Children & Youth in Care and Mentoring Program Design

While all young people experience profound benefits from a mentoring relationship, some young people have experienced more barriers and require a mentor with more sophisticated training, support and a deliberate program design.

This document outlines the Children & Youth in Care and Mentoring Program Design, informed through an extensive literature review, stakeholder consultation, evaluation and evidence-informed practice. This work is relational, collaborative, and significant as mentoring relationships positively impact the lives of children and youth in care in Alberta.

This resource is available as a no-fee benefit of your participation in the Alberta Mentoring Partnership and was compiled based on the experiences of prior youth in care mentoring projects across Alberta.

This document is intended to be used interactively with tools and resources developed throughout the duration of this project. Links to the Alberta Mentoring Partnership (AMP) website provide comprehensive information that can help to establish a mentoring program.

Practices and learnings from this project continually evolve with increased organizational knowledge, research and system-level collaboration. The capacity to effectively engage and support children and youth in care through a mentoring model is advancing; new learnings and knowledge will be articulated through future documents and design.

This document is intended to help professionals:

  • gain knowledge and information about activities and learnings from project sites
  • understand essential program design elements for organizations interested in establishing and implementing a mentoring program for children and youth in care
  • develop policies and procedures required when mentoring this unique demographic of youth as compared to mainstream mentoring programs.


This document offers:

  • An introduction

  • Program Theory

    including a literature review and Theory of Change

  • Outcome Measurement

    including measurement tools, indicators, and example program goals and outcomes

  • Program Design

    Program Advertising, Promotion and Recruitment, Mentor Recruitment, Youth Identified Mentors, Mentor Screening, Youth Engagement and Referral, Indigenous Children and Youth, Youth who are waiting for a mentoring Relationship, Guardians, Caregivers, Children’s Services, Pre-match training, Ongoing Training and Education, Matching Mentors and Youth, Mentoring Relationship Supports, Mentoring Activities, Indigenous Culture and Activities, Relationship Evolution, Transitions, and Endings, Relation-focused work and caseloads, and Community Partners and Stakeholder

  • Conclusion


There has been tremendous collaboration in the shared goal of improving and implementing mentoring programs for children & youth throughout Alberta. AndersonDraper Consulting Inc. would like to acknowledge the important contributions made in the development of this program design by: the three sites, organizations who are members of the Children & Youth in Care and Mentoring Advisory Group, as well as individual contributors Amber Syvenky, David Rust, Eric Storey, Stephan Kaiswatum and Tracy Luca-Huger.


Learn more about the Children and Youth in Care Project

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.

Learn all about it here:

Youth in Care Presentation from the National Mentoring Symposium

Mentoring a Unique or Diverse Population?

If you are working with a unique or diverse community please supplement these steps with the tools and resources included in the sections below. These additional tools have been developed to support mentoring programs with immigrant, refugee, Indigenous youth and youth in care.