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Informal Mentoring for Foster Youth Students: Core and Capital Mentors Over Time

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Higher education has been associated with better social and economic outcomes for foster youth transitioning to adulthood. Informal mentorship is helpful in supporting young people to and through higher education. The present study uses an established typology of informal mentoring, core and capital, to explore the characteristics of these mentoring relationships over time. Specifically, the present study answers two questions: (1) Are core mentoring relationships more stable over time? and (2) Do capital mentoring relationships for foster youth students promote relationships with other capital mentors? Survey participants were recruited predominantly through community-based child welfare organizations specifically for foster care alumni and campus support programs at 4-year universities. Youth completed interviews over three waves that asked questions on what supportive people they had in their lives. While core mentors are more stable over time, there was no relationship between having capital mentors and promoting more informal mentoring relationships. Implications around the importance of social capital for these young people and how informal mentors can act as a mobilized form of social capital are discussed.

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Correspondence to Grace Gowdy.

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Gowdy, G., Hogan, S., Roosevelt, K. et al. Informal Mentoring for Foster Youth Students: Core and Capital Mentors Over Time. Child Adolesc Soc Work J 40, 221–236 (2023).

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