some other factor in those kids’ lives (including, simply, who they are as people). That “mentors kept me going” experience may have actually been quite rare or at least not fully understood.

For example, it’s also worth noting that the Promotores in the evaluated program were paid mentors who were unaffiliated with any of the other services at LAYC. It may be that those relationships really mattered when the relationship was with the staff who were already engaged in the direct services. Perhaps a “service neutral” mentor didn’t really connect with youth or seemed like more of an add-on that an integral part of the core LAYC services. It’s hard to say. But this serves as a bit of a caution to practitioners to take the preferences and ideas for service improvement of clients with a bit of a grain of salt. You may be getting input from only one vocal group while missing something important that might hinder your efforts if you build what is being asked for without deeper investigation. That may not have been the case here, but it’s worth noting that the genesis of this program was grounded in feedback that may have been biased in a particular direction.

2. That being said, the paid mentor aspect of Promotor Pathways seems very well thought out and executed.

There has been a lot of consternation about and interest in paid mentoring models over the last decade plus. Many have seen the struggles of volunteer-led efforts to connect mentors and youth for longer periods of time and with the intensity of trust and mutuality that we would hope for in most mentoring relationships and wondered if making the mentor a paid employee might not yield better results. Certainly our NMRC program reviews have found examples of paid mentoring being both successful and not (and meta-analyses by DuBois and colleagues have found no difference in effectiveness between paid and volunteer mentoring). What is striking about the Promotor program is that it seems to have many of the program elements in place that would lead to success. With this in mind, practitioners would be wise to note how the paid role is structured within LAYC, in spite of the lack of overall effectiveness in this one evaluation of the program to date. The details of this role seemed well-positioned for success

  • 30 hours of training for the mentors on every conceivable topic for working with such a high-risk population of youth.
  • 24/7 access to the Promotores, including via text, email, and phone. These paid mentors were tasked with literally always being there for the youth with whom they were matched.
  • A decent mentor:youth ratio—The evaluation notes that there are about 15 Promotores currently in the program and this project served 165 mentees for the evaluation, which is a roughly 1:10 ratio. This seems reasonable given that these mentors had no other programmatic responsibilities.
  • The mentor’s expected role included meeting with parents and other important adults in the youth’s life on a regular basis to coordinate care and make sure needs were being addressed.
  • A meeting schedule that allowed for more frequent contact—the average pair in the program met 3.5 times a month, with nearly two-thirds of those meetings being in-person.
  • Very low attrition of Promotores—only three of the mentors are reported to have ever left this role in the program, meaning that youth are not frequently being shuffled from one paid relationship to the next.
  • As noted previously, the role is unaffiliated with other LAYC services and is intended to be focused solely on solving problems and helping youth get the most out of all the other things LAYC is offering.
  • Long-lasting matches—All of this structure paid off with matches, at least in the evaluation study, that lasted an average of 15 months in the 18 month study window.

In addition to looking good “on paper” these relationships seemed to be successful in terms of relationship tone and closeness. Sixty percent of mentees felt “very close” to their Promotor, with another 30% feeling “somewhat close.” Nearly 90% felt like they could talk with their Promotor about a personal problem and 85% said they didn’t feel like their mentor was trying to control their lives but was, rather, simply a source of support. So there were many, many things about how this mentor role was conceived and implemented that this program got right. These relationships, and the role of the mentor itself, seemed well positioned for success.

3. The best laid plans don’t always work out.

Ultimately, though, the mentored youth in the evaluation did not really benefit from the experience in comparison to non-mentored LAYC participants as much as one would likely expect. In hindsight, the authors of the report note that 18 months may not be enough time to form a truly deep and lasting bond that can overcome what were some major risk factors for the youth being served. And that may be true in this case. But it’s also a bit of a bleak conclusion as most youth-serving organizations are unlikely to have youth, especially youth in the older age range of this program, engaged in their services for much longer than 18 months. And we have seen other examples of mentoring services reaching high-risk youth in some meaningful ways in similar timeframes.

There may be things LAYC can do to strengthen the program—connecting the work of the mentors to other staff to make sure that all staff providing direct services are able to coordinate information about a youth and make for a more fully “mentor-rich” environment; involving the family and other caring adults outside the program to an even greater degree; strengthening referrals to other service providers.

But there are two things that really stand out as potential next steps:

1. Do another evaluation, if possible.

This evaluation only compared Promotor participants to other LAYC youth who did not have a mentor. So all of the youth in this study were getting a very robust suite of services and supports. The mentoring was designed to mostly be a “boost” that would take the results from “good” to “even better”… That’s a tough window to hit and we have seen other reviewed programs struggle to show outcomes by not including a control group of youth who didn’t get any services at all. It might be that the Promotor participants would fare pretty well in comparison to similar youth receiving no LAYC services.

2. Perhaps target the program to a specific group of youth.

One of the interesting things about the evaluation is that youth who had a child of their own were much more likely to meet frequently with their mentors a high number of times (four times more likely to have more than 45 meetings). Higher levels of mentor-mentee interaction were associated with stronger outcomes. Based on these trends, one could argue that this service might be more impactful and efficient if directed at those most likely to meet with their mentors frequently and get a wider range of support. The study authors note that these youth likely had more needs because they were juggling parenthood in addition to engaging in the other LAYC services. But it might also be that being a parent spurred those youth to realize that they needed to take advantage of the supports and help being offered, in essence perhaps a bit of a “wake-up” call that made them want to engage in services even more than their non-parent peers. Regardless of the reason, one wonders what an evaluation might show if this was directed solely at LAYC youth who were parents, giving them extra support as they worked hard to care for both themselves and their child.

For more information on research-informed program practices and tools for implementation, be sure to consult the Elements of Effective Practice for Mentoring™ and the "Resources for Mentoring Programs" section of the National Mentoring Resource Center site. 

  • Description of Resource:

    This guide reviews the “SEEK” strategy that mentors can employ if their mentee discloses information to them about past sexual trauma they have experienced. SEEK stands for Safe space, Empowering attitude, Empathetic response, and Knowledge about sexual assault. The guide reviews each of these steps, and how the mentor can address each of them to ensure the sensitive and effective handling of this critical information and support their mentee in connecting with key supports. Please note that while this resource offers important guidelines and insights for mentors who may be faced with a mentee’s disclosure of sexual trauma, it should not take the place of the support and involvement of a trained professional who can more appropriately respond to a young person’s needs. Mentoring programs should only advise mentors to discuss topics like sexual trauma insofar as mentors have been trained to do so.


    To provide a guide and plan for mentors to help them respond to the disclosure of sexual assault by a mentee.

    Target Population/Eligibility of Target Sites:

    All mentoring organizations; mentors of sexual assault survivors.

    Corresponding Elements of Effective Practice:


    Key Personnel:


    Additional Information:

    More information about the publisher, the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center (BARCC), can be found on their website, http://www.barcc.org

  • Resource Name:

    Responding to Disclosures of Sexual Violence as a Mentor


    Boston Area Rape Crisis Center


    Boston Area Rape Crisis Center

    Date of Publication:


    Resource Type:

    Mentor Guides and Handouts

  • Evaluation Methodology:

    Resource has not been evaluated for effectiveness

    Evaluation Outcomes:

    Resource has not been evaluated for effectiveness

    Evaluation Validity:

    Resource has not been evaluated for effectiveness

  • Accessing and Using this Resource:

    This resource is available for free in PDF format on the NMRC site.

  • References:

    Evidence Base: N/A

    Additional References:N/A


Access this Resource

Click here to download a PDF of this Resource.

Webinar Date: March 21, 2019


  • Desireé Robertson, Director of Training and Product Design, MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership


  • Allyson Horne, Training and Match Support Coordinator at TeamMates Mentoring
  • Kara Johnson, Program Director at Heart of Oregon Corps YouthBuild
  • Pam Quinn, Program Director at Twinfield Together Mentoring Program


Paper Download the Presentation Slides
Paper Twinfield Together Mentoring Program Mentee Self-Referral Form

Published in Webinars
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