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Barriers to Implementing a Mentoring Program for Youth in Foster Care: Implications for Practice and Policy Innovation

Abstract

The aim of this article is to report on the findings of an evaluation of a youth in foster care mentoring pilot program and the difficulty that arises when a program is not well implemented. The pilot program and evaluation of its effectiveness were mandated by the Texas 80th Legislature through the passing of HB 3008. Big Brothers Big Sisters of North Texas implemented the pilot to match youth in foster care age 14 years and older, who participate on a voluntary basis and who have been screened for participation by the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) with an adult mentor. As part of the pilot, youth were to receive 8 h of face-to-face time, and at least 1 h of phone, email, or text contact with their mentor. Though there were problems with implementation of the mentoring pilot, responses on the confidential youth survey suggest that those who did participate had positive experiences. Based on responses on the survey from the youth and based on the existing empirical literature on the benefits of mentoring programs for trouble youth and following the recommendations presented in this article the mentoring programs should be encouraged for youth aging out of foster care.

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Correspondence to Maria Scannapieco.

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Scannapieco, M., Painter, K.R. Barriers to Implementing a Mentoring Program for Youth in Foster Care: Implications for Practice and Policy Innovation. Child Adolesc Soc Work J 31, 163–180 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10560-013-0315-3

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Keywords

  • Youth Aging out of foster care
  • Mentoring
  • Mentoring program outcomes
  • Implementation