Mixed Methods Evaluation of Formal Mentoring: Journey UP for Aging out of Foster Care
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There are 415,000 children in foster care in the USA. Many of those children will turn 18 before being adopted, meaning they will “age-out” and essentially be on their own as adults. We wanted to see if formal mentoring programs improved outcomes for those aging out of foster care and the Journey Up Mentorship Program in Salt Lake City offered such a program. Forty-nine youth who had aged out of foster care with the help of mentors were surveyed and found they scored significantly higher in their ability to get jobs and were less at risk for addiction, homelessness, and incarceration compared to data from the National Youth in Transition for Utah. Fifteen additional youth were interviewed in focus groups to explore the results further. Qualitative data showed participants were not less at risk given their stories, and benefited from mentors’ consistency, positive role modeling, and lessons on being an adult. This is consistent with other studies on the topic of mentoring but should be expanded into more specified comparative studies and use larger sample sizes.
KeywordsMentorship Aging out Mixed methods National Youth in Transition Employability Adolescent
A special thanks to [student workers] for creating and refining our instrument and to [faculty colleague] who consulted with us on the statistics. Another special thanks goes out to [author’s university]’s Center for Community Engaged Learning who helped arrange the partnership that led to this study. Finally, thanks to [faculty colleague] who offered constructive feedback and proof reading of the article.
No external funding was used to conduct this study. All incentives were provided by the organization being studied.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.
Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
Conflict of Interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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