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Prior research has demonstrated that mentoring may have promising outcomes for youth engaged in, or thought to be at risk for, delinquent behavior. The Community-based Juvenile Services Aid Program specifically outlines funding activities designed to reduce delinquent behavior. Mentoring specifically falls under “services that will positively impact juveniles and families in the juvenile justice system.” There are four different mentoring models funded, at least partially, by the Nebraska Community-based Aid fund: community-based, school-based, justice-based and Youth Initiated Mentoring™. This report is a first glance at the use of mentoring programs funded through Community-based Aid (CBA) in Nebraska and how these programs impact future law violations. From July 1, 2015 through March 2018, a total of eleven mentoring programs were funded through CBA funds. A total of 866 cases were referred to a mentoring program, with roughly 714 participating. Approximately 430 (60.2%) were matched to a mentor during this time. Roughly 75% of the time, youth are identified and referred to a CBA mentoring program by their school or through the county diversion program. Different patterns emerged for the different mentoring models. Community-based and school-based programs had more referrals for females than males, whereas justice-based and YIM™ had a higher percentage of referrals for males than females. Youth mentored through community-based mentoring programs were significantly younger than justice-involved youth. Referrals for Black/African Americans and Native Americans were over-represented as compared to the population of African American youth and Native American in Nebraska; whereas referrals for White youth were under-represented as compared to the population of White youth in Nebraska. Overall, mentoring appears to be operating as the Nebraska legislature intended, at this first examination – as a means to slow entry into the juvenile justice system. Less than 10% of youth (27 youth) committed a law violation following discharge from the program, while 16 youth (5.7%) had a law violation during the time they were participating in a mentoring program. While initial results are promising, a comparison group would be a more definitive way to determine whether it is the impact of the mentoring program or some other attribute. The length of time that a youth is matched to a mentor is critical for a successful mentoring program. Our results demonstrate that match length significantly predicted whether a youth had a law violation following discharge from the program. As a result, programs must pay attention to factors that lead to longer matches. Gender matching did not appear to impact match length, however there were relatively few cross-gender cases to compare. While the age of the mentor does not impact the length of the match, the age of the mentee does. Our results also indicate that matches where mentee and mentor race/ethnicity match have statistically longer match lengths than cross-race/ethnicity matches.

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