Mentoring for care-experienced young people: A rapid review of program design

Ben Arnold Lohmeyer, Joel Robert McGregor, Zoe Crittenden, Catherine Hartung

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Abstract

Background and objectives
In Australia, out-of-home care (OoHC) is provided to safeguard children and young people unable to live with their families. Typically, this care stops at 18 years of age, leaving many young people without the relational support to find employment and stable accommodation. Mentoring is increasingly proposed as a way to support young people exiting care, though the types of mentoring and contextual factors vary considerably. This rapid review aims to identify key features of mentoring programs that support young people in OoHC.

Methods
This paper utilised a rapid review methodology to survey the academic literature on mentoring programs with young people in OoHC. The authors conducted literature searches in October 2022 using a search string designed to provide targeted exposure to the literature. Articles were limited by year and location, with the specific search string and limitations applied to the Scopus database, and Proquest and Informit platforms.

Results
Utilising literature, we identified five overlapping models for mentor–mentee relationships into a provisional typology of five categories based on varying levels of formality and familiarity in the relationships: ‘formal’, ‘natural’, ‘near-age’, ‘peer’, and ‘therapeutic’. In doing so, we identified seven important features of mentor–mentee relationships: shared experiences, relationship duration, boundaries and other relationships, identity and self-worth, educational contexts, power and participation, and role modelling. We identified four issues relating to mentoring in OoHC that are informed by the needs and barriers experienced by young people: training and support for mentors, unique challenges faced by young people in OoHC, transition out of care, and the matching process. Lastly, we established what might impact mentoring programs buy critically reflecting on the policy context and notions of empowerment.

Conclusion
This rapid review of mentoring programs for care-experienced young people seeking employment offers valuable insights to inform future programs. The findings highlight diverse and unclassified mentoring relationship types, the absence of anticipated gender-specific findings, a lack of examination of the policy context, and a need for more robust conceptualisations of empowerment.
Original languageEnglish
Article number107350
Number of pages10
JournalChildren and Youth Services Review
Volume156
Early online date17 Nov 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2024

Keywords

  • Mentoring
  • Out-of-home care
  • Rapid review
  • Youth
  • Transitions
  • Empowerment
  • Policy context

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