Mentoring programs for delinquency

Program basics

  • Connect delinquent youth to mentors to promote reduction of delinquent behavior, aggression, and drug use

Strength of evidence

Evidence level: Proven (highest tier)

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Proven (highest tier)

Ranked as having the highest level of evidence by County Health Rankings and Roadmaps, the National Institute of Justice


Target population

At-risk youth

Program cost

Not available

Implementation locations

  • Nationwide

Dates active

Not available

Outcomes and impact

  • Curtail delinquent behavior, aggression, and drug use
  • May curb alcohol use
  • Programs may be most effective for low-income youth and those with “adequate” (versus “very strong” or “very poor”) parental relationships.

Keys to successful implementation

  • Note: This content is under review
  • Programs yield stronger effects when emotional support and participant advocacy are emphasized.
  • Programs that encourage stronger parent-child relationships and have mentors and mentees set short- and long-term goals tend to see better results.
  • Recruiting committed, effective mentors is a significant challenge. Programs should build partnerships with community organizations, clearly define the role and necessary qualifications, and carefully consider each mentor's level of commitment, ability, and life circumstances.

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