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Twelve-Year Professional Youth Mentoring Program for High Risk Youth: Continuation of a Longitudinal Randomized Controlled Trial

NCJ Number
Date Published
December 2014
62 pages
The findings and methodology are presented for an evaluation of a mentoring program for high-risk children, Friends of the Children (FOTC), during the first 5 years of this 12-year program.
The evaluation sought to determine whether this long-term mentoring program has positively influenced the behavior and well-being of children across the program's first 4 years; whether the quality of the mentor-child relationship is related to program persistence, satisfaction, and engagement; whether there are differences in impact by a child's ethnicity, gender, levels of problem behavior, and baseline risk status; and whether the program has been cost-effective across its first 4 years. The evaluation found no differences in outcomes during the initial years of the program (Phase I) between children randomly assigned to the mentoring program compared with the control sample of non-participants; however, the most recent assessment (Phase II) yielded clinically meaningful findings that favored the FOTC participants. FOTC benefits were evident in scores on the BERS Total Strength Index, school-related behaviors, and externalizing problem behaviors. These findings suggest that the youths who continued to participate in the FOTC showed more positive development than non-participant controls. These findings are considered tentative, however, as data analysis is continuing and the impact of missing data is examined. The program's cost-effectiveness and cost-benefits will be calculated after completing the Phase II evaluation. During the FOTC's first 5 years, participants (n=278) were early elementary school boys and girls identified as "high risk" for adjustment problems during adolescence and emerging adulthood. Trained mentors worked full-time with small caseloads. Evaluation data were collected from the children, their primary caregivers, their mentors, their teachers, and official school records. Extensive tables and a list of program-related products

Date Published: December 1, 2014