As a strategy for helping young people succeed in life, mentoring works. It helps give young people the confidence, resources and skills they need to reach their potential.
But like any youth development strategy, mentoring works best when measures are taken to ensure quality and effectiveness. When the tool of change is a close relationship, as is the case with mentoring, everyone involved should proceed with care. The risks and improvements to the young person are proportional to how long the relationship endures. The longer a relationship lasts, usually the closer the bond and the greater benefit to the youth.
MENTOR/National Mentoring Partnership brought together many of the nation's foremost authorities on mentoring and created the Elements of Effective Practice guidelines that any mentoring program can implement to offer the best mentoring possible and reflect the latest in mentoring policies, experiences and research.
Children’s Services has developed an addendum to complement MENTOR's Elements of Effective Practice with its Best Practice Guidelines for Foster Care Youth Mentoring which presents a unified “Best Practice” policy for mentoring programs specifically serving foster care youth. This document showcases what is different and unique about a mentoring program that serves youth in foster care and provides guidelines for program coordinators, mentors, mentees, parents, and case workers.