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Big Brothers Big Sisters of America: Reducing Risk and Strengthening Community Relationships through BBBS Youth Mentoring

Award Information

Award #
Funding Category
Competitive Discretionary
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2018, $8,500,000)

The Mentoring Opportunities for Youth Initiative, Category 1 (National Mentoring Program) provides funding to support national mentoring organizations (those with local chapters or sub-awardees in at least 45 states) in their efforts to strengthen and/or expand their existing mentoring activities within local chapters or sub-awardees in at least 38 states to reduce juvenile delinquency, drug abuse (specifically opioid abuse), truancy, and other problem and high-risk behaviors. FY 2018 funding will address the factors that can lead to or serve as a catalyst for delinquency or other problem behaviors in underserved youth, including youth in high-risk environments. Programs are required to target American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) youth, and are also highly encouraged to target their mentoring services to children of parents on active military duty; children of incarcerated parents; youth with disabilities; youth impacted by opioids; and youth in rural communities. This program is authorized and funded pursuant to Pub. L. No. 115-141, 132 Stat. 348, 423.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of America (BBBSA) aims to increase school engagement and academic efficacy, increase prosocial skills and behaviors, and decrease the risk of juvenile delinquency or—for those youth already involved in the juvenile justice system—recidivism. The following populations will be targeted: (1) youth ages 9–17 from low-income or single-parent families with one or more risk factors that indicate they are at risk for juvenile justice involvement and/or opioid abuse; (2) youth who are already involved in the juvenile justice system and/or reside in environments that have high rates of community violence, drug markets, and failing schools; (3) youth with an active-duty parent in the military; (4) AI/AN youth, both on and off reservations; (5) youth with disabilities; and (6) children of incarcerated parents.

BBBSA will expand its mentoring services to reach 6,500 new at-risk youth and will make subgrants to 80 affiliate organizations in 41 states. BBBSA has extensive experience working with tribal governments and AI/AN communities to engage and serve AI/AN youth, and will continue to partner with tribal education and social services organizations and tribal justice departments to increase program awareness and referrals in tribal communities.

BBBSA will develop training specific to working with youth who are impacted by opioids that staff and mentors can use to serve affected youth. These trainings will include information about opioids and prescription drugs, identifying the signs of prescription drug/opioid misuse, starting conversations about opioids with youth, and referring youth to treatment services if necessary. BBBSA will collect data regularly from subrecipients and report on all required OJJDP performance measures. In addition to the information requested by OJJDP, BBBSA requires its affiliates to administer surveys that assess the quality of the match relationships. The Strength of Relationship survey predicts whether the relationship will last one year or longer, and enables Match Support Specialists to identify matches that are at risk of failing at a critical point when intervention and improvement is still possible. The Youth Outcomes Survey is designed to measure the effect BBBSA mentoring programs have on youth in three long-term outcome areas: educational success, avoidance/reduction of risky behaviors, and socio-emotional competence. Data collection will not constitute research for generalizable knowledge. Data from project evaluations are intended only to generate internal improvements to the program and to meet OJP’s performance measure data reporting requirements. BBBSA will not use any portion of the funding for research.


Date Created: September 29, 2018