Mentoring program enhancements supporting effective mentoring of children of incarcerated parents
Stump, K. N., Kupersmidt, J. B., Rhodes, J. E., & Stelter, R. L. (2018). Mentoring program enhancements supporting effective mentoring of children of incarcerated parents. American Journal of Community Psychology, 62(1-2),163-174. DOI: 10.1002/ajcp.12250
Objectives: Children of incarcerated parents (COIP) are at risk for a range of negative outcomes; however, participating in a mentoring relationship can be a promising intervention for these youth. This study examined the impact of mentoring and mentoring program enhancements on COIP.
Methods: Secondary data analyses were conducted on an archival database consisting of 70,729 matches from 216 Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) local agencies to establish the differential effects of mentoring on COIP. A subset of 45 BBBS agencies, representing 25,252 matches, participated in a telephone interview about program enhancements for better serving COIP.
Results: Enhanced program practices, including having specific program goals, providing specialized mentor training, and receiving additional funding resulted in better outcomes for COIP matches. Specifically, specialized mentor training and receiving additional funding for serving matches containing COIP were associated with longer and stronger matches. Having specific goals for serving COIP was associated with higher educational expectations in COIP.
Conclusions: Carefully designing variations in program models and goals as well as in the implementation of enhanced research-informed and theoretically grounded program practices may prove to be the best avenues for formal mentoring programs to have the broadest reach and strongest impact on subpopulations of our nation’s most vulnerable youth.