Policy Factsheet

Mentoring Programs

Reasons for Policy

  • The relationship between a mentor and mentee can help foster healthy relationships.2
  • Mentors can provide support, advocacy, advice, and a positive model to at-risk youth.2
  • Studies have found a positive effect on youth in mentorship programs.2

Community Groups

  • Justice System
  • Local Government
  • Local School Board
  • Non-profits/Community Organizations

Policy Components

  • Pairing of a responsible, caring adult with an at-risk youth
  • Regular meeting of the mentor and mentee

Desired Outcomes

  • Positive mentor/mentee relationship
  • Positive role models for at-risk youth
  • Fewer occurrences of problem or delinquent behavior
  • Greater academic achievement
  • Lower levels of aggression
  • Less drug use

Level of Evidence Available to Evaluate Effectiveness of Policy

For all policies we describe on this website, we have applied the Standards of Evidence as defined by Flay et al. (2005) in the Standards of Evidence document published by Prevention Science.

The effectiveness level of this policy is 1: Evidence-Based Policies Meeting Criteria for Effectiveness.

The levels of effectiveness as noted are:

  1. meets criteria for policy effectiveness (consistent, positive outcomes from at least two high-quality experimental or quasi-experimental trials using a comparison group or interrupted time series design);
  2. consistent evidence available linking policy with positive outcomes from high-quality observational studies only;
  3. insufficient evidence available for policy or policy components.

Achievable Results

  • Small reductions in delinquency (Effect Size: -0.25) 2
  • Moderate reductions in aggression (Effect Size: -0.40)2
  • Small improvements in academic achievement (Effect Size: 0.14)2
  • Small reductions in drug use have been observed (Effect Size: -0.13). However, these reductions were not statistically significant.2

Community Examples

  • The Dubuque Community School District (Iowa) created a mentoring program to enrich the lives an education of their students
  • The DeKalb County School System (Georgia) offers various mentoring programs to improve student achievement

Links to Policy Examples


  1. Tolan P, Henry D, Schoeny M, Bass A. Mentoring interventions to affect juvenile delinquency and associated problems. Campbell Systematic Reviews 2008:16  

  2. Flay, BR, Biglan, A, Boruch, RF, Ganzalez Castro, F, Gottfredson, D, Kellam, S, Moscicki, EK, Schinke, S, Valentine, JC, & Ji, P (2005). Standards of evidence: Criteria for efficacy, effectiveness and dissemination. Prevention Science, 6(3), 151-175.