Mentoring programs for delinquency

Local governments can invest in this strategy using State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (SLFRF) from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).

  • This strategy can help promote healthy childhood environments and prevent violence. The U.S. Department of Treasury has indicated that strategies that help achieve these outcomes are eligible for the use of Fiscal Recovery Funds.
  • Investments in this strategy are SLFRF-eligible as long as they are made in qualified census tracts or are designed to assist populations or communities disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.

Program overview

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

Evidence and impacts


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

  • 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.

Best practices in 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.