Topic: Mentoring Programs (Child & Adolescent)

Scientific Ratings in this topic:

1 - Well-Supported by Research Evidence

2 - Supported by Research Evidence

3 - Promising Research Evidence

4 - Evidence Fails to Demonstrate Effect

5 - Concerning Practice

NR - Not able to be Rated

Learn more about the scale

Definition for Mentoring Programs (Child & Adolescent):

Mentoring Programs (Child & Adolescent) are defined by the CEBC as programs in which there is a structured relationship between a child or adolescent involved in the child welfare system and an older individual (the mentor), with the goal of developing the competence and potential of the child or adolescent (the mentee). Children placed in foster, kinship, and congregate care may experience multiple placement changes and/or reunification, leading to instability in home, neighborhood, school, and community environments. A mentor may serve as a stable adult in a young person’s life throughout these transitions.

  • Target population: Children and adolescents involved in the child welfare system, especially those in out-of-home care
  • Services/types that fit: Programs in which there is a structured relationship between a child/youth and an older individual, with the goal of developing the competence and potential of the mentee
  • Delivered by: Trained adult mentors and the agency staff that supervise them (child welfare staff, mental health professionals, or trained paraprofessionals)
  • In order to be included: Mentoring services must be a primary mechanism for the program
  • In order to be rated: There must be research evidence (as specified by the Scientific Rating Scale) that examines outcomes for the youth, such as changes in child welfare outcomes (e.g., reduced out-of-home placement, placement changes, etc.) or changes in youth behavior, symptom levels, and/or functioning.

Programs in this Topic Area

The programs listed below have been reviewed by the CEBC and, if appropriate, been rated using the Scientific Rating Scale.

One Program with a Scientific Rating of 2 - Supported by Research Evidence:

  • Fostering Healthy Futures (FHF)
    Boys and girls, ages 9-11, placed in out-of-home care in the prior two years as a result of maltreatment

Three Programs with a Scientific Rating of 3 - Promising Research Evidence:

  • Across Ages – non-responder
    Youth ages 9 to 13 who are at a high-risk for substance abuse
  • Big Brothers Big Sisters of America (BBBSA)
    Youth aged 6-18 who may come from disadvantaged situations, such as single-parent homes, low-income homes, or homes with an absent ...
  • Friends for Youth 1 to 1 Mentoring
    [Friends for Youth Mentoring Services]
    Youth ages 8-17 (referred by teachers, counselors, probation officers, county mental health, child protective/welfare services, or other youth-serving professionals) ...

Four Programs with a Scientific Rating of NR - Not able to be Rated:

Why was this topic chosen by the Advisory Committee?

The Mentoring Programs (Child & Adolescent) topic area is relevant to child welfare because mentoring programs can be a way for improving outcomes for youth in the child welfare system. Children in the foster care system often lack connections to adults who can provide support and guidance, and model how to successfully negotiate the many challenges in life. Too many foster children limit their own expectations for themselves since they lack the opportunities to see possibilities for their lives.

Danna Fabella, Director
Federal Linkages
Child & Family Policy Institute of California
Sacramento, CA

Topic Expert

Heather Taussig, PhD
Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Psychiatry
Kempe Center, University of Colorado School of Medicine
Aurora, CO