The Children and Youth in Care and Mentoring Project enlisted the time and efforts of various organizations to develop tools and knowledge to support agencies providing mentoring programming to children and youth in care. As part of the Children and Youth in Care and Mentoring Project, there were plans to develop a toolkit to ensure the learnings were accessible. At the same time the Ontario Mentoring Coalition had just completed the development of a Toolkit on Effective Mentoring for Youth Facing Barriers to Success, which included a section on Children and Youth in Care.
The Alberta Mentoring Partnership and the Ontario Mentoring Coalition collaborated with the support of Alberta Human Services and the Ontario Ministry of Children and Youth Services, to create a toolkit outlining strategies and practices for mentoring children and youth in care. The Toolkit on Effective Mentoring for Youth Facing Barriers to Success provides further information on developing, implementing, evaluating and sustaining mentoring initiatives for youth facing multiple barriers to success.
In 2014, the Children and Youth in Care and Mentoring Project was established when funding from Alberta Human Services was provided with the goal of increasing the number of children and youth in care with access to a mentor. The purpose of the project is to foster meaningful relationships between mentors and vulnerable youth. Three established mentoring organizations, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Calgary and Area, Red Deer Youth and Volunteer Centre Foundation, and Boys & Girls Clubs Big Brothers Big Sisters of Edmonton and Area Society, joined the project by developing and/ or growing mentoring programming for children and youth in care and participating in a program evaluation. The three sites combined report 339 new matches as of March 2016 made during this pilot, supporting children and youth in forming healthy and enduring mentoring relationships with caring adults while receiving intervention services, throughout transitions and post care.
Purpose of the Children and Youth in Care and Mentoring Project:
- To support organizations in developing and facilitating mentoring programs for youth with special considerations for working with children and youth in care;
- To build the capacity of service delivery staff in mentoring programming for children and youth in care;
- To help children and youth in care develop meaningful relationships in formal mentoring relationships; and
- To increase the number of mentors for children and youth in care.
The Youth in Care and Mentoring Advisory Committee commissioned a literature review on mentoring youth in care in a Canadian context. Literature on programs that focus on mentoring youth in care were sought out, as opposed to programs that serve a range of youth including those in care. Initially academic studies of mentoring youth in care were examined. When unavailable for specific topics, grey literature was referenced. As much of the literature on this topic originates from the United States, interviews were conducted with individuals with expertise in mentoring youth in care in the Canadian context. The academic, grey literature and interview responses were then critically reviewed and summarized according to thematic categories.
The Children and Youth in Care and Mentoring Pilot Sites Evaluation is intended to help better understand mentoring children and youth in care, the initial achievements and contributions of the pilot sites, and strengthen this work, with the eventual aim of expanding to be provincial in nature.
Overall, the evaluation will help to determine what aspects are working well and why, which are not and why, and offer a regular feedback loop with learning opportunities for pilot sites to make modifications when necessary, learn from each other, and help to guide implementation.
Information learned and collected from the Mentoring Youth in Care Literature Review and the pilot sites’ ongoing evaluation was synthesized and expanded upon to develop an online toolkit for organizations wishing to build and enhance mentoring programs for children and youth in care.
Subsequently, the Ontario Mentoring Coalition, with funding from the Ontario Ministry of Children and Youth Services, was working to develop a toolkit on mentoring youth facing barriers to success. This provided an opportunity to collaborate and enhance each other’s work to develop a useful resource to support mentoring organizations. The result is an enhanced toolkit delivering information on developing, implementing, evaluating and sustaining mentoring initiatives for youth facing multiple barriers to success, including children and youth in care.
Members of the Children and Youth in Care Advisory Committee
- Krista Allan – Boys & Girls Clubs Big Brothers Big Sisters of Edmonton & Area
- Rhonda Barraclough – ALIGN Association of Community Services
- Brianna Berthiaume – Youth HQ
- Tina Clem – Big Brothers Big Sisters of Calgary
- Corey Dodge – Alberta Mentoring Partnership
- Michelle Anderson-Draper – Anderson Draper Consulting
- Dawn Flanagan – Red Deer Youth and Volunteer Centre
- Mellissa Gee – Alberta Foster Parent Association
- Erin Jamieson – Office of the Child and Youth Advocate
- Stephen Kaiswatum – Youth
- Joelle Lewis – Big Brothers big Sisters of Canada
- Jodi McKay – Big Brothers Big Sisters of Calgary
- Caroline Missal – Alberta Education
- Tannis Pearson – Boys & Girls Clubs Big Brothers Big Sisters of Edmonton & Area
- David Rust – Community Mental Health Action Plan Project Lead
- Peter Smyth – Edmonton & Area Child & Family Services High Risk Youth Initiative
- Eric Storey – Mentor
- Kim Taylor – Alberta Human Services
- Rachelle Tong – Alberta Human Services
- Cynthia Wild – Big Brothers Big Sisters of Calgary
- Kerry Woodland – Boys & Girls Clubs Big Brothers Big Sisters of Edmonton & Area
- Dayna Hobbs, Alberta Mentoring Partnership Children and Youth in Care Project Consultant
Members of OMC Toolkit Advisory Committee
- Cathy Denyer
- Joelle Lewis
- Beth Malcolm
- Sharmaarke Abdullahai
- Liz O’Neill
- Sonia Prevost-Derbecker
- Tammy Martin
- Julie Carter
- Bruce Rivers
Ontario Mentoring Coalition Consultants
- Melanie Bania
- Vanessa Chase