Article

Present, Protective, and Promotive: Mentors' Roles in the Lives of Young Adults in Residential Care

Authors:
To read the full-text of this research, you can request a copy directly from the author.

Abstract

Mentoring relationships are considered among the most significant relationships with nonparental figures and a protective factor against a wide range of negative outcomes. This exploratory study explored mentoring relationships in the lives of 140 care leavers, and the way those relationships influenced their life course. Findings showed that most of the mentors were known to the young adults from their former care placement for 3 years and above. Thematic analysis revealed 2 main “types” of mentor: (1) a present, accessible and supportive mentor, who is mainly characterized as a parental figure and a role model, a life coach who is also a confidant; (2) a motivating and catalyzing mentor, who is characterized as promoting adaptive coping with life stressors, and leading the young adults to set and achieve their goals and change their behavioral and mental status for the better. The discussion addresses the contribution of mentoring relationships to the young adults’ resilience in reference to social support and attachment theories. It discusses the importance of promoting a “mentoring policy” within the residential care settings, to enable youth to continue their relationships with their mentors during their challenging transition to emerging adulthood.

No full-text available

Request Full-text Paper PDF

To read the full-text of this research,
you can request a copy directly from the author.

... The mentoring literature suggests that different components of the mentoring process-including the type of mentoring relationship (i.e., natural vs. professional mentoring), its quality and longevity, and the various functions it serves (e.g., provision of warmth or promotion of autonomy)-all play a role in determining its effectiveness (Greeson, Usher, & Grinstein-Weiss, 2010;Rhodes, Spencer, Keller, Liang, & Noam, 2006;Sulimani-Aidan, 2016a, 2016b. Thus, it has been suggested that longer duration with the mentor and strong emotional connectedness are linked to better outcomes (Spencer, 2006;Sulimani-Aidan, 2016b). ...
... Researchers assert that mentoring relationships fulfill different functions in the youths' lives, the four most common ones being serving as a "parental figure," a "role model," an "independence promoter," and an "academic and career supporter"; (Ahrens et al., 2008;DuBois et al., 2002;Sulimani-Aidan, 2016a, 2016b. In this regard, mentors likely serve as hope models for youth in care demonstrating the connection among goal setting, pathways development, and agency deployment. ...
... 6 SULIMANI-AIDAN, MELKMAN, AND HELLMAN as well as the degree to which this relationship provided autonomy, warmth, or modeling. Whereas the importance of the timeframe in establishing significant relationships was evident in earlier studies (Rhodes & DuBois, 2008;Sulimani-Aidan, 2016a), our findings indicate that other mentoring functions are also linked with hopeful thinking. Mentoring functions of autonomy and modeling were related to all hope dimensions (overall hope, agency thinking, and pathway thinking). ...
... The mentoring literature suggests that different components in the mentoring process including quality, longevity, and type of relationships (natural vs. assigned mentor) play a role in their effectiveness Greeson et al., 2010;Rhodes, Spencer, Keller, Liang, & Noam, 2006;Sulimani-Aidan, 2016a, 2016b. However, earlier studies that examined the relationship between mentoring and outcomes among youth in care included only some of the dimensions of the relationships (e.g., specific function and duration) rather than the various array of characteristics that define these relationships. ...
... The literature on mentoring youth in care suggests that they establish meaningful mentoring relationships in different settings. Both "informal" figures selfselected from their existing social networks (e.g., older siblings, neighbours, teachers, and adult relatives) and "formal" figures that are professionals formerly involved with them through the care system who become their natural mentors (Greeson, 2013;Greeson et al., 2010;Sulimani-Aidan, 2016b). ...
... Although the presence of a mentor has been established as possibly promoting better outcomes after emancipation (Sulimani-Aidan, 2016b), most previous mentoring studies examine only specific aspects of the mentoring relationships. According to mentoring theory, the process of creating positive change in the youths' lives involves mentors serving different functions in the relationship and acting as parental figures, role models, and life coaches (Ahrens et al., 2008;Greeson et al., 2010;Greeson & Bowen, 2008;Sulimani-Aidan, 2016a, 2016b. Thus far, no study has explored the differential contribution of each of the documented mentoring functions in relation to the life skills of youth in care. ...
Article
The goal of this study was to examine the contribution of natural mentoring to the improvement of life skills among youth in care in core areas of education, employment, and avoidance of risk behaviours while controlling for personal characteristics and placement history. The sample includes 174 adolescents in residential care in Israel. Results showed that mentoring duration and mentoring functions including mentor as “role model,” “parental figure,” and “independence promoter” significantly contributed to the prediction of the three life skills above and beyond control variables. This study highlights both the array of meaningful roles mentors play in youth's development of life skills and identifies important practice implications regarding the mechanism by which mentoring relationships contribute to the resilience of adolescents.
... parental support, informal and formal support, mentoring relationship); 3. residential setting characteristics (e.g. stability in placement, co-operation between biological parents and staff); and 4. the youth's involvement in varied contexts (school performance, community volunteering, recreation) (Drapeau, Saint-Jacques, Lepine, Begin, & Bernard, 2007;Gilligan, 2001Gilligan, , 2008Newman & Blackburn, 2002;Sulimani-Aidan, 2015, Sulimani-Aidan, 2016a,Sulimani-Aidan, 2016b. ...
... Although the caseworkers emphasized the importance of therapy in strengthening and increasing the adolescents' resilience, they also highlighted the importance of establishing meaningful relationships with a supportive adult figure from the adolescent's formal and informal social network. This finding reinforces the current mentoring literature that links mentoring relationships in care to youths' resilience (Ahrens, Dubois, Richardson, Fan, & Lozano, 2011;Greeson, 2013;Sulimani-Aidan, 2016b, 2017, and emphasizes the growing awareness of social workers of the importance of other meaningful adult figures who are not necessarily professional. ...
Article
Resilience is increasingly recognized as an important facet of a holistic understanding of children and youth who experience adversity (Masten & Obradovic, 2006). Therefore, it is a useful framework for empirical research to understand what helps adolescents in residential care with a history of abuse and neglect to better adapt to diverse challenges and difficulties. This study explored the perceptions of thirty social workers regarding resilience among the adolescents they treat (age range = 8–17), their view of the factors that contribute to resilience, and their perspectives regarding their role in promoting those adolescents’ resilience. Thematic analysis revealed several themes related to resilience, including the adolescents’ personal skills and features, their interpersonal relationships, their ability to seek help and guidance from adult figures, as well as their positive future perceptions. Strengthening the adolescents’ self-esteem and self-belief through individual therapy and integrative work with systems and support figures in the adolescent's environment emerged as main mechanisms to promote resilience. The discussion addresses the study's findings concerning resilience literature, highlighting the paths from risk to better coping. Implications for practice emphasize the importance of working with adolescents in care from a strength-based perspective, and suggest developing and strengthening programs tailored to utilize protective factors and processes in order to promote their resilience.
... The two aspects that are most important in the mentoring process include counseling and information essential for this time period, as well as support and interventions that increase competence, abilities, and self-confidence. Mentoring was also found in other studies to be an important factor in bridging the unmet needs and deficits of emerging adults from the public systems (Greeson & Bowen, 2008;Sulimani-Aidan, 2016a, 2016b. In addition, profound mentoring relationships were linked with positive social, cognitive and affective processes that strengthen outcomes in adulthood (Ahrens, DuBois, Richardson, Fan, & Lozano, 2008). ...
... A central assumption of this study is that mentoring relationships contribute to positive future expectations of youth in care. This assumption is built upon the literature on youth mentoring and earlier models that suggest that mentors have the potential to significantly support the transition to adulthood (Munson et al., 2010) and contribute to better outcomes among at-risk adolescents and young adults (Ahrens et al., 2016;Greeson et al., 2010;Sulimani-Aidan, 2016b). To the best of our knowledge, the link between mentoring relationships and positive future expectations, specifically among youth in care, has not yet been explored. ...
Article
This study investigates the association between mentoring and future expectations of youth in residential placements in Israel, and how family engagement during care and sense of belonging mediate this relationship. The participants included 213 adolescents (16–19 years old). Structural equation modeling revealed that mentoring contributed to the youths’ future expectations indirectly via family engagement in care, sense of belonging, and the chain mediating effect of family engagement and sense of belonging. The discussion highlights the importance of considering youths’ connections with chosen mentors and families when training foster and residential care workers as well as when implementing individual treatment plans and strategies to strengthen the sense of belonging of youth in care.
... The two aspects that are most important in the mentoring process include counseling and information essential for this time period, as well as support and interventions that increase competence, abilities, and self-confidence. Mentoring was also found in other studies to be an important factor in bridging the unmet needs and deficits of emerging adults from the public systems (Greeson & Bowen, 2008;Sulimani-Aidan, 2016a, 2016b). In addition, profound mentoring relationships were linked with positive social, cognitive and affective processes that strengthen outcomes in adulthood (Ahrens, DuBois, Richardson, Fan, & Lozano, 2008). ...
... Het hebben van een mentor kan op een informele wijze zijn ontstaan door (familie)contacten, waarbij bijvoorbeeld tantes, grootouders of buren een 'natuurlijke' mentor kunnen zijn (Ahrens, DuBois, Richardson, Fan & Lozano, 2008;Cavell, Meehan, Heffer, & Holladay, 2002). Echter, jongeren kunnen ook 'formele' mentoren hebben, zoals toegewezen mentoren in de jeugdzorg (Sulimani-Aidan, 2016). ...
Technical Report
Dit rapport is geschreven in het kader van het onderzoeksproject ‘Een betere basis: De ontwikkeling en evaluatie van een interventie voor goede allianties tussen jongeren en professionals in de residentiële jeugdzorg’. Met dit project wordt getracht om in samenwerking met jongeren en medewerkers in de residentiële jeugdzorg een op de individuele jongere gerichte interventie te ontwikkelen en te evalueren, waarmee medewerkers ondersteund worden in hun alliantie met de jongere. De interventie richt zich specifiek op één-op-één gesprekken welke medewerkers met jongeren voeren. Dit rapport brengt de ervaringen en de behoeften van zowel de medewerkers als de jongeren in kaart met betrekking tot deze één-op-één gesprekken.
... Later research focused on identifying the factors and processes that could lead to these good mentoring outcomes. Mainly the quality of the mentoring relationship, the mentors' and mentees' characteristics, and the mechanisms with which they work to lead to positive development and change (Karcher, Nakkula & Harris 2005;Rhodes, Reddy, Roffman, & Grossman, 2005;Sulimani-Aidan, 2016, 2018. In her model, Rhodes et al. (2005) suggested that a mentor-mentee relationship bond is formed through trust, empathy and mutual benefit, which eventually produce improvements in the youth's socio-emotional, cognitive, and identity development. ...
Article
This exploratory study examines the barriers, challenges and needs of 30 caseworkers who mentor at-risk young adults during the transition to adulthood. Professional mentoring relationships are an important source of support for at-risk young people. However, literature concerning the mentoring relationship from the perspective of the mentors is scarce. The theoretical thematic analysis revealed two major themes. The first theme- included challenges related to the young adults’ personal histories and characteristics. The second major theme related to the mentors’ expertise within their own services. The most dominant needs during the mentoring process were broad and current knowledge and ongoing training and support. The findings are discussed in relation to the mentoring literature and emerging adulthood theory. Implications for practice highlight the importance of the design and assimilation of programs that enable the promotion of meaningful mentoring relationships via organisational modifications.
... V případě využití dospělého mentora u mladých dospělých opouštějících ústavní a ochrannou výchovu byly pozorovány pozitivní efekty na zdraví (včetně duševní kondice), dále menší pravděpodobnost rizikového chování (např. nechráněný sex či trestná činnost) a také menší riziko bezdomovectví (Sulimani-Aidan, 2017a, 2017b, 2018a, 2018bSulimani-Aidan & Melkman, 2018). Jiní autoři jsou v hodnocení vlivu mentorství opatrnější. ...
Article
Full-text available
The presented text takes the form of a theoretical study. The aim of this study is to present how the concept of social support can be used for young adults leaving residential care to facilitate their return to the natural social environment. The introduction describes the current state of deinstitutionalization of care for children and adolescents in the Czech Republic. It is followed by the issue of transition, i.e. the period of the young adult's return to the natural social environment. Transition places increased demands on young adults in terms of their social functioning, which can lead to social failure and, in extreme cases, social exclusion; in this context, the text is based on the typology of transition success according to Mike Stein. Furthermore, the study deals with the definition and conceptualization of social support and presents a 5D model of social support accompanied by a model of youth mentoring by Jean Rhodes. The text concludes with the issue of mentoring, with an emphasis on juvenile mentoring, and discusses whether mentoring can be considered the optimal type of social support for young adults in transition.
... The mentoring relationship is formed with an older, experienced, and supportive adult figure who is significant to the youth and is part of the youth natural environment (Cavell, Meehan, Heffer, & Holladay, 2002). Researchers assert that mentoring relationships fulfill different functions in the youths' lives, the four most common ones being serving as a "parental figure," a "role model," an "independence promoter," and an "academic and career supporter"; (Ahrens, DuBois, Richardson, Fan, & Lozano, 2016;DuBois, Holloway, Valentine, & Cooper, 2002;Sulimani-Aidan, 2016). A recent comprehensive systematic review on "natural mentoring" (Thompson, Greeson, & Brunsink, 2016), defined as mentoring that takes place in settings where the youth lives/functions, concluded that natural mentoring has great promise for youth in foster care. ...
Article
Based on resilience and ecological perspective models, which emphasize the interaction between protective and promotive factors in youth and in their surroundings, this study explored the mechanism by which natural mentoring relationships and sense of belonging contribute to youths' life skills and hope. The participants comprised 213 adolescents in out-of-home placement placements in Israel (16-19 years old). Structural equation modelling revealed sense of belonging mediated the association between youths’ mentoring relationships and youths' resilience as manifested by their hope and current life skills. The discussion suggests considering these factors as an integral part of youth intervention programs in the context of residential care. Also discussed are the possible explanations for the mechanism linking youths' life skills, hope, and sense of belonging, in relation to which mentoring relationships operate. Implications for practice emphasize the importance of considering instrumental aspects as well as mental and motivational aspects to enhance youths' resilience in their transition to adulthood.
... While the opinions of friends and time spent with them become more important during this life phase, youth often engage in new roles such as romantic partners and workers, which can be demanding and emotionally intense. Facing these changes, young people need guidance, advice and support not only to be protected from risks and difficulties they might be facing but also to address the development of their capacities and thrive in their transition to adulthood (Chang, Greenberger, Chen, Heckhausen, & Farruggia, 2010;Lerner, Alberts, Jelicic, & Smith, 2006;Rhodes, 2002;Sulimani-Aidan, 2018). ...
Article
While the role parents play in supporting young people is well established, support from other caring adults also becomes important during adolescence, particularly when young people are facing problems in their lives. The goal of this paper is to reflect on youth support seeking when facing problems, exploring differences between youth who seek support from parents only and those who seek support from parents and other non-parental adults. This paper outlines the findings of a secondary analysis of data from the third wave of the Growing up in Ireland child cohort at 17/18 years, collected from primary caregivers and youth. From 6126 young people in the national sample, 91.3% answered the selective question about the type of adult support they seek. Of this cohort, 36% of young people seek support from a parent and 48% go to a parent and another adult. Comparing these groups, there are significant differences found in both their individual and contextual characteristics, with better outcomes for youth with additional non-parental adult support, including using active coping strategies, better self-esteem, and identity resolution. While the findings indicate that non-parental adults have a positive influence in different areas of youth well-being, further research is required to better understand the ways in which support from non-parental adults helps young people in their transition to adulthood.
... The mentoring relationship is formed with an older, experienced, and supportive adult figure who is significant to the youth and is part of the youth natural environment (Cavell, Meehan, Heffer, & Holladay, 2002). Researchers assert that mentoring relationships fulfill different functions in the youths' lives, the four most common ones being serving as a "parental figure," a "role model," an "independence promoter," and an "academic and career supporter"; (Ahrens, DuBois, Richardson, Fan, & Lozano, 2016;DuBois, Holloway, Valentine, & Cooper, 2002;Sulimani-Aidan, 2016). A recent comprehensive systematic review on "natural mentoring" (Thompson, Greeson, & Brunsink, 2016), defined as mentoring that takes place in settings where the youth lives/functions, concluded that natural mentoring has great promise for youth in foster care. ...
... Interviews of youth in residential care revealed that many describe their mentors as either (1) motivating and a catalyst for them to thrive or as (2) present and supportive, much like a parental figure (Sulimani-Aidan, 2018). Since the job of an advocate is to protect and build a positive understanding of the youth they are assigned, it can be a more purposive and selective relationship when compared to biologically intact parent-child relationships. ...
Article
Full-text available
This cross-sectional study is based on the survey responses of 134 volunteer court-appointed advocates (M = 52.44 years) who have been assigned a foster youth in middle or high school. The study aimed to (1) explore advocates' life goals for foster youth, (2) validate a scale of informal mentoring practices by adapting scales of shared and non-shared agency, and (3) test a model by which generative concerns enhance advocates' commitment to the program and feelings of mutual warmth with foster youth through indirect associations with shared agency with foster youth. Results indicated that most advocates articulated educational goals as well as goals related to self-development and socioemotional skills. Two factors of shared agency and one factor of non-shared agency were found (i.e., coactivity with youth, support for youth, and directing youth). Generativity was also found to be indirectly associated to mentoring outcomes through coactivity with youth on their educational goals.
... Resilience research suggests that a relationship with at least one supportive and caring adult who is not a parent contributes to improved outcomes among vulnerable and at-risk youth. Meta-analytic studies have shown a positive association between youth mentoring and improved psychosocial, behavioural and academic outcomes (DuBois et al., 2002;Poon et al., 2021;van Dam et al., 2018), including asset acquisition, better health outcomes and higher life satisfaction, as well as lower involvement in risky behaviours, such as unprotected sex, involvement with the law and homelessness (Ahrens et al., 2016;Courtney & Lyons, 2009;Greeson et al., 2010;Munson & McMillen, 2009;Rhodes, 2005;Sulimani-Aidan, 2016). ...
Article
Full-text available
Based on resilience and hope theories (Snyder, 2000; Ungar & Theron, 2020), in the present study, we explored the contribution of academic support provided by family, school staff and mentors, as well as the contribution of family‐staff contact, to the hopefulness of 175 at‐risk youth (M = 17.67; SD = 0.63), who had indicated having a mentor, and how school belonging mediated these relations. Structural equation modelling revealed that academic support provided by mentors and school staff contributed to youths' hopeful thinking. Whereas the support provided by mentors had a direct effect on hope, staff support contributed indirectly via school belonging. The discussion highlights the importance of academic support provided via youths' social networks and sheds light on the role of school belonging in increasing youths' hopefulness. Implications for practice highlight the importance of strengthening youths' aspirations, motivation and knowledge regarding their future goals in school settings.
Article
Although future orientation (FO) has been empirically linked with resilience, literature concerning the factors and the mechanisms that play a role in promoting positive FO among at-risk youth is scarce. This study investigated the contribution of mentoring to the FO of at-risk youth and the mediating role of their perceived life skills in this relationship. The participants included 198 adolescents (16–19 years old) from 11 schools for at-risk youth in Israel. Structural equation modelling indicated that while youths’ FO and their mentoring relationships were significantly correlated, this association was fully mediated by youths’ life skills. In light of these results, the role of meaningful mentoring relationships in promoting positive youth development was discussed. An important implication of these findings is that educational settings for at-risk youth should integrate programs that address youths’ perception of their future and ways to better prepare for it, both practically and mentally.
Article
Full-text available
The transition from adolescence to adulthood is considered a significant developmental stage in a young person’s growth. Most youth receive family support to help them weather the difficulties associated with this stage. When foster youth age out of the child welfare system, they confront the challenges associated with this developmental stage and are at risk of having to transition without family support. This article applies the life course perspective to describe the theoretical and contextual foundation that explains the hardships foster youth experience when they emancipate from the U.S. child welfare system. Next, the theoretical basis for natural mentoring among foster youth is explored using the resiliency perspective to frame the discussion. Then, current research on natural mentoring among foster youth is reviewed. The article concludes with implications for U.S. child welfare practice, policy, and research with respect to how to improve outcomes for youth who age out of foster care through the cultivation of natural mentoring relationships.
Article
Full-text available
Thematic analysis is a poorly demarcated, rarely acknowledged, yet widely used qualitative analytic method within psychology. In this paper, we argue that it offers an accessible and theoretically flexible approach to analysing qualitative data. We outline what thematic analysis is, locating it in relation to other qualitative analytic methods that search for themes or patterns, and in relation to different epistemological and ontological positions. We then provide clear guidelines to those wanting to start thematic analysis, or conduct it in a more deliberate and rigorous way, and consider potential pitfalls in conducting thematic analysis. Finally, we outline the disadvantages and advantages of thematic analysis. We conclude by advocating thematic analysis as a useful and flexible method for qualitative research in and beyond psychology.
Article
Full-text available
Mentoring is one of the most popular social interventions in American society, with an estimated three million youth in formal one-to-one relationships. Studies have revealed significant associations between youth involvement in mentoring relationships and positive developmental outcomes. These associations are modest, however, and depend on several intervening processes. Centrally important is the formation of close, enduring connections between mentors and youth that foster positive developmental change. Effects of mentoring programs likewise typically have been small in magnitude, but they increase systematically with the use of program practices likely to support relationship development. Gaps between research and practice are evident both in the indiscriminate use of the term mentoring in the prevention field and in a focus on the growth and efficiency of mentoring programs at the expense of quality. Continued expansion of effective mentoring will require a better alignment of research and practice.
Article
Full-text available
Late adolescent children of alcoholics (COAs) were interviewed about their relationship with a natural mentor. Comparisons in social and emotional functioning were made to a matched sample of COAs who did not have a natural mentor. Results showed that a typical mentor was a same-sex relative who had been responsible for initiating the mentor-like relationship. Mentors' familiarity with adolescents' parents predicted the quality of the mentoring relationships. Differences in the reported adjustment of COAs with and without natural mentors are considered in light of prevention programming and its evaluation.
Article
Full-text available
Social support is needed by everyone, but particularly by vulnerable populations at times of transition. This study utilizes data collected from 96 former foster youth regarding supports they received during the transition from care. The report addresses three questions: (1) What types of supportive relationships did the sample report? (2) What are the characteristics of supportive relationships? (3) What is the relationship of social support to outcomes? Based on the analysis, the authors draw implications for intervention and research.
Article
Full-text available
This paper presents a critical appraisal of resilience, a construct connoting the maintenance of positive adaptation by individuals despite experiences of significant adversity. As empirical research on resilience has burgeoned in recent years, criticisms have been levied at work in this area. These critiques have generally focused on ambiguities in definitions and central terminology; heterogeneity in risks experienced and competence achieved by individuals viewed as resilient; instability of the phenomenon of resilience; and concerns regarding the usefulness of resilience as a theoretical construct. We address each identified criticism in turn, proposing solutions for those we view as legitimate and clarifying misunderstandings surrounding those we believe to be less valid. We conclude that work on resilience possesses substantial potential for augmenting the understanding of processes affecting at-risk individuals. Realization of the potential embodied by this construct, however, will remain constrained without continued scientific attention to some of the serious conceptual and methodological pitfalls that have been noted by skeptics and proponents alike.
Article
Full-text available
We used meta-analysis to review 55 evaluations of the effects of mentoring programs on youth. Overall, findings provide evidence of only a modest or small benefit of program participation for the average youth. Program effects are enhanced significantly, however, when greater numbers of both theory-based and empirically based "best practices" are utilized and when strong relationships are formed between mentors and youth. Youth from backgrounds of environmental risk and disadvantage appear most likely to benefit from participation in mentoring programs. Outcomes for youth at-risk due to personal vulnerabilities have varied substantially in relation to program characteristics, with a noteworthy potential evident for poorly implemented programs to actually have an adverse effect on such youth. Recommendations include greater adherence to guidelines for the design and implementation of effective mentoring programs as well as more in-depth assessment of relationship and contextual factors in the evaluation of programs.
Article
Full-text available
The goal of this study was to determine whether youth in foster care with natural mentors during adolescence have improved young adult outcomes. We used data from waves I to III of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (1994-2002). Individuals who reported that they had ever been in foster care at wave III were included. Youth were considered mentored when they reported the presence of a nonparental adult mentor in their life after they were 14 years of age and reported that the relationship began before 18 years of age and had lasted for at least 2 years. Outcomes were assessed at wave III and included measures of education/employment, psychological well-being, physical health, and participation in unhealthy behaviors as well as a summary measure representing the total number of positive outcomes. A total of 310 youth met the inclusion criteria; 160 youth were mentored, and 150 youth were nonmentored. Demographic characteristics were similar for mentored and nonmentored youth. Mentored youth were more likely to report favorable overall health and were less likely to report suicidal ideation, having received a diagnosis of a sexually transmitted infection, and having hurt someone in a fight in the past year. There was also a borderline significant trend toward more participation in higher education among mentored youth. On the summary measure, mentored youth had, on average, a significantly greater number of positive outcomes than nonmentored youth. CONCLUSIONS; Mentoring relationships are associated with positive adjustment during the transition to adulthood for youth in foster care. Strategies to support natural mentoring relationships for this population should be developed and evaluated.
Article
Recent studies of youth in out-of-home placements have indicated that a successful mentoring relationship in care is associated with better emotional, educational and behavioural outcomes in adulthood. The goal of this exploratory qualitative study is to describe the profile of a staff member who is able to establish a meaningful relationship with youth in care through the perspectives of 20 young adults aged 21–26 who left care in Israel. Findings revealed that the staff member who formed meaningful relationships with youth was the staff member who was available to the youth and familiar with their personal backgrounds, who was able to see them as positive and trustworthy and to provide guidance and support from a non-judgmental approach. One of the study's conclusions is that staff members who were able to transform their connection with the youth into mentoring relationships were those who were able to make the youth feel as if they were the staff member's own children, and as a result feel cared for deeply and loved. The discussion addresses the barriers in forming a mentoring relationship with a formal professional and the ways to utilize these mentoring relationship components more effectively within the care system.
Article
Young adults who leave care enter a crucial period in their lives in which they have to plan their future and make significant decisions regarding many aspects of their adult life (Arnett, 2000). During emerging adulthood, their expectations for the future are especially important and could influence their goal setting and motivation to accomplish those goals. However, little attention has been paid to the importance of future expectations of care leavers as a source of resilience. This paper aims to address the role of future expectations among young people leaving care in the context of resilience theory and emerging adulthood theory. It describes the challenges these youth face in transition to adulthood and the role that future expectations play during this period. Further, it reviews studies that examine the correlations between future expectations, resilience and outcomes, and focuses on two possible personal and environmental resources that can contribute to care leavers’ positive future expectations: optimism and social support. In addition, it articulates the possible links connecting future expectations with resilience. Finally, it suggests a unified approach that integrates both environmental and personal components for increasing future expectations and concludes with implications for practice and directions for future research.
Book
Cutting across the fields of psychology, management, education, counseling, social work, and sociology, The Blackwell Handbook of Mentoring reveals an innovative, multi-disciplinary approach to the practice and theory of mentoring. Provides a complete, multi-disciplinary look at the practice and theory of mentoring and demonstrates its advantages. Brings together, for the first time, expert researchers from the three primary areas of mentoring: workplace, academy, and community. Leading scholars provide critical analysis on important literature concerning theoretical approaches and methodological issues in the field. Final section presents an integrated perspective on mentoring relationships and projects a future agenda for the field
Article
The present study examines the adjustment of youth leaving residential treatment in Israel in three core areas: military service, accommodation, and financial status. A sample of 277 adolescents (aged 17–18 years old) in educational and welfare residential placementswere interviewed a fewmonths before leaving care, and 236 of them were interviewed 1 year after. It was hypothesized that optimism, higher perceived sense of readiness to leave care, and higher social support of family, friends, and staff are associated with better outcomes in adjustment to military service, accommodations, and economic status. Findings show that 70% of care leavers were drafted to the (compulsory) military service, a sign of good adjustment in Israel. Yet, they have significant difficulties in the areas of accommodations and financial status. Optimism and perceived readiness for independent living while still in care were positively correlated with adjustment to the military service. Mother’s support was positively correlated with care leavers’ economic status and stability in accommodations. These findings highlight the importance of designing programs that include specific attention to needs and challenges while youth are in care and immediately after they leave. Follow-up and longitudinal studies are suggested.
Conference Paper
Background Research on the transition to adulthood for foster youth shows them to be at heightened risk for poor adult outcomes (Courtney 2007; Pecora et al 2005), but research on protective factors that may influence these outcomes is lacking. Practitioners have pushed for mentoring programs for foster youth, believing that mentoring can serve as a protective factor (Stein 2006). Research has shown non-parental adults to have positive effects on adolescents (Beier et al 2000; DuBois & Silverthorn 2005; Zimmerman et al 2002), but research on mentoring for foster youth is scarce, results are mixed, and methodological problems abound (Ahrens et al 2008). This study examines the relationship between non-parental mentoring and adult outcomes, hypothesizing that regular contact with a non-parental mentor is associated with improved adult outcomes for former foster youth. Methods The study relies on data from a prospective study of foster youth begun in 2002 in three states, involving three waves of in-person interviews with a random sample of foster youth done when they were 17-18 , 19, and 21 years old respectively. The analyses reported here come from baseline in-person interviews conducted at age 17-18 (n = 732; 95% response rate) and follow-up interviews conducted at age 21 (n = 591; 81% retention rate). Outcomes were assessed at age 21 or during the previous year, depending on the outcome, including: education; employment; economic hardship; public assistance utilization; homelessness; incarceration; social support; life satisfaction; and civic engagement. The independent variable was the young person's report of having had contact several times in the past year with a non-parental mentor with whom the subject had begun a relationship during adolescence. Logistic and OLS regression were used to examine the relationship between mentoring and outcomes, using covariates assessed at baseline (demographic characteristics and a wide range of measures of subject background and functioning). Results 60% (n = 352) of the subjects reported having had a non-parental mentor at some time since age 14 and 73% reported being close to their mentor. Only 5% reported the mentor had come from a mentoring program. Over two-fifths (n = 247) reported an ongoing relationship with a mentor they saw at least several times per year. Regression analyses show an ongoing mentoring relationship to be associated with a greater likelihood that subjects completed some college (OR=2.2), a greater likelihood of current employment (OR=1.7), and greater social support (standardized beta = .3), but with none of the other outcomes. Conclusions Most former foster youth report having had a non-parental mentor at some point since adolescence and many continue to have an ongoing relationship with a mentor. These enduring relationships are associated with some positive outcomes for former foster youth. That few youth report mentoring programs to be the source of these relationships suggests that mentoring programs have yet to have much impact on foster youth. The hopeful findings reported here provide support for continued research on the relationship of mentoring to outcomes for former foster youth and for evaluation of mentoring programs for this population.
Article
All too often young people are excluded in practice from the general policy and professional consensus that partnership and participation should underpin work with children, young people and their families. If working with troubled and troublesome young people is to be based on family support, it will require not only the clear statement of that policy but also demonstration that it can be applied in practice. Achieving that involves setting out a plausible theory of change that can be rigorously evaluated. This paper suggests a conceptual model that draws on social support theory to harness the ideas of social capital and resilience in a way that can link formal family support interventions to adolescent coping. Research with young people attending three community-based projects for marginalized youth is used to illustrate how validated tools can be used to measure and document the detail of support, resilience, social capital and coping in young people's lives. It is also suggested that there is sufficient fit between the findings emerging from the study and the model to justify the model being more rigorously tested.
Article
This paper describes the well-being of participants in the Midwest Evaluation of the Adult Functioning of Former Foster Youth (n = 603), a study of youth leaving out-of-home care in the USA, at the point where they have been ‘young adults’ for about 1 year. Although some of these young adults are in stable situations and either moving forward with their education or employed in promising jobs, more of them are having significant difficulties during the early stages of the transition to adulthood. Too many are neither employed nor in school, have children that they are not able to parent, suffer from persistent mental illness or substance use disorders, find themselves without basic necessities, become homeless, or end up involved with the criminal justice system. They are doing worse than other young adults across a number of important dimensions. Most of these young adults continue to maintain relations with members of their family of origin, with many finding themselves living with family at age 19. Importantly, those young people who chose to remain under the care and supervision of the child welfare system experienced better outcomes than those who either chose to or were forced to leave care.
Article
Anecdotal reports of the protective qualities of mentoring relationships for youth are corroborated by a growing body of research. What is missing, however, is research on the processes by which mentors influence developmental outcomes. In this article, we present a conceptual model of the mentoring process along with a delineation of some of the current research on what makes for more effective mentoring relationships. A set of recommendations for future research is offered. © 2006 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Article
The popularity of mentoring programs for disadvantaged youth is on the rise, but little is known about the processes that underpin successful mentoring relationships. In-depth semistructured interviews were conducted with adolescent and adult pairs who had been in a continuous mentoring relationship for a minimum of I year Using relational theories as the guiding framework, this study examined four relational processes, which are detailed in this article: authenticity, empathy, collaboration, and companionship.
Article
The purpose of this study was to explore the nature of the non-kin natural mentoring relationships among 19-year-old youths (NÂ =Â 189) in the process of "aging out" of the foster care system. Data for the present study are from the final interview of a longitudinal study of older youth exiting the foster care system in Missouri. Participants that reported a natural mentoring relationship at age 19 were asked a series of qualitative questions about their reported relationship. The sample in this study was 65% female and 58% youth of color. Thematic analysis, informed by relational-cultural theory (Miller & Stiver, 1997), was utilized to explore the nature of the relationships from the youth's perspective. These youth reported having natural mentors who served in a range of roles in their lives, including youth service professionals and friends of their families. These older youth also described the (a) qualities of their natural mentors that were important to them, (b) specific features of their natural mentoring relationships that they perceived to be especially helpful, and (c) the various kinds of support these relationships had offered to them. Implications for social work policy, practice, and research are discussed.
Article
This study explores the non-kin natural mentoring relationships among a group of older youth in foster care (n=339), particularly whether or not their relationships last over time. The study also examines the associations between non-kin natural mentoring relationships and psychosocial outcomes among these older youth. Results of simultaneous and hierarchical regression analyses reveal that the presence of a mentor and the duration of the relationship at age 18 are associated with better psychological outcomes, such as fewer depression symptoms, less stress and more satisfaction with life at 18 1/2. Longitudinal data collected at age 18 and 19 on mentoring revealed that of the 339 youth, 25% (n=85) reported no mentor at either data point, 41% (n=139) reported a short term mentor, and 34% (n=115) reported a long term mentoring relationship. After controlling for potential covariates, multivariate analyses revealed that compared to those youth that did not nominate a mentor, youth in long term natural mentoring relationships reported less stress and were less likely to have been arrested at age 19. Further, being in long term natural mentoring relationships was not related to current employment, or past year alcohol and marijuana use. Implications for transitioning foster care youth are discussed.
Article
George Warren Brown School of Social Work. Thesis (Ph. D.)--Washington University, 2005. Includes bibliographical references.
Article
This paper draws on findings from a study of outcomes for young people leaving care funded by the Department for Education and Skills. It explores the informal support networks available to a sample of 106 young people over a period of 12–15 months after leaving care. It examines patterns of contact with birth families and caregivers, the support that emanated from these links and the strategies of leaving care professionals to strengthen these connections. It also considers the new families created by many young people through relationships with partners and the onset of parenthood and discusses the continuing support needs of young parents. The paper situates the needs and experiences of care leavers in a wider youth transitions framework and highlights the need for continuing professional attention to be given to strengthening family links as one strategy for helping care leavers to negotiate the transition to adulthood.
Article
A group of children identified as non-organic failure-to-thrive between 1977 and 1980 were investigated, assessed and provided with social work intervention and treatment. Those children and their families have been followed up for the last 20 years. The current paper examines the stability of an internal working model in a sample of individuals who had failed to thrive as children, by comparing each individual's adult attachment style with their childhood attachment to their mother. In this sample, several cases showed changes from insecure to secure attachment styles. Possible reasons are discussed for positive and negative changes, as well as cases when there was no change in attachment style. These include the effectiveness of intervention in addition to changes in life circumstances. The findings suggest that when appropriate support and intervention is provided, or when different circumstances or relationships are experienced, internal working models can change.
Article
Attachment theory posits links between early experiences with parents, adult relationships and adult mental health, but does not specify whether these are independent, mediating, or moderating effects. Associations of parent's behaviour on the Parental Bonding Instrument, adult attachment styles and three dimensions of mental health were investigated in a large sample of women and men. Men and women with secure styles recalled higher levels of care from both parents than those with fearful styles. Maternal and paternal control were more consistent predictors of increased distress for men than for women. Fearful and preoccupied adult styles were associated with higher levels of distress in both men and women. While adult styles had few mediating effects on the association of parental behaviour and mental health, interactions between the fearful style and parental variables suggested that this form of insecurity sometimes accentuated the impact of high parental care or low paternal control on mental health in both men and women; among women, however, the secure style seemed to buffer somewhat the negative effect of high parental control. Although the amount of variance explained by either parental behaviour or adult styles was modest, patterns of moderating effects of adult styles on associations between parental behaviour and mental health suggested that both continuity and discontinuity principles can be applied to understanding these links.
Emerging adulthood. A theory of development from the late teens through the twenties
  • J J Arnett
Arnett, J. J. (2000). Emerging adulthood. A theory of development from the late teens through the twenties. American Psychologist, 55, 469 -480. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0003-066X.55.5.469
Constructing grounded theory: A practical guide through qualitative analysis Supporting youth in the transition from foster care: Formal and informal connections
  • K M E Charmaz
  • R Spencer
  • R Ward
Charmaz, K. (2006). Constructing grounded theory: A practical guide through qualitative analysis. London, UK: Sage Collins, M. E., Spencer, R., & Ward, R. (2010). Supporting youth in the transition from foster care: Formal and informal connections. Child Welfare, 89, 125–143.
One adult who is crazy about you: Can natural mentoring relationships increase assets among young adults with and without foster care experience? Children and Youth Services Review
  • J K Greeson
  • L Usher
  • M Grinstein-Weiss
Greeson, J. K., Usher, L., & Grinstein-Weiss, M. (2010). One adult who is crazy about you: Can natural mentoring relationships increase assets among young adults with and without foster care experience? Children and Youth Services Review, 32, 565–577. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j .childyouth.2009.12.003
The state of the child in Israel
National Council for the Child. (2009). The state of the child in Israel. Jerusalem, Israel: Hebrew.
A model of youth mentoring Handbook of youth mentoring Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. http://dx.doi.org/10.4135/9781412976664 Mentoring relationships and programs for Youth A model for the influence of mentoring relationships on youth development
  • J E J E Rhodes
  • D L J E Dubois
  • R Spencer
  • T E Keller
  • B Liang
  • G Noam
Rhodes, J. E. (2005). A model of youth mentoring. In D. L. DuBois & M. J. Karcher (Eds.), Handbook of youth mentoring (pp. 30 – 43). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. http://dx.doi.org/10.4135/9781412976664.n3 Rhodes, J. E., & DuBois, D. L. (2008). Mentoring relationships and programs for Youth. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 17, 254 –258. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-8721.2008.00585.x Rhodes, J. E., Spencer, R., Keller, T. E., Liang, B., & Noam, G. (2006). A model for the influence of mentoring relationships on youth development. Journal of Community Psychology, 34, 691–707. http://dx.doi.org/ 10.1002/jcop.20124
What contributes to better adjustment to life after care
  • In Care Leavers
  • Israel
Care leavers in Israel: What contributes to better adjustment to life after care? Journal of Social Service Research, 39, 704 –718. http://dx.doi .org/10.1080/01488376.2013.834283