U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

Advocacy-based Mentoring Evaluation

NCJ Number
Date Published
September 2017
2 pages
This study examined the effectiveness of the Youth Advocate Programs, Inc. (YAP) advocacy-based approach to mentoring.
YAP provides a non-residential, community-based program for court-referred youth who are at immediate risk of residential placement due to violent offenses or repeat property offenses. The mentoring focuses on the development of a trusting relationship between the youth and their mentors, as well as ensuring that youth fulfill their community service and other court mandates. This evaluation of YAP processes and outcomes focused on the programs in four cities (Camden, NJ; Las Vegas, NV; Lebanon, PA; and Toledo, OH). The evaluation's goal was to determine whether this type of mentoring and treatment approach could reduce delinquency and other risky behaviors, as well as identify which program components were key factors in any positive changes. The study found that youth who participated in the YAP program experienced self-reported improvements in connectedness to school as reflected in increased academic engagement and also greater commitment to employment from program entry to discharge. Participants reported decreases in misconduct and crime engagement both during the treatment period and 12 months after discharge. The evaluation found that the timing and type of interactions engaged in between the mentor and youth best explained the reductions in youth misconduct. Engaging in recreational activities later in the relationship predicted reductions in misconduct. On the other hand, when mentors and youth engaged in casual and problem-focused discussions later in the relationship, it predicted more misconduct. Reductions in youths' misconduct were also related to specific mentor characteristics. Benefits were greater with advocates/mentors who had been teachers and the mentors who were more educated. The study used a quasi-experimental design called a recurrent institutional cycle design, in which data from program graduates were compared to pre-treatment data collected from a different cohort prior to their participation in YAP. Extensive tables and figures, 31 references, and appended research instruments and supplementary data

Date Published: September 1, 2017